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NCSC Backs New Group to Help Boards’ Cyber Risk Efforts

A group of academics, government experts, charities and others has come together to help UK boards better assess cyber risk.

The Cyber Readiness for Boards initiative is being funded by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and charity the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, but will also benefit from input from University College London (UCL), the University of ReadingCoventry University, the Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS), and training provider RESILIA.

It will look at the factors that shape board approaches to cyber risk and provide guidance to help them do so more effectively in the future.

The project will work first with six multinationals who are at an elevated risk of attack, before expanding to cover more firms including both large enterprises and SMBs early next year.

It will specifically focus on investigating four areas: board-level training; how boards evaluate cyber risk; the significance of board accountability, responsibility and composition; and the impact of investor pressure on decision-making.

According to government figures from last year, 43% of UK businesses had experienced a security breach or cyber-attack in the previous 12 months.

“We believe that cybersecurity is now a mainstream business risk. So corporate leaders need to understand what threats are out there, and what the most effective ways are of managing the risks,” argued NCSC deputy director, Sarah Lyons.

"We have taken an evidence-based approach to developing our own board toolkit, and welcome new research into how UK boards make decisions around cyber risk. This research will help us refine and develop targeted guidance for business leaders, helping to make the UK the safest place to live and work online."

The new initiative was broadly welcomed by industry experts.

“Never before has there been such an urgent need for boards and executive teams to be ready for cyber-attacks,” said Osborne Clarke partner, Ashley Hurst. “The NCSC has a bird’s eye view on the most serious attacks taking place across the country and so it’s great to see it feeding back this knowledge and experience.”

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