Government brings in vendors to combat cyber threat

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Government brings in vendors to combat cyber threat

Simon Quicke

Security vendors have been given a chance to help the government improve levels of cyber security as part of a raft of measures taken to increase levels of protection against criminals and nation state attacks.

The government has produced its Cyber Security Strategy outlining how it will spend the £650m it earmarked for improving Britain's online defences.

As part of the strategy there will be a joint initiative with defence, energy, pharmaceutical, telecoms and finance to share information and formulate responses to attacks.

The intelligence agency GCHQ will work with private business to improve defences and there will be a defence cyber operations group in the MoD to counter cyber warfare.

The security industry has a long track record of working with governments and law enforcement agencies but this is the clearest indication yet that a more unified approach, particularly to helping spread education to SMEs is called for.

The initial response from the industry was positive, with some conditions, as they hoped this would mark the start of the government doing more.

"It is great to finally see the UK government starting to take the cyber threat seriously and provide a framework to help organisations protect their assets," said Ross Brewer, vice president and managing director for international markets, LogRhythm.

"Much of the advice may seem pretty basic, for example GCHQ recently warned that 80 percent of successful attacks could be thwarted by following simple step like updating anti-virus, but it is often these little details that are key to maintaining security," he added.

But Brewer said that there had to be proactive monitoring to ensure that organisations were able to spot threats as soon as they happened.

Frank Coggrave, general manager EMEA at Guidance Software, also had some concerns about a strategy that had taken a fairly long time to see the light of day.

"The Government maintains that it's vital to take a collaborative approach and work together to combat cyber crime, which is still an important issue. However, the sensitive commercial implications of knowledge sharing and this suggestion of an "open internet" need to be carefully thought out. Many organisations simply do not want to share their secrets, so as not to compromise competitive advantage," he said.

"Another concern is whether the strategy is too 'political' to be effective; if the cause becomes too bureaucratic it doesn't necessarily have the rapid response approach needed to deal with the full gamut of cyber threats," he added. 

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