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UKTI’s export figures show a 15% increase for a vibrant UK cyber security sector

techUK welcomes this achievement but more needs to be done to hit UK government’s £4bn cyber security export target by 2020.

UK Trade and Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) has published its defence and security export figures for 2014 last week. Key findings related to cyber include:

  • UK cyber exports have increased from £1.3bn to £1.5bn, a 15% increase.
  • Of the product types listed by UKTI, Situational Awareness, System recovery & data cleansing, Identity & Access Based Services and Encryption accounted for the most cyber security exports.
  • Forecast growth for the global security exports market will continue to be 'powered by a burgeoning cyber sector which is expected to grow between 16.7% in 2014 to 23.7% by 2019.'

techUK welcomes the figures, which demonstrate a continued drive to make the UK a world leader in cyber security. This has been achieved in large part due to the collaborative approach with which both government, industry and academia have taken in forming a UK export strategy.

The Cyber Growth Partnership (CGP) is made up of members from government, industry and academia and helps to deliver the UK's cyber security export strategy. It works to help UK cyber security companies increase their access to overseas and domestic markets, to develop and publicise the UK's offer and brand and to increase the talent pool available to them in the UK. It is co-chaired by the CEO of BT, Gavin Patterson and the Minister of State for the Digital Industries, Ed Vaizey MP and is a key enabler in meeting UK government's export target of £4bn by 2020.

In working to these ends, a number of its achievements include:

  • Produced guidance to help companies assess the risks associated with exporting non-controlled products, so that UK exporters can feel confident in doing so
  • Overseen the building of a cyber demonstration centre, a facility for the UK Cyber security sector to showcase their products and services to clients and to help UK companies win more business overseas
  • Allowed companies supplying into UK government the chance to publically reference this fact in their export marketing materials through the UK Supplier to Government Scheme
  • Launched Cyber Connect UK, a national programme to increase support for cyber security start-ups and small business
  • Launched cyber security boot camps and mentoring scheme with Cyber Challenge to improve employment outcomes for graduates
  • Mapping the UK's Cyber Security capability into one central location to allow buyers a full picture of the UK offering

If UK export figures were to continue to grow on annualised basis at their current rate however, export figures would fall roughly £1bn short of target. Admittedly, the global cyber security sector is predicted to grow at a faster rate in the coming years, due to an increasing number of cyber-security incidents, greater awareness of risk and tougher legislation on breach disclosure. Yet if the UK is to fully maximise this opportunity, more needs to be done if it is to build on the 15% growth.

Going forward, the CGP is focussed on identifying areas of highest growth potential and supporting UK industry to target appropriate sectors and opportunities. It will undertake a sectorial analysis to identify where the best opportunities lie for the UK. On the exports side it will also push for the adoption of a cyber 'Envoy' model by placing an industry representative in embassies in target regions (Europe and South East Asia), building on the success of Andy Williams stationed in the US and Conrad Prince, the UK's cyber ambassador in the Gulf.

The CGP is also set to launch a programme of activity to promote innovation and encourage the development of skills. It will continue to encourage better collaboration between primes and SMEs through incubator and accelerator initiatives and will curate a programme of thought leadership and events to provoke debates with industry. It will also expand its relationship with academia to identify targeted interventions to promote the broad skillset of graduates required by UK industry.

Through this renewed focus to exports, it is hoped that the vibrant UK cyber security sector can build on yesterday's success and hit the export target of £4bn by 2020.

 

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