Cyber: Defining our priorities for Wales

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Gymraeg

Back in February we wrote a blog telling you about the development of a Cyber Action Plan for Wales. Since then, we have been working with stakeholders to develop the plan. This has included discussions with industry experts, our academic partners including colleagues from the new Cyber Innovation Hub and digital and technology leads from the public sector.  As part of these discussions we developed a consensus on what we believe are the priority areas for cyber in Wales. These are:

1: Grow our cyber ecosystem

2: Build a pipeline of cyber talent

3: Strengthen our cyber resilience

4: Protect our public services

Ahead of publishing the action plan itself, we want to continue this series of blogs by providing an overview of each priority area and how these areas interlink and work together.

Grow our cyber ecosystem

Growing our cyber ecosystem is about supporting our economy by making Wales an attractive place to work in cyber, whether that be as a business, as an individual, for investment or research.  It is central to supporting the success of the other priority areas and we have already invested significant amounts in cyber in Wales.

The innovation seen through our investments and partnerships with industry and academia helps to make Wales an attractive place for talent and businesses to flourish. A strong cyber ecosystem can help grow the number of companies that can offer cyber support and accreditation for organisations.  This not only supports the growth of our economy, it also makes us more secure and resilient as a nation and ready to respond to threats.

Build a pipeline of cyber talent

Building a pipeline of cyber talent is about getting the right talent and skills in Wales and creating a strong, growing cyber workforce to meet our needs now and in the future.  This means developing the right skills, developing a pipeline, attracting and retaining talent and improving diversity.

Although it is important to teach the fundamentals and gain interest at an early age, this cannot be our only focus and there are multiple routes through to a career in cyber. There is an opportunity to offer people, at any age, who are no longer in education, to re-train. We also need to think about attracting a diverse range of people into cyber, as outlined in a guest blog we published by Clare Johnson.

The need for cyber skills and talent underpins delivery of all other priority areas.  The more the cyber ecosystem grows, the more jobs there will be in cyber and we will need to have the right specialist talent to meet that need. Developing our own talent will get us so far but, with growing demand for these skills and more people able to work from home, the usual boundaries for jobs in the sector are changing, opening up a new pool of talent.  So, we need to think about how we bring new talent into Wales and how we keep people working in Wales. Having a diverse cyber workforce that reflects our citizens will create a strong, talented cyber sector and help attract more people to work in cyber. 

Strengthen our cyber resilience

Strengthening our cyber resilience is about making sure that businesses and organisations are prepared and resilient when faced with cyber attacks. 

Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility, it’s not just for the tech savvy or the IT team. By building a culture where everyone has a fundamental knowledge, from citizens keeping safe online to staff having awareness of cyber security, we’ll strengthen our cyber resilience.

Businesses and organisations have responsibility for ensuring their services and systems are prepared when faced with cyber attacks.  Part of this is knowing where to get the right information, skills and support.  This also applies to the industries that run our key services such as telecoms, energy, water and transport.

A strong cyber ecosystem and having the right skills and talent will ultimately make us more resilient as a nation.

Protecting our public services

Protecting our public services is about making sure that pubic services deliver safe, secure and trusted digital services. If our public services are vulnerable to cyber attacks and have not prepared for the worst, if an attack does happen citizens could face significant barriers or delays in receiving the critical services they need – be that education, health or social care or financial support.

Leaders have a responsibility for ensuring they are prepared for and understand the wider impact of cyber attacks and that it can shut down critical daily activity and essential services.

By collaborating across Public Sector and using our partnerships with industry we can be consistent in our approach and find new and innovative ways to better protect our public services.

What next?

Our Cyber Action Plan will set out our vision for cyber in Wales.  For each of the priority areas in the plan we will identify actions to achieve this vision.  We will then work with colleagues in government, academia and industry to deliver the plan.

We will be publishing the Cyber Action Plan in the Spring.

If your work supports delivery of any of the priority areas mentioned, please let us know in the comments section below.

Blog by Cyber Co-ordination and Leadership Team


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