A CENTRE of excellence in Malvern's "cyber valley" has been officially launched at Europe’s biggest information security event in London. The National Cyber Skills Centre, based in Malvern Hills Science Park, has been set-up to deliver high-quality, assured training provision to businesses and organisations to protect them against cyber-attacks.

Representatives attended InfoSec at London’s Earl’s Court to launch the NCSC as the official sponsor of the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, a group of more than 50 small cyber security companies.

Co-funded by Worcestershire County Council, and supported by employer body e-skills UK, the NCSC’s extensive range of programmes have been written to meet regional and national needs in cyber security and are expected to attract companies of all sizes. The launch is seen as particularly good news for Worcestershire’s growing number of independent businesses, as there has been a sharp rise in the number of cyber-attacks made against small companies.

Centre manager Debbie Tunstall said: “The launch of the National Cyber Skills Centre is a huge breakthrough, not only for the cyber security industry, but also for Worcestershire as a whole. We are thrilled to be working with a range of training providers, both local and national, to ensure the best possible outcomes and meet the needs of businesses and organisations in their fight against cybercrime.”

Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcestershire County Council, added: “The National Cyber Skills Centre opening its doors in Worcestershire is a huge coup for the county.

“Working with training providers, both local and national, to offer the most comprehensive training means the NCSC will put Worcestershire on the map as a leader in cyber security provisions, which will surely boost the county’s economy, attracting new business and creating new jobs in the process.”

Howard Skidmore, technical lead for Cyber Security at e-skills UK, said: “The launch of the National Cyber Skills Centre is not only great news for Worcestershire; it has national importance because investment in cyber security skills is critical to the UK economy. Through e-skills UK, cyber security employers are working together to ensure that businesses and individuals can develop expertise in these vitally important skills. The NCSC is an exciting development towards this goal.”

Last year, 87 per cent of small businesses suffered an information security breach, costing them up to £65,000. In addition, a total of 63 per cent of small businesses were attacked by an authorised outsider, 15 per cent detected outsiders had successfully penetrated their network and 23 per cent were hit by denial of service attacks. A recent National Audit Office report found that the cyber security skills gap facing the UK is so severe it could take as long as 20 years to correct, costing the country £27 billion per year.

The NCSC is already working with specialist companies including Borwell Ltd., BDM, Templar Executives and 3SDL to provide its training and is currently recruiting more high quality training providers to support its activities. Businesses can now book for Templar Executives BCS-accredited Cyber Security Awareness Course on June 3.

For more information about the NCSC and the courses on offer, visit www.cyberskillscentre.com, follow it on Twitter @CyberSkillsUK, call 01684 585111 or email hello@cyberskillscentre.com.