New cybersecurity group formed to boost Scotland’s resilience to online threats

A new partnership group involving ten ‘strategic’ organisations in Scotland was launched today to tackle the rising tide of cybercrime.

CyberScotland Partnership has been established to provide greater ‘clarity’ to individuals and businesses across the country looking for correct and up-to-date guidance about latest cybersecurity best practice.

The group was unveiled during CyberScotland Week and shortly after a new Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland was published by The Scottish Government, which declared the “time has passed when individual organisations can regard themselves as medieval castles each defending themselves”.

“We now are all part of an increasingly interconnected digital ecosystem, requiring us to improve our collective threat intelligence, security operations and incident response capabilities,” the document said.

The 10 participating organisations in the CyberScotland Partnership are: Scottish Government, Cyber Resilience Unit; Police Scotland; Scottish Business Resilience Centre; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Scottish Enterprise; ScotlandIS; Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; Young Scot; Skills Development Scotland; and Education Scotland.

In addition, the UK National Cyber Security Centre joins the partnership as a technical advisor. The partnership will work to ensure individuals and organisations throughout Scotland can easily access correct and up-to-date guidance on cyber security and resilience.

The collaboration’s first move is to launch CyberScotland.com which is now live. The website is a single online resource for individuals and organisations across the public, private, and third sectors seeking information and support across a range of cyber security and resilience issues. It also has information on skills development for anyone seeking to start a career in cybersecurity.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance said: “The new Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland launched by the Deputy First Minister earlier this week, outlines Scotland’s intention to be a digitally secure and resilient nation. The CyberScotland Partnership will help drive forward this ambition. As well as providing advice and guidance, improved coordination of skills opportunities, the Partnership will help to promote Scotland’s flourishing cyber security products and service industry. Greater awareness of the cyber risks leads to greater demand for solutions and our cyber security industry can produce innovative solutions and offer high quality employment.

“The organisations involved in this partnership play leading roles in effectively delivering the new Strategic Framework.  A formal collaboration will further increase our effectiveness and reduce duplication of effort. The Partnership will further reinforce Scotland as a global leader in the battle against cybercrime and a champion for ensuring a secure online environment for all.”

Jude McCorry, CEO of the SBRC, said: “The events of 2020 drove home the importance of remaining focused on cyber security.  The reliance on technology for work and socialising grew alongside a corresponding rise in cyberattacks. The SBRC has discussed the formation of a collaboration between the organisations involved in the CyberScotland Partnership for some time, as we have seen some confusion from the public about where to get the support they need. Together, we can improve awareness and share knowledge of cyber security threats around Scotland. The CyberScotland.com website is a seamless solution to ensure everyone can access the right information from the right source.”

David Ferbrache, in his foreword to the new strategy, said: “Our approach must be founded in a partnership which brings the public and private sectors together to help raise cyber resilience awareness, skills, standards and our collective ability to respond to a major cyber incident. In the midst of Covid-19 we saw cybercrime change to exploit the fear, uncertainty and doubt created by the pandemic for profit. We also saw people working together across Scotland to help deal with that threat. That community spirit is something we want to build on through the creation of the CyberScotland Partnership to collaborate on cybersecurity awareness campaigns and practical advice on how to counter cybercrime.”

He added: “Looking forward, we must embed cyber resilience into the design of Scotland’s future digital services, becoming a core element of the Digital Scotland strategy, as we ensure that the digital services we build for the future are trustworthy and resilient. Recent cyber security incidents have demonstrated the need to be able to orchestrate a national response which can quickly mobilise the support which organisations need to detect, respond and recover from a major cyber attack. The time has passed when individual organisations can regard themselves as medieval castles each defending themselves. We now are all part of an increasingly interconnected digital ecosystem, requiring us to improve our collective threat intelligence, security operations and incident response capabilities.”