On 1st October, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will officially launch. Due to be opened on 3rd October, the centre will be charged with simplifying cyber security operations across the government and national institutions such as the NHS. It will also seek to educate and improve the country’s resilience to cyber-attacks.
It was earlier in the year that the government unveiled just what the NCSC would do, but an official opening date wasn’t mentioned. Now, talking at the Cyber Security in Healthcare conference, Alison Whitney from the organisation said: “The first sign that we are up and running will be the NCSC’s website, which is scheduled to go live on 4 October.”
Based in London and Cheltenham, the NCSC will be led by Chief Executive Ciaran Martin and Technical Director Ian Levy. “The primary goal of the NCSC is to simplify the complicated [cyber security] picture across government that made it difficult for organisations to know who to talk to,” Whitney explained. “It brings together all the key organisations under a single organisational umbrella to provide better support and bridge the gaps between government, industry and critical national infrastructure.”
Explaining further about the role of the new organisation, Whitney said that there are four main priorities. These are reducing overall cyber security risks to Great Britain, building the nation’s security capability and providing leadership, learning and sharing knowledge about the cyber security environment, and being able to respond effectively to cyber incidents. In addition, the NCSC will hope to develop the cyber security skills of experts across the UK. “We are all desperate for skilled people,” Whitney said, adding: “We all have gaps to fill and are having to do the best we can with the people we have.”
There is a particular priority upon engaging with the health sector, which is made up of 40,000 organisations and up to 1.3 million users. Whitney explained that individually engaging with 40,000 companies is impossible. Instead, the NCSC has worked alongside the Department of Health to recognise “pinch points.” Within the health sector, the NCSC will be working to embed National Data Guardian Standards and provide expert cyber security advice via the Health and Social Care Network.
The NCSC will monitor progress over the coming six months so that it can test its initial strategic plan and then refine its operation based on feedback.
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