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Government strives to increase diversity in cyber security

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The third round of funding through the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) has been launched by Cyber Security Minister Nigel Adams.

The Fund aims to increase the number and diversity of people entering the cyber security profession, with training providers able to bid for up to £100,000 to work with employers and design training programmes which retrain a diverse range of individuals for a career in cyber security.

Alongside this Adams has also announced that after a competitive grant competition, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has been appointed the lead organisation in charge of designing and delivering the new UK Cyber Security Council, alongside a wider alliance of cyber security professional organisations.

The UK Cyber Security Council will aim to coordinate the existing professional landscape, to make cyber security a well structured and easy to navigate profession which represents, supports and drives excellence going forward.

Cyber Security Minister Nigel Adams said: “The UK is a world leader in tackling cyber attacks but we must make sure we continue to develop the talent we need to protect the public and business online.

“This latest round of funding demonstrates our commitment to make sure the UK’s cyber security industry has a skilled and diverse workforce and, through our new Cyber Security Council, there are clear paths for those wishing to join the profession.”

Simon Edwards, IET Director of Governance and External Engagement, said: “It’s fundamental that cyber security is seen as a nationally recognised and established profession with clear career pathways. The IET, alongside an alliance of professional cyber security organisations, will bring together the credibility and knowledge across a wide range of disciplines to further strengthen the UK’s leadership position in cyber security innovation and resilience on the global stage. With cyber skills shortages already emerging at every level, we are committed to working with the Government and the National Cyber Security Centre on delivering the rapid, yet capable development of specialist cyber skills to meet the growing needs of the industry, manage risk and secure the next generation of talent.”

Jacqueline de Rojas, President, techUK said: “As businesses become ever more reliant on digital tools, the need for a skilled and professional cyber workforce in the UK has increased. Yet the Government’s National Cyber Security Skills Strategy found that more than half of all businesses and charities in the UK have a basic cyber security skills gap.

“Increasing diversity in the sector is one way in which we can seek to plug the growing cyber skills gap, and that is why initiatives like the Immediate Impact Fund are so important. Coupled with the creation of a new Cyber Security Council that will create clearer pathways for people entering the sector, these announcements will go a long way to ensuring that we create and nurture our cyber professionals and continue making the UK the safest place to be online.”

The deadline for applications to the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) is the 27th September.

Twelve initiatives have already received support from CSIIF with more than 400 people benefitting from training opportunities.

Google, Microsoft back UK government on cyber security

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Major businesses including Google and Microsoft have pledged to help the UK tackle the most damaging cyber security threats.

Up to £117 million of private industry investment will be combined with £70 million of government funding through the modern Industrial Strategy to develop new technologies.

These will range from a new and secure hardware prototype that can cope with cyber-attacks, to software protected from new vulnerabilities appearing online.

The government says that with cyber threats constantly evolving, the best defence in the future is seen as developing innovative solutions that can work independently and protect against threats even during attacks. It also wants to ensure that every UK organisation is as cyber secure and resilient as possible.

Nearly all UK businesses are reliant on digital technology and online services, yet more than 30% have experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months, according to the government’s own data.

For example, hackable home wifi routers can be used by attackers in botnets to attack major services and businesses.

The government says businesses are having to spend increasing amounts on cyber security, up to 20 to 40% of their IT spend in some cases. And as more and more systems are connected, whether in the home or businesses, there is a need for security that is secure by design.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Digital devices and online services are powering more of our daily lives than ever before, from booking a doctors’ appointment to buying online shopping. While these devices and services bring great benefits to businesses and consumers, they come with the associated risks of cyber-attacks and threats that are becoming increasingly complex to tackle.

“As we move to a more data-driven economy, nearly all UK businesses and organisations are reliant on these digital technologies and online services – but the threat of cyber-attacks is ever-present, with more than 30% of businesses having experienced a cyber-security breach or attack in the last 12 months.

“With government and industry investing together as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we will ensure that the UK is well placed to capitalise on our status as one of the world leaders in cyber security by ‘designing in’ innovative measures into our technology that protect us from cyber threats. This will also help us bring down the growing cybersecurity costs to businesses.”

This expected joint investment will create projects to develop new solutions to cyber security over the next 5 years, with the aim of applying the findings in real-world markets through dedicated demo-projects led by business.

