UK government launches national Computer Emergency Response Team

On Monday I was amongst a group of industry leaders who attended the government’s launch of CERT-UK. This is a new team of experts who will take the lead in coordinating the management of national cyber security incidents in the UK. The Cabinet Office Minister responsible for Cyber Security, Francis Maude, announced that CERT-UK would also act as the UK central contact point for international counterparts in the field.

One of the main responsibilities of CERT will be to promote cyber security awareness across industry, academia and the public sector – and with good cause. As we become increasingly integrated into the Internet of Things, organizations must shake themselves out of the mind-set that that online security is simply about protecting data. More and more devices are connected, from fridges to cars and even critical national infrastructure. We need to ensure that we can protect and verify the identity of every device that connects to an environment to prevent criminals gaining control of, or access to, networks. What is key to securing the future world of connected devices is a big push to educate people.

The establishment of CERT is also a welcome step towards greater collaboration, another critical factor in security and resilience. As Francis Maude explained, we need “closer coordination between government, business and academia to share insight and advice, as well as better cooperation with our international partners”. CERT takes its place alongside other initiatives such as the Cyber Growth Partnership, which is bringing together government, academia and the private sector to focus on issues such as increasing the UK’s talent pool of cyber practitioners and demonstrating the UK’s willingness to see cyber security as an issue without borders.

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