NCSC opens London HQ as it looks to next phase of cyber efforts
Organisation unveils new centre of operations in central London to work with private and public sectors, including devolved and local authorities, to better tackle and detect attacks
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) formerly opened its new London headquarters today (February 14), outlining a number of key aims and focuses concerning skills and ensuring wider protection for devolved and local authorities.
Speaking at the launch, which was attended by the Queen and Chancellor Philip Hammond, NCSC chief executive Ciaran Martin played up the organisation’s aims to serve stakeholders across the UK. This included providing new software designed to support local authorities to understand possible vulnerabilities in their websites and outline how they can strengthen protection.
Looking forward, Martin also noted upcoming efforts to plan the next phase of the organisation’s work during the government’s CyberUK event scheduled to be held in Liverpool next month, with a particular focus on up-skilling young people.
Formally established on October 1 last year, the NCSC has previously committed to work with local government to look at the key challenges authorities may face from threats such as malware as it looks to overcome existing limitations in securing a large number of disparate systems. However, the organisation has maintained it was not possible to work with individual councils on a one-to-one basis, reflecting a need for best practice.
The exact remit and scope of the NCSC’s work with central government departments was recently among concerns raised by parliament’s Public Accounts Committee in a review of Whitehall cyber security initiatives.
Speaking at the NCSC in London, Martin argued that work in introducing higher cyber security standards and technology improvements nationally had prevented basic cyber attacks across the UK. Commitments were also given to British consumers to ensure they were clearly and quickly made aware of attacks that may affect them.
“All our government, security, military, law enforcement, and international supporters will have a critical role to play,” Martin said.
"But in particular this will be about business and the private sector. At our worst – and if we’re honest both government and industry can be as bad as each other sometimes – we can sit around at conferences, meetings and dinners admiring the problem and calling for more of the same.”
Martin therefore played up the need for a new era of collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Earlier this month, the PAC released its latest findings on the government’s cyber security efforts noting concerns around the effectiveness of Whitehall’s three-tier cyber security classifications, Civil Service skill programmes and s clearer focus on the NCSC’s role in preventing attacks.
The committee called for a detailed plan to be published by the government by the end of the financial year detailing how the NCSC will assist and communicate with organisations.
According to the report, as of April 2016, 12 separate teams or bodies working from the centre of government were charged with tackling or preventing potential cyber threats, seen as one of the key security risks facing the nation.