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Industry applauds new Oxford Cyber Security Centre

As the UK takes further steps towards shoring up its cyber defences, the IT security industry has come out in support of the latest government initiative to establish a new global cyber security centre at Oxford University.

Unveiled yesterday, the Global Centre for Cyber Security and Capacity Building will bring countries together to develop strategies for dealing with online attacks, and Whitehall has pumped in £1 million to fund the centre for the next two years. Foreign Secretary William Hague says the Oxford base will act as "a beacon of expertise".

The centre arrives less than a month after the government announced the Cyber Security Information Partnership, which encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors in analysing and combating emerging cyber threats.

With more concrete action evident than ever before in the fight against cybercrime, the Internet security sector has voiced its approval of the new scheme. “We commend the g overnment on this initiative and highlighting the importance of planning rather than reacting to cybercrime,” said Etienne Greeff, Managing Director of SecureData.

“The latest announcement…highlights the importance for businesses to consider security now as a strategic boardroom issue and not something that can simply be palmed off to the IT department. Many people and businesses still don’t seem to be aware of the real risks from cybercrime and the huge impact a security breach can have. The financial and operational impact can be huge,” he continued.

Emphasising the importance of collaboration in security, Greeff stated, “A risk management approach is key to ensuring that a company is protected and if the business cannot do that internally, they must look to trusted, outsourced support.”

Another security initiative launched by the government this year came in the form of a cybercrime education programme aimed at all age groups and IT abilities, and cyber security expert Andrew Martin, who will be working at the new Oxford centre, told the BBC that improving understanding across the board is crucial.

“We don’t need to panic, but certainly we need to find ways to make our engineering better, to make our understanding of how to build systems better - and to educate both the general public and also the very technical people who run these utilities in how to improve the security of what they do on a day to day basis.”