Speaking at the Reform “Cyber Security: assurance, resilience, response”conference in London, Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey has outlined how a new voucher scheme designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) will launch later this quarter.
The launch of the voucher scheme is part of a package of initiatives designed to increase the resilience of UK businesses to cyber-attacks. The package also includes a new online learning and careers hub to help ensure the UK has the cyber skills talent pool to protect both the public and private sectors as we face the reality of increasing cyber threats.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “We want to help protect UK businesses against cyber attack and make the UK safest place in world to do business online. The new voucher scheme will offer increased protection for small businesses, and the new online hub will help ensure we have the skilled workforce in place to manage the increased pressures of the digital age.”
The new UK £1m cyber security innovation vouchers scheme will offer micro, small and medium sized businesses up to £5,000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property. The scheme will be overseen by the Government’s innovation experts at Innovate UK.
As well as helping protect businesses from cyber attack, the vouchers enable firms to access services from the UK cyber security industry. This new scheme will also help businesses to adopt Cyber Essentials, Government’s flagship scheme to protect businesses online.
Kevin Baughan, Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Innovation said: “The UK’s economy is increasingly underpinned by digital infrastructure, so cyber security is now a critical component. The schemes announced will give cyber-confidence for businesses and consumers and will help our digital economy to flourish. The UK now has the opportunity to become a world leader in cyber security, creating the jobs of tomorrow and driving productivity and growth.”
The UK cyber security industry is strong and growing – worth £17.6bn and employs over 40,000 people – but more skilled people are needed to help protect the nation as the UK goes digital and adopts new technologies.
The new “Inspired Careers” online skills and career hub being launched has been developed by industry body CREST and Government to tackle the skills shortage in cyber security. The hub features careers information and advice, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, academic and professional training courses, work experience and senior level vacancies, and will be a powerful tool to promote the cyber security profession and encourage the next generation of cyber specialists to help protect the UK.