A new professional body will be established next month to set professional standards and boost career opportunities in cyber security, the government has announced.

The United Kingdom (UK) Cyber Security Council, which will be formally launched as an independent body on 31 March, will be tasked with defining career and learning paths for the sector. It will also attempt to increase diversity and attract more talent to the industry.

 The body will work with training providers to accredit courses and qualifications and “give employers the information and confidence they need to recruit effectively to ensure their cyber capability”, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said.

 “The fact we are launching an independent professional body for cyber security shows just how vital this area has become – it makes a huge contribution to our thriving digital economy by safeguarding our critical national infrastructure, commerce and other online spaces” said Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister.

“The UK Cyber Security Council will ensure anyone interested in an exciting career tackling online threats has access to world-class training and guidance. It will also champion diversity and inclusion, driving up standards while helping the nation to build back better and safer.”

The Council will work with the National Cyber Security Centre to support the UK government’s £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Cyber Growth at NCSC, said: “We look forward to working with the Council to help ensure that future generations of cyber security professionals have the skills and support they need to thrive and make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

The launch of the council follows government-funded research last year showing that 48% of businesses in the UK lack basical skills in cyber security.

This was followed by a controversy over a DCMS-backed advertisement depicting a ballerina and urging people to move into cyber. The advertisement was withdrawn after criticism on social media that it denigated the arts.   

The DCMS also announced who will sit on the board of the council (see below), which will be chaired by Dr Claudia Natanson.

Who is on the UK Cyber Security Council’s board of trustees? 

  • Chair: Dr. Claudia Natanson - a Global Cyber Security expert who was previously CSO at DWP, MD at BT Secure Business Service and CISO at Diageo Plc
  • Vice-Chair: Jessica Figueras - Tech market strategist, Chair of NCT, previously Chief Analyst at GlobalData
  • Trustee: Carla Baker - Senior Director, Policy & Government Affairs UK & Ireland, Palo Alto Networks
  • Treasurer: Mike Watson - Chief Financial Officer, Marston Holdings, previously with Dell, HP and BAE Systems cyber security division