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UK Government Announces Cyber Security Ambassador

The UK government has announced the appointment of a new cybersecurity ambassador to promote the nation’s expertise in the sector to potential export markets.

Henry Pearson joins the Department for International Trade (DIT) from previous stints as adviser for GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the Ministry of Defence, and BAE Applied Intelligence’s Detica.

He’ll be tasked with working closely with UK cybersecurity businesses looking to sign overseas deals with governments and central banks. According to the DIT, his work will mainly be focused on the Gulf and south-east Asia.

“The UK’s reputation for cyber expertise is recognized worldwide and my department is committed to ensuring the UK fulfils its global potential, with cyber exports projected to be worth £2.6bn by 2021,” said international trade secretary Liam Fox, in a statement.

“Henry’s appointment will be instrumental in ensuring our world leading firms are able to compete on the global stage and our cutting-edge technology is the first port of call for overseas government’s looking to secure their critical national infrastructure.”

Pearson joins DIT as it faces an uphill task trying to engage meaningfully with foreign markets to soften the imminent blow of leaving the world’s largest trading bloc.

His boss, Liam Fox, has been widely pilloried in the press after promising to have 40 free trade deals ready to sign “immediately” after Britain leaves the EU, scheduled for later this year.

In fact, as of February he had secured just seven of the 69 countries the UK currently has preferential access to as part of the EU, covering only £16bn of a total £117bn in trade.

According to the latest government figures, over 840 firms provide cybersecurity services in the UK, generating £5.7bn in total revenue in 2015/16. Over the previous five years (2012-17) the number of new firms operating in the sector grew over 50%.

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