On 1 November 2016, the Chancellor, Phil Hammond unveiled the UK Government's new National Cyber Security Strategy. The strategy for 2016-2021 sets out significant action to develop the UK's capabilities and make it one of the safest places to do business in the world.

In particular, the new strategy places strong emphasis on the need to protect the UK economy and the rights of British citizens, whilst encouraging market forces to take more of an active role to prevent cyber-attacks and raise cyber security standards across businesses in the UK.

The key objectives for the strategy are as follows:

  • the use automated system defences in the UK to safeguard critical national infrastructure (in sectors like energy and transport), businesses and citizens against growing cyber threats and respond effectively to incidents to ensure that UK networks, data and systems are protected and resilient;
  • support the UK’s growing cyber security industry through: the work of the new National Cyber Security Centre; the work of investigators and technical specialists within the new National Cyber Crime Unit; the announcement of a new Cyber Security Research Institute; and the launch of a Cyber Innovation Fund in 2017 to fund training and support for cyber start-ups;
  • deter, understand and investigate cyber-attacks from criminals and hostile actors, strengthen law enforcement capabilities and build international partnerships to improve awareness of cyber threats; and
  • develop an innovative world-class cyber workforce by increasing investment capabilities across the public and private sectors underpinned by world leading scientific research and development.

The funding commitments for the new strategy have doubled since the first strategy in 2011, demonstrating the importance that the threat of cybersecurity has on UK businesses. It is estimated that the UK Government will spend around £1.9bn on cybersecurity by 2020.