The UK’s New National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021: Success or Failure

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In April 2016, the UK cabinet office released the results of cyber security measures from the previous 5 years. The report also contained detailed achievements made in the five years, including the launch of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK), as well as partnership with the UK’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the Cyber Essentials training scheme.

With the awareness that cyberattacks in the UK double as threats to economic and national security, the National Cyber Security Strategy 2016-2021 was released a year earlier. The improved strategy outlined a five year vision and goals to create in the UK an enabling environment that is secure and resilient to cyber threat.

The efforts made by the government in cyber security and its new strategy, especially in ensuring guidelines for the protection of files hosted in the cloud are met, placed the UK at the forefront of global cyber security pioneers. Let’s look at some of the key highlights of the new five years’ security strategy.

The strategy emphasized on the efforts of the government  to strengthen its own IT defences while at the same time work with industry  experts to ensure networks in the UK as well as  data and systems protection protocols match the evolving cyber threats.

Also, it stressed on the need of the government to strengthen law enforcement’s capabilities for an increased cost of cybercrime.

Thirdly it emphasized on the willingness of the government to help in developing the UK’s critical capabilities, such as cyber skills, and to keep pace with cyber threats.

The achievements of the previous five years and the success recorded in the first one year so far clearly indicate that the strategy would be more successful than its predecessor.

So far, a £1.9 billion worth of investment has been set aside to ensure cyber security, in addition to a new National Cyber-Security Centre, which was announced by Matt Hancock MP  in May 26th 2017.

To further strengthen this, there is an ambitious cyber skills programme that has led to a significant increase in the number of cyber-security experts currently available in the UK. There has also been an increased connectivity between the public and private sector expertise for the cyber security benefit of both.

Since the launch of the strategy, there has also been an increase in cyber threat information sharing. The NCSC has been very clear on this, pointing out how important it is to share such information and ensuring that agencies and organizations in the UK government can easily gain access to cyber threat information.

For the record, the distribution of threat intelligence on advanced cyberattacks, as well as its motivation, and the tactics used by malicious actors have proven to be important in network defense, resulting to less successful attacks in the year so far.

One of the strategies yet to be perfected is the total migration into automated cyber threat information-sharing. When this is fully put into practice, organizations would be able to act swiftly on relevant information, which in turn would serve as an important precautionary measure.

Elliot Preece
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