London, UK – In a recent analysis of government procurement records, Acumin, the leading cybersecurity recruitment agency, has discovered a remarkable increase in the number of cyber-related contracts awarded by public bodies since the start of the pandemic.
According to data obtained from the government’s Contracts Finder online database, the year 2019 witnessed 118 commercial engagements with the term ‘cyber’ mentioned in the contract title or service description. This marked an increase of 30 contracts compared to the previous year and nearly double the number recorded in 2017, which stood at 62.
The trend continued to surge in 2020, despite the onset of the coronavirus crisis, with 167 cyber-related agreements signed. The numbers accelerated further in both 2021 and 2022, reaching 253 and 248 contracts, respectively. This represents more than double the pre-pandemic figures.
PublicTechnology, the leading technology news platform, highlights this rise in cyber contracts as it approaches its annual Cyber Security Conference, set to take place on 4 July in London. The conference offers attendees exclusive insights from senior security leaders representing esteemed organisations such as the Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office, the National Crime Agency, and Transport for Greater Manchester.
Notable contracts signed in 2022 include several agreements by the Ministry of Defence, encompassing cyber awareness, behavior, and culture across the defense sector. These contracts, valued at approximately £1.5 million each, aim to enhance cyber hygiene and increase awareness among defense and military personnel.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Social Care secured a six-figure deal to access “cyber threat intelligence” crucial to safeguarding the rollout of the UK’s coronavirus vaccine.
The demand for security skills has demonstrated its ever-growing nature, prompting the Cabinet Office to establish partnerships with commercial providers to offer “surge capacity” support to its internal cyber team.
Furthermore, the Cabinet Office houses the Government Security Red Team, responsible for testing departmental defenses through exercises like penetration testing, thereby mimicking potential threats.
Incident response support remains a priority, as evident from the number of public bodies that have engaged firms for this purpose. Preparatory deals have been struck by various entities, including the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, Information Commissioner’s Office, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and local authorities in areas such as Sunderland, Doncaster, and Essex.
BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) played a significant role in early 2022 by becoming one of the first departments to undergo independent cyber-resilience audits, known as GovAssure. This initiative, introduced in the Government Cyber Security Strategy and launched in April, mandates annual external assessments of cyber posture for all Whitehall departments and selected arm’s-length bodies.
The heightened need for robust cybersecurity measures continues to drive public bodies to seek specialised support, reinforcing the importance of ongoing vigilance and strategic partnerships within the industry.
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