Developing cyber resilience skills in Scotland

cyber resilience

Open Access Government explores the Scottish Government’s recent initiatives to make Scotland a world-leading nation in cyber resilience by 2020, which includes putting cyber-skills at the centre of learning and development

In March this year, the Scottish Government put in place a new action plan to put cyber-skills at the centre of learning and development. The aim is to widen the awareness of cyber resilience and develop a strong pool of talent skilled in cybersecurity so that resilience to online and digital threats can be improved.

In short, the Cyber Resilience Learning and Skills Action Plan incorporates important actions for business, education and the public sector for strengthening and furthering understanding of the vital requirement for cybersecurity in today’s world.

The action plan was launched by Economy Secretary Keith Brown earlier this year when meeting BT apprentices in Edinburgh as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2018. He said:

“This plan is a blueprint for the Scottish Government and all its partners across the public and private sectors to work together to enhance our wider understanding of cybersecurity.

“We want to see people across Scotland, whether in early years, school, college or the workplace, get greater opportunities to develop the skills needed to be safe and resilient in their online lives.

“The plan also sets out how we can ensure we have a strong pool of professionals able to secure our businesses, charities and public services against current and future threats, and who can develop innovative goods and services for the rest of the world.

“Supporting the development of these specialist skills will be vital to the success of other activity on cyber resilience as well as our forthcoming plan to help us to take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by our work on cybersecurity.”

SDS Director of Industry and Enterprise Networks, Gordon McGuinness welcomed the launch of the Cyber Resilience Learning and Skills Action Plan. His words conveyed his full support for increasing the awareness of cyber resilience in Scotland’s schools, workplaces and further afield. He went on to explain his thoughts on cyber skills and why there are important for Scotland.

“Cyber skills are a key focus for Skills Development Scotland. We launched our Cyber Skills Programme in 2017 which is an initiative encouraging school pupils to choose fighting cybercrime as a career choice.”

“Through a series of collaborative events with industry, school pupils have been able to learn more about cybersecurity and the many exciting career opportunities that are available in this industry.”1

Cybersecurity and its role in delivering digital public services to citizens

In a recent article from Open Access Government, John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of the Scottish Government shared his thoughts on the importance of cybersecurity and why it is an essential component of delivering digital public services to citizens. He also revealed the extent to which public services all over the world are impacted by cyber-attacks today.

“Worldwide, public services are being routinely and mercilessly subjected to low-level but high-volume attacks which capitalise on the complacency around basic cybersecurity measures, as well as more sophisticated and targeted cyber-attacks which in turn are impacting on the ability to provide essential health, social care and community services. This can also serve to undermine trust and confidence in the public sector.”2

The Public Sector Action Plan on Cyber Resilience

John Swinney also refers to the Public Sector Action Plan on Cyber Resilience, launched in November 2017, which encourages all public bodies to implement the same baseline standards of cybersecurity within their organisations. At the time, Deputy First Minister John

Swinney said: “I want Scotland to be a world-leading nation in cyber resilience by 2020. The Scottish Government recently committed to developing a range of action plans to help meet this ambition, including in the key areas of learning and skills, economic opportunity, and public, private and third sector cyber resilience.

“Our public sector action plan will encourage all public bodies, large or small, to achieve common standards of cyber resilience. I want our public sector to lead by example on strengthening cybersecurity, to help ensure Scotland is ready to deal with all emerging threats.”

In closing, Dr Keith Nicholson, Joint Chair of the NCRLB Public Sector Steering Group underlines one of the qualities of the public sector in Scotland, which is the willingness to share good practice and work together. He elaborates on this important point in his own words.

“The Public Sector Action Plan on Cyber Resilience is the embodiment of that spirit. All public bodies can follow the Action Plan to achieve a common base level of cybersecurity resilience ensuring that Scotland’s public sector will be better protected against cyber-attacks to the benefit of both the organisation and the citizens of Scotland.”3







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