For example, these demo projects could include testing the new technology in the health sector to ensure a higher level of protection for patient data, or in consumer markets to ensure consumers’ personal data is fully protected as far as possible.

Dr Ian Levy, National Cyber Security Centre’s Technical Director said: “The National Cyber Security Centre is committed to improving security from the ground up, and we have been working closely with government to promote adoption of technology and practices to protect the UK.

“We hope this additional investment will drive fundamental changes to products we use every day. This is vital work, because improving hardware can eradicate a wide range of vulnerabilities that cause significant harm.”

Developing innovative solutions to cyber security will help put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution, in support of the government’s AI and Data Grand Challenge.

Details on the upcoming rounds of funding for this Digital Security by Design challenge, which will likely bring together academics, research institutions, start-ups, SMEs and large businesses, will be announced later this year.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

£33m available for quantum security projects

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The government has invited businesses to apply for a share of up to £33 million to work with others on developing new products and services that exploit quantum technologies.

The second generation of technologies based on new quantum effects promises to deliver more secure digital communication, improved construction and radical increases in computing power.

This, the government says, could transform many business sectors including automotive, healthcare, infrastructure, telecommunications, cybersecurity and defence.

As such, there is up to £33 million available from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to invest in projects that aim to speed up commercialisation of these quantum technologies.

Projects must aim to speed up commercialisation of second-generation quantum technologies and should address at least one of the following areas:

  • connectivity and techniques for securing data in storage and in flight
  • situational awareness including autonomous systems; sensors and detectors for the built environment, transport and infrastructure; imaging and sensing of things currently invisible
  • transformational computing to solve currently unmanageable problems

The competition has 2 strands:

The competition opens on 5 August 2019, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 30 October 2019.

£153 million to help commercialise quantum technology

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The Government has pledged £153 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund funding, alongside £205 million from industry, to support commercialisation of quantum technologies.

The funding helping to support businesses delivering quantum-enabled products and help remove technological barriers to productivity and competitiveness in the UK. 

The Government funding will also be supported by £205 million from industry.

Quantum technologies have the potential to revolutionise a range of industries – from cyber security to defence and healthcare – however to maximise the industry’s potential within the UK it needs continual Government support.

The new programme will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation, lifting total UK investment or planned investment in the National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP) to over £1 billion.

Four key areas will be approached by the challenge:

  • product and service innovations: a series of collaborative research and development competitions to deliver game-changing quantum-enabled products and services
  • industry-led technology development projects: a programme of industry-managed research activities addressing specific challenges
  • supply chain: feasibility projects focused on innovative components and supply chain elements across the quantum sector
  • investment accelerator: encouraging venture capital for early-stage, spin-out and start-up quantum technologies companies

“The UK is a world leader in quantum technologies,” said Professor Sir Mark Walport, UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive. “The funding announced today builds on the great progress we have made and lays the foundations for a quantum technology industry here in the UK.

“It will ensure that we remain at the forefront of this exciting and evolving field and that we realise its potential, from improved healthcare to more accurate and reliable navigation, that is fundamental to so many services.”

Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for Quantum Technologies at UK Research and Innovation, said: “Quantum technologies will transform all aspects of our lives from more efficient infrastructure to higher levels of security in the transmission and storage of data.

“The announcement of this significant public funding for the industrialisation of quantum technologies exemplifies the benefits of the Industrial Strategy, both in terms of improved coordination across government departments and also the creation of long-term partnerships between government, academia and businesses. 

“Five years of investment in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme has given the UK a technological lead which businesses are now ready to turn in to a significant commercial advantage.”

Image by Garik Barseghyan from Pixabay

Exabeam raises $50m, aims to disrupt SIEM market

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The company says demand for solution in the security information and event management (SIEM) market is expected to hit $4.54 billion in 2019 citing data from MarketsandMarkets.

Historically, the sector is dominated by a handful of providers, but in recent years has shifted to platforms that can support the massive data volumes generated by cloud applications and mobile device use.

Exabeam says it posted 250 per cent market growth in 2017, coming off 300 percent growth in 2016, and says it’s on track to double its market size in 2018. The firm’s core product is the Security Intelligence Platform (SIP); it was named the 2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for its SIEM software, and recently won an SC Awards Europe 2018 for Best SIEM.

The platform uses a flat, predictable pricing model, which Exabeam says allows organisations to store all of their logs, unlike the “by-the-byte” pricing model that forces budget-conscious customers to limit the amount of data covered by the SIEM, creating blind spots that sacrifice the security of the entire organization.

