The UK government has announced new funding of £500,000 aimed at improving the teaching of IT security skills.
The government issued a warning to businesses this week about a recent rise in cyber attacks, urging firms to ensure they have protection in place as up to 90 percent of major businesses suffered a cyber breach in the past year.
Speaking at the Financial Times Cyber Security Europe Summit, Ed Vaizey, minister for the digital economy, said it was vital firms took action to protect their assets before they become the next victim.
"Good cyber security underpins the entire digital economy - we need it to keep our businesses, citizens and public services safe. The UK is a world leader in the use of digital technologies but we also need to be a world leader in cyber security," he said.
"Trust and confidence in UK online security is crucial for consumers, businesses and investors. We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business online."
As part of the government's effort to help boost cyber security skills in the UK, Vaizey announced a new £500,000 fund designed to help universities and colleges develop educational courses in cyber security.
The educational scheme, which will be administered through the Higher Education Academy, will mean academic institutions can apply for up to £80,000, which must then be match-funded by the institution and generate "real-world impact" to be valid.
A recent government report, titled Information Security Breaches Survey 2015, found that 74 percent of small businesses were victim to a cyber attack over the course of a year and that the financial impact to businesses of all sizes is on the rise.
For firms with over 500 staff the cost of dealing with a breach – including dealing with business disruption, lost sales, and any fines or compensation - starts from as much as £1.46m, up from £600,000 in 2014, and rises as high as £3.14m.
Meanwhile for smaller firms the costs range from between £75,000 to £311,000.
The government is also urging firms to join the ranks of Vodafone, Barclays and most recently Intel Security, in signing up to the Cyber Essentials scheme, set up as part of the wider National Cyber Security Programme in 2011.
Vaizey revealed that over 1,000 UK businesses have signed up to Cyber Essentials to date.
James Stirk, regional director for government at Intel Security, said the programme represents a "positive step forward" for proposals that aim to raise cyber standards.
"By providing organisations with the criteria and opportunity to meet basic cyber security hygiene standards, this initiative will increase confidence for businesses as well as their customers and partners," he said.
Meanwhile in July the government announced a £5,000 voucher scheme aimed at preparing small to businesses (SMBs) against cyber attack threats.
The voucher initiative, which aims to provide specialist advice in how to protect sensitive data, was developed as part of a wider £860m investment into cyber security taking place from 2011 to 2016.
Ian Glover, president of CREST, the accreditation body that certifies companies to provide Cyber Essentials services, said that for many businesses these cyber schemes are only the beginning.
"It is not just the government saying what is best for your organisation, it is a collaboration between government and industry to establish good practice. But for many organisations Cyber Essentials must be viewed as just the starting point," he said.
"Many companies that hold sensitive personal or corporate information will need to do more to counter a concerted attack. And if an organisation is part of the supply chain they must also understand their obligations and not become the weakest link."
Despite the rising threat posed by cyber incidents, V3 heard last week from the insurance industry how they are struggling to develop policies to help mitigate losses to the private sector, as the threat evolves so rapidly.
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