Call For Greater Private/Public Co-Operation To Support Government Cybersecurity Strategy

Responding to the recent UK defence review, which builds on the government’s new security strategy, which was announced on Monday, I welcome the pragmatic approach the coalition government is taking on all aspects of security.

It is reassuring to hear that the government now classes a hostile Internet attack on the UK’s IT infrastructure in the same `tier 1′ security category as an act of international terrorism.

For too long, governments have focused on physical disasters – and potential disasters – such as a major accident or a natural hazard such as serious flu outbreak, in their assessment of serious threats against the integrity of the UK.

It’s therefore reassuring that, with Monday’s security strategy announcement, and today’s defence review, the government is demonstrating that it truly understands the importance of cybersecurity defences, as well as joined-up thinking on how this integrates with our national security.

The defence cutbacks, whilst painful in some areas, will free up funding to allow the armed forces to lay the foundations of an effective UK cybersecurity defence strategy.

As private industry – especially in the IT industry – has demonstrated over the last few years, it is perfectly possible to meet the needs of implementing a good IT security strategy whilst at the same time cutting costs to meet budgetary constraints.

And it’s against this backdrop that we would encourage small companies to form partnerships with the government when it comes to developing an effective cybersecurity strategy, as the lessons being learned in the private sector can also be applied to the public sector.

It is to be hoped that the private sector can work with the public sector in better defending UK PLC’s digital assets against all forms of cyberterrorism and – along the way – helping each other in achieving the budget savings that are clearly required.

My observations are that, in order to weather the current economic storm, small companies need to form partnerships with the government, including the Ministry of Defence, as there is so much that both sides of the public/private sector divide can learn from each other.

For more on the UK’s cybersecurity strategy: http://bbc.in/9ilqH8

Ray Bryant is CEO of Idappcom. Ray started working life in a firm of London Chartered accountants, qualified as Chartered Company Secretary in 1979. His career in IT started in the very early days at Control Data Corporation.