UK Cyber Security Council Begins Work

The Cyber Security Alliance-led Formation Project has created an umbrella body that will grow to champion cyber security education, training and skills

The UK Cyber Security Council – the self-regulatory body for the cyber security education and skills sector – today announced that the Formation Project to create the Council has completed, allowing the Government-mandated Council to officially become an independent entity, fully and only accountable to its Trustees.

The Council will champion the cyber security profession across the UK, providing broad representation for the industry, accelerating awareness and promoting excellence in the profession. It will do this by delivering thought leadership, career tools and education resources to the cyber security sector and those seeking a career in the industry, alongside helping influence government, industry and academia with the aim of developing and promoting UK cyber security excellence globally and growing the skills base.

The Cyber Security Alliance aims to bring together a range of established knowledge and disciplines, each of which currently has a leadership role in underpinning UK expertise in the digital environment.

With an overall aim to provide clarity around the skills, competences and career pathways within this fast-moving area of cybersecurity, the initial objective is to support commitments expressed within the UK National Cyber Security Strategy, including the stated intent to recognise professionals through Chartered status.

Dr Claudia Natanson, chair of the Council’s Board of Trustees, said:

“The Formation Project has put down solid foundations on which the Council can build, and that is what the Council is able to, and will do, from today. The next few months will be especially busy; we are now able to hire and start work on gaining traction and momentum across and beyond the profession.

We’ll also be engaging with Government to ensure the delivery of the standards and governance needed to ensure a strong cyber security profession now and in the future.

The trustees assure all those involved in the Council to date of our maximum efforts to take their work forward.”

Near-term tasks for the Council include:

  • the appointment of a permanent leadership team, who will work with the Board of Trustees to establish the Council as a leader in the profession, influencing its standing and reputation within the UK and globally; and
  • the recruitment of personnel to take forward the work of the Formation Project on elements of the Council’s remit, including recognition for cyber security practitioners, professional ethics, diversity and inclusivity in the profession and thought leadership

Dr Natanson also thanked the Cyber Security Alliance and the member organisations that supported the Formation Project.

“For twenty months, scores of volunteers from the 16 forward-thinking organisations of the Cyber Security Alliance have devoted countless hours to getting the Council to this date.

We cannot thank them enough, because without them there would be no Council. In the teeth of a pandemic, to reach this date with the Council on schedule is remarkable,” she said.

The Council was conceived in late 2018 within the U.K. Government’s Initial National Cyber Security Skills Strategy policy paper, which called for a new, independent body to professionalize the cybersecurity skills sector and support Government efforts to improve U.K. cybersecurity resilience and its skills base.

Dr Budgie Dhanda, managing director of 3BDA and co-chair of UK Cyber Security Council Formation Project, said:

“The volunteers from the members of the Cyber Security Alliance have put heart and soul into the Formation Project, and the members of the Alliance itself have supported their staff all the way.

We’re all very proud of what we’re handing over today and look forward to its evolution into a fully functioning, effective Council to represent our profession through the changes ahead.”

Once fully operational, the Council will have a cross-industry role as a voice for the profession, influencing policy and providing counsel on behalf of its member organizations. It will also provide a variety of resources and guidance for individuals, including an extensive tool to map the many career and qualification pathways for professionals within the cybersecurity sector.

Dr Bill Mitchell OBE, chair of the Cyber Security Alliance, said:

“Today marks a significant milestone for the many people who are today and will be in the future handed the enormously important task of protecting the United Kingdom and its economy from cyber threats that undermine the foundations of modern society.

Handing over the Council to its trustees is the culmination of over four years of commitment to a shared vision and shared values of public benefit from 16 organisations that came together in recognition of the breadth of skills and disciplines that go into this task.

Now a new profession for the UK can be officially recognised and supported. The Alliance remains fully committed to supporting the new Council and ensuring it succeeds at the pace and with the reach the UK needs as we recover from the pandemic and find our place outside the EU.”

(ISC)² – the world’s largest nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals called for more and continued industry collaboration amongst membership and training bodies linked with cybersecurity skills and professional development.

They say that doing so will bolster the cross-industry work that has built the new U.K. Cyber Security Council, as well as further collective efforts to advocate for members and greater industry awareness of cybersecurity trends and threats.

“The U.K. Cyber Security Council will help to foster greater skills development and attract more trained professionals to maintain the U.K.’s position as a world-leading cybersecurity skills and innovation center,” said Clar Rosso, CEO of (ISC)².

“Further, it will support our sector’s collective mission to equip professionals with the skills, knowledge and continuous development needed to keep pace with the evolving needs of the cybersecurity industry and the wider economy.

“As a member of the Cyber Security Alliance, (ISC)² has been heavily involved throughout the project to launch the Council. Together, the Alliance organizations have invested considerable time and resources alongside the funding from DCMS to build the Council, establishing an unprecedented new level of cooperation within our industry. Our shared vision and commitment to the creation of the Council, and our ongoing support for it as a Founder Member of the Alliance, has brought our industry together, and it is important we do not squander the opportunity for progress and innovation that cooperation creates.

It is imperative, not only for the future success of the Council, but for the benefit of all our members and organizations, that the sector continues to work together with the same vigour and enthusiasm to support the Council in the months and years to come,” Rosso added.

The Council has been invited by the NCSC to participate at CYBERUK, the UK government’s flagship cyber security conference in May. It will outline some initial plans at the event.

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