Greater collaboration urged between private and public sector to fight cybercrime

Sir Michael Fallon talks of importance of new National Cyber Force at Zivver event

Posted 24 December 2020 by Christine Horton

Former Secretary of State for Defence, Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Fallon KCB has spoken of the importance of the new National Cyber Force, which was recently announced by the UK Government.

The National Cyber Force is a partnership between the military and the spy agency GCHQ, created in response to the increase in cyber threats. Fallon explained the Force combines the people and capabilities of GCHQ, The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the defence science and technical laboratory, in a single organisation under a unified command, “rather like the United States Cyber Command.”

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by SaaS email security platform Zivver and Agari, in partnership with Zivver channel partner Enforce Technology, Fallon stressed the importance of cooperation between the private and public sector.

“The National Cyber Force will go on to refine cyber doctrine, to develop the relevant capabilities in lockstep with civilian partners, rather than operating in parallel with civilian industry, and will bring all those skills and capabilities together,” he said.

“It will be aimed at deterring our adversaries, defending the operations of our military, and protecting our digital homeland. And it will involve much more work with our arms, where at the moment, cooperation is relatively patchy, where there aren’t common rules of engagement against cyber-attacks, and where NATO is struggling to develop cyber deterrence doctrine.

Lessons learned from COVID-19

Elsewhere, he said that there were lessons to be learned regarding the government response to COVID-19, noting there were “real vulnerabilities in our supply chains that were not properly mapped.”

Additionally, he said “We had to rush emergency legislation through Parliament to cover the legislative powers that were needed to tackle that response properly.

Fallon said there needs to be “Better promoting improving national resilience, and that, I think, also would include carrying out more grey-zone exercises in collaboration with the private sector, involving senior management, from the key companies so that they understand what has to be done in the event of a particularly disruptive attack.”

Collaboration between the private and public sector

On the National Cyber Force, Steve Lloyd, regional director at Zivver UKI, said: “The pandemic has driven digital transformation forward by an average of seven years. It would be good to turn this into a positive and create much needed collaboration between the private and public sector, to drive cyber security policies which better protect UK citizens and organisations.”

“The current pandemic has brought with it new and greater security risks for companies. I think more than ever there is a need for companies to join forces and work effectively together, to drive security best practices and policies,” added Kate Baker, channel account manager, EMEA at Agari.