The Department for International Trade (DIT) has identified five key export markets for the British cybersecurity sector as it launches a new export strategy.
According to the department, the anglophone US and Singapore offer the UK access to large markets, as do the Gulf, India, and Japan – where security and defence cooperation offer large opportunities.
British companies are to be supported in exporting to the government and financial sectors abroad through cyber industry representatives which are likely to be connected with the department’s new trade commissioners.
According to the strategy, the UK can deliver both commercial and national security objectives by focusing on:
:: “Defending our people, businesses and assets across the public and private sectors”;
:: “Deterring and disrupting our adversaries – states, criminals and hacktivists”;
:: “Developing critical capabilities to build skills, support growth and stimulate science and technology”.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox referenced the recent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and the regularity of Russian-connected cyber attacks as he announced the strategy.
“Recent events show that the UK faces a diverse range of threats from hostile state actors,” he said.
“So in an increasingly digital world, it’s vital that we improve our cyber-capabilities, which are crucial for national security and prosperity.
“The strategy I am publishing today will support UK companies to export our world-leading cyber-security expertise, which will help strengthen our capabilities, and protect our country and our allies from those who wish us harm.”
Sky sources said the department wanted to encourage a domestic start-up scene to rival Israel’s cybersecurity environment, which is bolstered by former personnel from the Israel Defence Force’s Unit 8200, its signal intelligence corp.
At the moment, there are around 800 cybersecurity companies in the UK – many of which are small firms, according to the DIT – which worked with the National Cyber Security Centre on the strategy.
These will be supported by being introduced to potential customers, by having access to market insights, and by having access to UK Export Finance (UKEF).
UKEF will “work to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer”, according to the department.
The report states that global spend on cybersecurity products is expected to exceed £759bn cumulatively from 2017 to 2021.
At the moment, forecasts for British cybersecurity exports are expected to rise to £2.6bn by 2021.
The strategy aims to drive this increase in exports and has been welcomed by the private sector, with sources telling Sky News they had been consulted and involved in its development through a number of DIT workshops.
UK plc has taken part in a number of inbound and outbound trade missions organised by the DIT, and has made use of their envoys and embassy contacts to reach out to new clients.
In a statement, Ollie Whitehouse, the chief technical officer at NCC Group said: “After engaging closely with government we are delighted to see the Cyber Export Strategy come to fruition.
“While the success of UK cyber security businesses will help our economy domestically, it is also a significant export opportunity and at the same time can support international collaboration and capability building against an ever-changing threat landscape.”