UK government launches cyber security export strategy - focus on US, Japan, India

Profile picture for user ddpreez By Derek du Preez March 25, 2018
The Department for International Trade predicts that exports for the UK’s cyber security market could reach £2.6 billion by 2021.

cyber security
With the prospect of Brexit looming, the UK government is having to think about its areas of expertise and what industries it can capitalise on as potential growth export markets in the future, after we leave the EU in March 2019.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is placing the UK’s cyber security market at the centre of this export opportunity, with the launch of a new strategy today, which identifies the US, Japan, India, the Gulf, and Singapore as potential markets to tap into.

Upon launching the strategy, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said that it will help the UK’s 800 cyber security companies to win contracts that provide security for high profile international buyers and protect networks across the world.

This new cyber security export strategy supports the ongoing work of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy, which provided £1.9 billion of investment in cyber security. Dr Fox said:

Recent events show that the UK faces a diverse range of threats from hostile state actors. 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.

Global spend on cyber security products is expected to exceed £759 billion cumulatively from 2017 to 2021. Furthermore, UK cyber exports overall totalled £1.5bn in 2016, but this is expected to exceed £2.6 billion by 2021.

The launch is backed by ADS, the UK trade association for the security sector, who say the export strategy is an important step to help the UK’s world-leading cyber security companies reach new markets and continue to grow.

ADS Chief Executive, Paul Everitt, said:

Public and private organisations in the UK and around the world are facing rapidly evolving cyber security threats. In the UK we have a diverse range of companies able to provide world-leading expertise and innovation to combat these threats.

The UK’s cyber security exports are already worth £1.5bn a year and we expect this area of activity to continue offering the strongest export growth in the security sector in the years ahead.

This new strategy announced today can help the sector continue to grow, make a greater contribution to national prosperity, and protect the UK and our allies from threats in cyberspace.

What does the strategy say?

The new strategy states that the DIT will make use of its offices all over the world, working in close partnership with other parts of government, trade and commercial experts, academia, industry and industry leading bodies, such as the City of London Corporation.

It adds that in priority markets, DIT will act as a “trusted advisor” to support UK companies bidding for major opportunities, primarily selling to overseas governments and Critical National Infrastructure providers.

As noted above, the strategy highlights a number of countries that it sees as potential export markets:

  • The USA - “a key political, security, and trade partner with extensive expertise”
  • The Gulf - “focus on government, national infrastructure and financial sectors, particularly central banks”
  • Japan - “work with government to build cyber security capability, particularly in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup and Tokyo Olympics”
  • India - “a growing market with potentially large opportunities”
  • Singapore - “a cyber security hub for South East Asia, with a focus on financial services”

The document notes that “DIT will curate bespoke offers for the top buyers in these sectors worldwide, running trade missions and pitching UK companies to address identified capability gaps”.

It argues that the UK ecosystem combines technical expertise and a world-leading research base with a history of cyber security excellence and leadership on developing global standards - making it an industry ripe for export opportunities.

To showcase the best of UK cyber security, updated branding and marketing will be developed and deployed around the globe alongside new cyber content on The strategy states:

Cyber security is beginning to be considered at board level, but procurement still tends to be led by technical specialists in line with company specific issues and threats. This means that broad awareness raising and brand building is unlikely to generate sufficient demand.

Focused activity is key to successfully increasing UK cyber security exports. DIT’s new approach targets the needs of buyers based on high-value insight to deliver a tailored experience, supported by the relevant parts of the UK Government. This curated approach will see large, high-profile buyers with significant budgets targeted with a bespoke UK cyber security offer.

Reputation matters. The UK brand is strong globally. UK firms are trusted and reliable, but buyers need guidance about what products and services to buy from them.

It adds that DIT offices worldwide will introduce UK cyber security companies to buyers. UK SMEs, it goes on to state, in particular will be connected to established market channels and potential partners, including large UK companies and local businesses in market.

The DIT notes that many SMEs lack experience pitching to buyers, and as a result, it will play a sales coach role helping SMEs prepare for detailed commercial and technical questions asked at pitches.