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Progressing our work on Secure Connected Places: where we’ve gotten to and where we’re going

At the end of last year, DCMS published their National Cyber Strategy, which outlines the UK’s plan to build the country’s cyber resilience, capabilities and confidence. The strategy sets the Department for Digital Culture Media & Sport’s priority to take the lead in the technologies vital to cyber power. The secure deployment of Connected Places technologies is vital to achieving this aim.

At the most recent Spending Review, the government committed millions at the most recent Spending Review to strengthen national cyber security – including secure connected places. This means we can continue and expand our work on the security of connected places: encouraging safe and sustainable innovation across the UK and promoting best practice for developing connected places.

What have the DCMS Secure Connected Places team done since our last blog?
  • From conversations with buyers and operators of connected places technologies, we know finding relevant guidance is difficult. That’s why we’ve created a ‘one-stop shop’ guidance collection on GOV.UK to make existing resources more accessible and support buyers and operators of place-based technologies to implement best practice. We undertook detailed user testing with those in local authorities and other experts in the field of connected places to ensure the guidance collection had the most usefulness when it went live at the end of last year.
  • We have analysed the UK’s supplier market to give us a clearer picture of the technologies and sectors involved in creating secure connected places. The new analysis allows us to understand the most prominent sectors in which suppliers of connected places technologies operate and how far cyber security requirements are drivers in the market.
  • We have been making links internationally. DCMS officials took part in a conference on the Cyber Security of Connected Places held in Copenhagen, where we got insights into Danish thinking from government and local innovators. The UK was also represented at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, where we learnt about future trends and discussed the different approaches to connected places across the world with international representatives. In both cases, we promoted the UK’s NCSC Connected Places Principles as an example of how good security practice can support connected places.

All of these activities have fed into our growing evidence base, giving us the tools and knowledge we require to make informed decisions and plan our future work to unleash, safely and securely, the power of these transformational technologies in places across the UK.

What are we working on right now?
  • We are building our understanding of the levels of maturity of connected places in the UK. We will shortly be undertaking a UK-wide survey to find out the current approaches taken towards security and risk management by operators and buyers of connected places, and explore the data practices.
  • We are working to map the wide range of guidance and regulation that applies to connected places in the UK. Existing regulations are often seen to be complex by those implementing connected places technologies as their application often covers a number of different domain areas. Through this work we want to both identify whether there are any gaps that need to be addressed, and if there is more work to be done to provide clearer support to both suppliers and buyers.
  • We are also promoting the cybersecurity and resilience of connected places through our engagement with suppliers of connected places technologies, both internationally and domestically. This is part of our drive to promote the cooperation that will ultimately build consensus around the safe deployment of connected technologies around the world.