New tech system will collate data so as to be ‘easily digestible for decision makers’, allowing ministers and senior officials to track progress against nationwide security aims and act accordingly
The Cabinet Office has signed a six-figure deal to support the creation of “cyber performance dashboard” to allow senior leaders to track the UK’s progress against its national cybersecurity objectives.
The department first published a National Cyber Strategy a little over two years ago. A progress report published in August 2023 set out that, as part of a wider framework to measure the success of delivering the strategy’s objectives, government would create “a cross-strategy performance dashboard to succinctly visualise evidence for senior audiences and a dashboard for each pillar to enable evidence-based decisions”.
The five pillars around which the plans and programmes of the strategy are grouped are: strengthening the UK cyber ecosystem; building a resilient and prosperous digital UK; taking the lead in the technologies vital to cyber power; advancing UK global leadership and influence; detecting, disrupting and deterring our adversaries.
Each of these pillars houses several objectives, including targets to grow the UK’s cyber profession and sector, strengthening the resilience to attack of national systems and infrastructure, forging and bolstering partnerships with ally nations, helping to implement global security standards, and taking down criminal or other malicious cyberattackers.
The dashboard providing data on the progress of work towards achieving these ambitions is envisioned as a “user-friendly and succinct 10-page digital format that is… easily digestible for decision makers”.
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On 22 December 2023, the Cabinet Office entered into a two-year deal with digital consultancy. Over the course of the contract, which is valued at £144,000, the firm will support the department with the development and operation of the national cyber dashboard.
The platform will consist of six discrete dashboards: one for each of the individual pillars, and another summarising performance across the breadth of the strategy.
According to commercial documents, Advania will be expected to “explore ways to further automate the reporting and dashboard development process”, to support the ultimate aim of providing “a more automated reporting and dashboard process that is more resilient and easier to sustain in the long-term”.
The supplier will be to help “upskill” Cabinet Office teams dedicated to the implementation of the National Cyber Strategy, “so that they can better use the dashboard and data visualisations to support evidence-based decisions at the pillar level, and for cross-HMG cyber director meetings”.
To ensure the stability of the platform, the contract requires Advania to offer “long-term technical backstopping support to update the dashboard every six months… [for] a more resilient performance dashboard that is easier to update and maintain in the long term”.
In his foreword to the August progress update, deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden claimed that tangible progress has been made since the strategy was first published in the closing days of 2021.
“We are proud of the UK’s leadership in cyber since the inception of strategy, and our core aims remain the same: to protect and promote the UK’s interests in and through cyberspace, and to realise the opportunities of digital technology for our economy and our citizens,” he wrote.. We will continue working with partners to shape a cyberspace that reflects our democratic values, and to use our world-class cyber capabilities to influence the behaviour of adversaries. We are prioritising work across the national security community and drawing on external expertise to understand how nation states, criminals and other groups might use AI technology to conduct cyberattacks against the UK. We are also looking in parallel at the opportunities AI can offer to strengthen our cyber resilience.”