2017 was the year that cyber truly entered the public consciousness. From WannaCry to the cyber attack on the Houses of Parliament, high profile cyber attacks showcased just why the UK Government had doubled its investment in cyber security from £850m to £1.9bn in an ambitious strategy that aimed to make the UK the most secure place to live, work and do business online.

One year on, it is clear to see why the strategy continues to be seen as world-leading by governments around the world. For example, take the work of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which, in its first year, responded to 590 significant cyber-attacks across the UK. The resources and expertise behind the NCSC are clear signs of the seriousness with which government takes cyber security. The government is also already concluding some of the objectives contained within the strategy, such as the “Secure by Default” project, which is concluding in March with the publication of a report and Code of Practice for manufacturers of consumer IoT products and services.

Furthermore, a number of “cyber growth” initiatives have also been kicked off by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in order to grow the number of UK cyber security companies. From the Cheltenham Innovation Centre to the Cyber 101 Bootcamps, it is clear that the Government sees our best defence to the cyber threat as growing UK cyber capabilities.

This is even more important as the regulatory framework for cyber changes this year, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS) due to come into effect in May 2018. It is clear that UK businesses will need to raise the bar in terms of their response and resilience to the threat, or face the prospect of significant fines for non-compliance.

All of this progress is encouraging – though more could be done to highlight these initiatives to businesses across the country and ensure that efforts are joined up. Whilst it is far too early to entirely judge the National Cyber Security Strategy with three years still to go, it is good to see 2018 start with the same momentum from government, helping businesses and individuals meet the growing challenges that cyber security brings.

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