The Ministry of Defence is to introduce a ‘Cyber Reserve' force to draw on the wider talent and skills of the nation in the cyber field.
According to Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, who delivered a statement yesterday with an update a year on from the launch of the Cyber Security Strategy, it was "constantly examining new ways to harness and attract the talents of the cyber security specialists that are needed for critical areas of work".
As well as praising the work of the Cyber Security Challenge, the Get Safe Online campaign and universities in raising cyber security awareness, Maude said that the Ministry of Defence is taking forward the development of the ‘Cyber Reserve' force, although the exact composition is currently in development and a detailed announcement will follow in 2013.
John Colley, managing director EMEA at (ISC)2, said: “The major focus seems to be on influencing the elite and developing intelligence. It is not enough and is out of step with how the management of society's information security risk must evolve.
“Funding new research centres and denoting ‘Centre of Excellence Status' to universities that are already delivering graduate courses in this space does not begin to address the skills shortage that we all acknowledge is adding to the threat. There are already 55 to 60 graduate level courses in the UK and most students don't pursue an education at this level. More is needed at the undergraduate level where awareness of the career opportunities can help reach the numbers required.
“The government has pulled together a comprehensive statement covering a lot of disparate and impressive initiatives, but I am not confident that the basic requirements are being covered or therefore that they are getting to grips with the problem.”
Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems Detica, said: “When we look back in five years' time we will see that the government's strategy has provided a catalyst for a series of innovative and useful activities, particularly around how industry can respond to and protect itself from cyber incidents – most notably the recent Cyber Incident Response Scheme announced by GCHQ. Nonetheless, there is still a long way to go before we can say that we are successfully countering cyber threats.”
Guy Bunker, senior vice president of products at Clearswift, said: “The government is entirely correct in focusing efforts on education, as well as practical prevention. Yes, there are many threats from abroad, but there are just as many in the UK and even within organisations.
“With the Cyber Incident Response Team becoming fully operational next year and efforts being made to change behaviour online so that it is intrinsically safe, businesses and consumers are being afforded every opportunity to tackle cyber crime. As the government has said, this is not an issue for government alone - we must all take responsibility for our actions online, otherwise we risk losing our lead as a major internet-based economy.”