By Debbie Evans, Legal & Commercial Director
On Tuesday 17 February 2015, the House of Lords, Select Committee on Digital Skills (appointed to “consider and report on information and communications technology, competitiveness and skills in the UK”) reported that any newly elected Government should give priority and “establish a single and cohesive Digital Agenda” that whilst creates a level of risk it allows the UK to thrive economically. The Digital Agenda should focus on the following:
- Access to digital technologies should be viewed as a utility and available throughout the UK;
- Education and skills in the digital space need to improve for all, including children right through to SMEs and board members;
- Risk Management and cyber security needs to be considered “an intrinsic part of our critical national infrastructure”.
The Report highlights that there is still a lack of awareness of the cyber security risks and the simple steps that can be taken to adequately protect. To enable the UK to culturally shift to a digitally mature and sophisticated environment, it is emphasised that the requirement for additional support, education and training in security is paramount. Increased trust and confidence needs to be placed in the technology that offers security protection; legislation and education is not enough to protect us from threats, a robust IT backbone is essential.
Whilst improving the UK’s cyber security has been a top Government priority, it is apparent from the National Audit Office report in September 2014 “Update on the National Cyber Security Programme”, that there is a major skill gap in the public sector to help meet the UK’s cybersecurity objectives. Any UK citizen should be concerned about the current skills shortage and companies like Clearswift aim to empower companies to be more in control. Clearswift’s technology allows companies to help them help themselves, by implementing infrastructure such as adaptive redaction that automatically protects us all.
As individuals, whether we are directors, lawyers, accountants, teachers or anyone for that matter, we need to start taking more of an interest and responsibility for improving our understanding of cybersecurity. Preventing data loss is the responsibility of us all but it can’t be done in isolation. Professional advisors and educators have a duty to spread the cybersecurity message; to help ensure collectively we implement and recognise the value of appropriate protection.
This is what may “make or break” the UK economy in the long run!