22/04/2014 13:05 BST | Updated 17/06/2014 06:59 BST

The UK Launches Its Computer Emergency Response Team

A couple of weeks ago the UK formally launched its national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK) marking the latest milestone in the UK's ongoing effort to bolster national cyber defences. CERT-UK will cultivate ever closer coordination with the private sector, academia and wider international partners to improve the UK's cyber resilience and cyber security.

The Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, the Minister in charge of co-ordinating UK cyber security, launched CERT-UK on 31 March alongside Chris Gibson its new Director. The presence at the launch of Steve Collins, Head of Investigation and Threat Management, from the National Grid (one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world), underlined the UK's commitment to working with industry on these issues. This is crucial because CERT-UK now assumes responsibility for national incident management and cyber incident handling for companies the UK considers a protection priority or part of its critical national infrastructure.

The UK was delighted to host at the launch Larry Zelvin, the Director of the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Centre (NCCIC). The NCCIC is CERT-UK's natural US counterpart based in the Department of Homeland Security. The UK welcomed Director Zelvin's US perspectives and the emphasis he firmly placed on the importance of close collaboration between the UK and US.

Coordination with international partners will enable detection and distribution of information about the emerging threats we face. This knowledge, alongside the best practice and advice we also share, will help us take effective action to mitigate the effects of cyber attacks. CERT-UK will also participate in exercises with governments and industry partners, and will collaborate with its counterparts around the globe. Developing these links with other foreign CERT teams will improve our collective abilities to manage incidents that cross national borders.

The UK's existing Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) has been integrated into CERT-UK. CISP is an opt-in trust network initiative, designed to facilitate and promote information-sharing and private sector collaboration. It was originally launched in March 2013 and has since grown rapidly. It now has over 1000 members and close to 400 businesses and organisations participating.

Alongside the other strands of the UK's national cyber strategy, CERT-UK will play an incredibly important role in ensuring that we have a firm, resilient foundation underpinning our economy, and to boost our national cyber security efforts.