Government unveils £500,000 cyber-security education fund

Cyber-security skills flew up the agenda recently as the UK government announced it was implementing a £500,000 fund to help universities and colleges teach students how to secure their technology against cyber-attacks. 

Administered by the Higher Education Academy, a national body which promotes higher learning, the fund will go towards training a new generation of UK citizens in cyber-security.

The fund was announced yesterday by the minister for digital economy, Ed Vaizey, speaking at the Financial Times Cyber Security Europe Summit.

Vaizey also underlined the need for for UK business to protect themselves from cyber-attack as the digital economy grows.

While UK businesses earn £1 out of every £5 made on the internet, they are also becoming major targets for cyber-attack. Price Waterhouse Cooper's recent 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey cites figures which show “74 percent of small businesses and 90 percent of major business” have suffered a cyber-breach in the last year.

“Good cyber-security underpins the entire digital economy” said Vaizey. “We need it to keep our businesses, citizens and public services safe. The UK is a world leader in the use of digital technologies but we also need to be a world leader in cyber-security.”

Vaizey encouraged businesses to become part of the government's Cyber Essentials scheme, to which 1000 businesses have already signed up. The scheme encourages good practice in information security and suggests five main technical controls including firewalls, secure configuration, access control, malware protection and patch management. 

The minister said, “Trust and confidence in UK online security is crucial for consumers, businesses and investors. We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business online and Cyber Essentials is a great and simple way firms can protect themselves.”

Ian Glover, president of CREST, a not for profit information security organization, said: “CREST has welcomed Ed Vaizey's comments on Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus that establish a minimum set of security controls for all organisations, large and small.” 

Glover added that, “It is not just the government saying what is best for your organisation, it is a collaboration between government and industry to establish good practice.”