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The UK Cyber Security Council has launched its first two initiatives to help develop the cybersecurity profession. A Professional Standards & Ethics Committee and a Qualifications & Careers Committee will both play a pivotal role in the Council’s ongoing objectives. It has invited the 16 members of the Cyber Security Alliance—the group of organisations commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to set up the Council—to apply for a role in determining the terms of reference for each of the two new committees.

Goals of the UK Cyber Security Council

The UK Cyber Security Council is a self-regulatory body for UK cybersecurity education, training, and skills. Its establishment was commissioned in September 2019, and it officially became an independent entity in March this year. Membership is currently open for expressions of interest with an application process to commence shortly. The Council will welcome its first members from September.

The Council’s mandate from the UK government is to provide a focal point through which industry and the professional landscape can advise, shape, and inform national policy on cybersecurity professional standards. It aims to drive progress towards meeting the key challenges the profession faces and developing nationally recognised standards for cybersecurity qualifications and learning. Working alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Council also supports the UK government’s National Cyber Security Strategy.

Significance of cybersecurity standards

In an announcement, the Council stated that raising professional standards for cybersecurity is its most important immediate priority, hence the two new committees. “We don’t have the luxury of starting with something ‘easy’: professional standards and qualifications and careers are the two stand-out issues facing the profession, so we’re going to hit the ground running,” said Council interim chief executive Don MacIntyre. “There will never be a better opportunity for the profession to influence its own direction and development than joining the Council and getting involved with these first two committees.”

Although the terms of reference for both committees will be developed by representatives from the Cyber Security Alliance, the committees themselves will be populated by Council members. “While the Council is uniquely supported by the UK government and has a board of experienced industry professionals, it will be through its members that the UK Cyber Security Council will play a central role in driving the cybersecurity industry forwards,” MacIntyre added.

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