“As a longtime investor in the cybersecurity space, I’ve always been excited about Exabeam’s approach and potential to deliver the next generation of security tech,” said Theresia Gouw, co-founder of Aspect Ventures, and a leading investor in cybersecurity. “It’s clear from the large increase in replacement wins with customers like ADP, Hulu, Safeway, Union Bank that Exabeam is consistently delivering industry-leading technology to the most demanding enterprises and government organizations in the world.”

“Our investors have an amazing track record of investing in companies that truly are disruptive and typically become category leaders,” said Exabeam CEO Nir Polak. “Their experience with high-growth companies like MuleSoft, Nutanix, Zscaler, ForeScout – is invaluable to us in the advice and guidance they pass along to our executive team. The new funding will allow us to invest heavily in our new cloud solutions and reach even more enterprises around the world. We are on track to overtake Splunk and be the next SIEM market leader.”

Funding

SecurityScorecard raises $27.5 million, pledges new solutions

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SecurityScorecard has raised $27.5 million in Series C funding, led by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) with participation from Moody’s Corporation, AXA Strategic Ventures, and Intel Capital.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures (GV), Boldstart Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and Evolution Equity Partners also participated.

Funds from this investment round will be used to bring new solutions to the market and to expand on SecurityScorecard’s position as the security ratings leader.

The SecurityScorecard platform provides CISOs, security practitioners, risk management professionals, and boards of directors with a comprehensive outside-in view of the security posture of their entire ecosystem, including their own IT infrastructure as well as their third and fourth-party vendors.

The platform continuously monitors the security posture of more than 200,000 enterprises and government agencies across the globe and evaluates them based on hundreds of indicators of compromise. It then assigns an A to F rating and provides security professionals with actionable intelligence that enables them to remediate security vulnerabilities. SecurityScorecard research has shown that companies with a “D” or “F” rating are 5.4 times more likely to be breached than companies with an “A” or “B” rating.

“As the world becomes increasingly reliant on the cloud, third-party service providers, and highly distributed infrastructure, enterprises have less visibility and control over mission-critical services as well as their proprietary and customer data,” said Upal Basu, Partner at NGP.

Basu, who will be joining the company’s board of directors, further explained: “The SecurityScorecard platform is uniquely positioned to help enterprises gain visibility and control across their IT ecosystem. We are excited to be a part of the SecurityScorecard team and we look forward to helping the company continue its rapid growth.”

 

Attivo Networks

Attivo Networks raises $21m Series C round

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Attivo Networks has raised $21 million in Series C venture capital funding, which was led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity with participation from existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and Omidyar Technology Ventures.

The round of funding follows a $15 million Series B financing in May, representing $36 million raised in the last five months and a collective total of $45.7 million overall.

This new funding will be used to support further development of the Attivo ThreatDefend Deception and Response Platform to address the evolving landscape of threats and attack surfaces and to add counterintelligence functionality.

The company will also use the funds to expand global sales initiatives.

Attivo Networks announced that Alberto Yépez, a managing director of Trident Capital Cybersecurity and a pioneer of the cybersecurity industry, will join its board. Yépez has played significant roles as an entrepreneurial and public company CEO, board member, large company senior executive, serial entrepreneur, and an angel and venture capital investor.

“Attivo is the clear leader in the emerging space of deception solutions that improves real-time breach detection,” Yépez said. “Deception puts attackers on the defensive making them work harder and increasing their costs. High accuracy addresses the issue of too many alarms being reported by existing solutions and incident response is improved with the capture of specific techniques and tools being used by the attacker. This is the primary reason why companies are working closely with the Attivo team to help detect and more effectively respond to sophisticated cyber attacks. Customers are pleased with Attivo’s ability to close detection gaps and easily integrate with their existing cybersecurity investment increasing their overall efficacy.”

The Series C funding comes at an opportune time for Attivo Networks to expand amid the escalating demand for deception technology across the financial, healthcare, technology, retail, energy, and government sectors.

Further adoption of the cloud with shared security models and a heightened need for specialised device protection of industrial control, Internet of Things, and point-of-sale systems has also fueled company growth.

The company has seen revenues increase 300 per cent year-on-year, accumulated an impressive list of Fortune 50 customers, and is engaged with over 350 companies in evaluation and trials of its deception and response technology.