Editorial

Matt Warman praises resilience of UK cybersecurity sector

Cybersecurity sector has demonstrated “remarkable resilience and adaptability” during COVID-19, says Minister

Posted 15 September 2020 by

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman has praised “the immense resilience of our cybersecurity sector in the UK.”

Speaking at LORCA Live virtual cybersecurity conference, Warman quoted Ipsos Mori findings that show that 75 percent of cybersecurity firms haven’t had to furlough staff during the lockdown. He said this was compared to data from a COVID-19 tracker survey run by the British Chamber of Commerce, which estimated that seven in 10 private sector firms had used the job retention scheme or furlough scheme.

Describing this as “stark relief to the broader economic picture,” Warman said: “As 2021 approaches at unnerving speed, and with it the formal conclusion of the current National Cybersecurity Strategy, my policy officials are working with departments across Whitehall to ensure the sector can continue its unrelenting growth whilst ensuring solid foundations are in place to serve as well, in the long term.”

Warman pointed to “a continued, and in some instances, renewed demand for cyber solutions, particularly with an increase in remote working, but also as our colleagues of the NCSC have seen attackers, trying to exploit current circumstances for their personal gain.”

He said the Government’s Cyber Aware campaign, which enables people to report suspicious emails, has now had more than 2.3 million reports with 9315 scams, and 22,237 malicious links removed as a result.

Improving digital resilience

The Minister also noted there have been improvements in cyber risk management in recent years, but evidence shows that more needs to be done.

“Forty-six percent of businesses are still suffering breaches and attacks. Our recent cybersecurity incentives and regulation service are currently underway, and I’m looking at what more we can do to improve digital resilience right across the economy.”

LORCA, the Government-backed cybersecurity innovation programme delivered by the innovation centre Plexal, was tasked with raising £40m over three years. However, LORCA members have raised £153m, 280 percent of the original target and 12 months ahead of schedule.

This comes after a record year for British cyber investment in 2019, when start-ups raised more than £500m for the first time.

Warman said “we must continue to support and realise the opportunities that come from encouraging the commercialisation of cutting edge academic research from supporting start-ups who have the potential to become scale ups and scale ups who have the potential to become global leaders in their field.”

However, he said it is important to “try to fix the chinks in the armour of the sector, and our work is far from over.”

“Despite the turbulence of the current moment, I’m optimistic about the future of the sector, and about the future prosperity of the UK.

“The sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability and has also demonstrated that it gives back as well, that shone through the generosity of our cyber firms assisting the NHS and other parts of critical national infrastructure.”