Recognising the vital role digital technologies now play in the delivery of economic prosperity, public services and national security, the UK Government rightly strives to be a global leader in innovation and technology. There are many aspects that are important to meeting this goal, but it is increasingly clear that a robust and resilient approach to cybersecurity across the economy is non-negotiable.

In the face of growing cybersecurity threats, the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has intensified its efforts to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure in recent years through the National Cyber Strategy as well as updates to the UK’s approach to the NIS Directive through specific work on Managed Service Providers and data centre providers. It went further by launching the McPartland review of cyber security and economic growth earlier this year and introduced new draft codes of conduct looking at AI and software cyber security.

The McPartland review: interdependence between cyber security and economic growth

Of particular importance through this policy work is the ever-deeper interdependence between cyber security and economic growth, especially the role cyber security plays in giving business confidence to digitise faster. Cisco has been at the forefront of addressing these challenges over the past decades and welcomes this focus. We look forward to contributing to collective efforts from the business and policy making communities to make progress in delivering effective, more resilient approaches to cybersecurity for all sectors of the economy.

We look forward to contributing to collective efforts from the business and policy making communities to make progress in delivering effective, more resilient approaches to cybersecurity for all sectors of the economy.

As a great example, Cisco’s recent Hypershield launch represents a step-change in cyber security innovation and responds to an increasingly complex global cyber threat landscape. Advancements in artificial intelligence, the ever-greater criticality of secure digital technologies to every business and public service and significant challenges such as a lack of skilled cyber workers, means business and government leaders need to do more to be prepared.

The Cybersecurity readiness gap: how to enhance cybersecurity resilience?

To help provide some further insight into this dynamic and challenging context, Cisco regularly publishes security and threat intelligence information to keep security professionals informed. The recently-launched Cisco 2024 Cybersecurity Readiness Index surveyed business leaders across 30 countries to provide a comprehensive view of what organisations need to do to improve their cybersecurity resilience. The Index reveals a significant readiness gap, despite almost three quarters of companies believing a cybersecurity incident will disrupt their business in the next 12-24 months.

To help decision makers, the Index makes several recommendations on how to enhance cybersecurity resilience, including:

  • Continuing to accelerate investment in protective cybersecurity measures across the board, including adopting a platform approach to ensure all solutions in the security stack can be leveraged to their maximum ability.
  • Assessing and closing vulnerability gaps created by unmanaged devices and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
  • Keeping abreast of the latest developments in Generative AI technology and leverage them to enhance security programs and operational resilience.
  • Ramping up recruitment and upskilling of in-house talent to close cybersecurity talent gaps. Where possible, leverage advancements in AI to augment and automate tasks while leaning on external cybersecurity expertise to help close key gaps in building and operating cybersecurity infrastructure.
  • Establishing a company baseline of how ‘ready’ you are across the five major security pillars, continually monitor, and act where needed.

Concerted effort to build resilient defences

The primary responsibility for driving progress on the actions above should lie with business and public service delivery leaders. However, policy makers have a critical role too.

To minimise the impact of cyber challenges on economic growth, businesses need a clear and consistent policy direction that champions resilience.

Elements of this include: the need for government to support and champion the take up of cyber security skills programmes (such as those included in Cisco’s Networking Academy on skillsforall.com); keeping cyber security advice to companies updated, proportionate and implementable; incentivizing companies to invest in robust cyber security solutions; using targeted regulation where necessary; building international partnerships and consistency on relevant cyber standards, rules and guidance; and working with cyber companies to analyse and manage threats.

It will take a concerted effort from all stakeholders to build defences that are as resilient as they are responsive to the evolving landscape of cybersecurity and ensure that cyber security gives businesses in the UK the confidence to invest and grow.

With four decades experience addressing secure connectivity challenges around the world, Cisco is poised to contribute its expertise to protect UK businesses and citizens and inform the cyber readiness debate.


Matt Houlihan

Public Policy Director

Government Affairs