Government unveils Cyber Security Council to boost UK skills and jobs

New DCMS-funded UK Cyber Security Council to be official governing body on training and standards

Posted 9 February 2021 by Christine Horton

The government has set up a new independent body to boost career opportunities and professional standards for the UK’s booming cybersecurity sector.

The goal of the new DCMS-funded UK Cyber Security Council is to provide “a single governing voice for the industry” to establish the knowledge, skills and experience required for a range of cybersecurity jobs. This will potentially bring the industry in line with other professions such as law, medicine and engineering.

The Council says it will give budding and existing workers “a clear roadmap” for building a career in cybersecurity and focus on increasing the number and diversity of people entering the profession.

The body will work with training providers to accredit courses and qualifications and give employers the resources to recruit effectively to ensure their cyber capability.

“The fact we are launching an independent professional body for cybersecurity shows just how vital this area has become – it makes a huge contribution to our thriving digital economy by safeguarding our critical national infrastructure, commerce and other online spaces,” said Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman.

“The UK Cyber Security Council will ensure anyone interested in an exciting career tackling online threats has access to world-class training and guidance. It will also champion diversity and inclusion, driving up standards while helping the nation to build back better and safer.”

This latest move comes after feedback from a 2018 DCMS public consultation looking at the issues facing the profession, which showed overwhelming support for a new body.

National Cyber Security Strategy

Working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Council will support the Government’s £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy.

“Cybersecurity is a growing industry in the UK and it’s vital for high standards of practice and technical expertise to be at the heart of the profession as it develops,” said Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber growth.

“We look forward to working with the Council to help ensure that future generations of cyber security professionals have the skills and support they need to thrive and make the UK the safest place to live and work online.”

The council has appointed its inaugural Board of Trustees to guide the organisation. This includes:

  • Chair: Dr. Claudia Natanson, a global cybersecurity expert who was previously CSO at DWP, MD at BT Secure Business Service and CISO at Diageo Plc
  • Vice-chair: Jessica Figueras, tech market strategist, chair of NCT, previously chief analyst at GlobalData (and Think Digital Partners technology advisor)
  • Trustee: Carla Baker, senior director, policy & government affairs UK & Ireland, Palo Alto Networks
  • Treasurer: Mike Watson, chief financial officer, Marston Holdings, previously with Dell, HP and BAE Systems’ cybersecurity division

“Having spent many years in cybersecurity, I’m very aware of the excellent work done by many varied organisations – but I’m also conscious that the time for an umbrella organisation has come in order to drive the profession forward in a unified way,” said UK Cyber Security Council chair, Dr. Claudia Natanson.

“It’s a privilege and a challenge to be part of the leadership of the Council, knowing that the future security and prosperity of the UK depends in part on the Council succeeding in its mission to develop the profession.”

The Council will formally launch on March 31.