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NCSC Partners with Microsoft to Support Cyber Accelerator Program

The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is partnering with Microsoft to support its Cyber Accelerator program.

The accelerator supports the growth of startup cyber-companies who aim to bring new better, faster and cheaper security products to market, and find and develop startups that can make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

The seventh program in the accelerator series will run from January to March 2021, and NCSC will work with Microsoft to encourage more startups to apply and offer more expertise and knowledge to participants. Applications can be made here with assessment days scheduled for November 19 2020, and December 3 2020.

Participating startups are chosen through open competition using technical challenges provided by the NCSC. These challenges identify areas of cybersecurity weakness where new products are needed.

During the program, startups receive commercial growth opportunities and unique access to NCSC’s and GCHQ’s world-class expertise to help develop their products. The program is a collaboration between the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the NCSC and Wayra (part of Telefonica).

Microsoft will provide access to its own accelerator alumni network and subject matter experts across cybersecurity and cloud, as well as give eligible startups access to powerful technology such as the Azure cloud platform and GitHub Enterprise. The collaboration will also give businesses a streamlined path to selling alongside Microsoft and its global partner ecosystem. The seventh cohort will focus on smart cities and the cyber-risks associated with:

  • Data insights – solutions that enable safe use of data at scale and are operationally viable in a smart city
  • Situational awareness – tools capable of identifying non-traditional devices such as IoT from a range of different vendors, all with their own cybersecurity risk profile
  • Interfacing to critical national infrastructure (CNI) – solutions to help shape NCSC guidance across this emerging landscape of smart technologies interfacing with the CNI
  • Manufacturing and robotics – given the mobile nature of robotic systems in uncontrolled and semi-controlled environments, NCSC is looking for innovative ways to scale or adapt existing mitigations that provide assurance of correct robot operation to avoid harm, accident or malicious performance degradation

Amali de Alwis, managing director at Microsoft for Startups UK, said: “We’re excited to be working with the NCSC to support the fantastic UK-based companies developing innovative technology solutions to help us build better smart cities.”

Chris Ensor, deputy director for Cyber Skills and Growth at the NCSC, said: “We’re grateful to Microsoft for their involvement with the Cyber Accelerator programme and helping us nurture the most innovative cyber security talent.

“I would encourage all cybersecurity companies in the UK to take a look at the Cyber Accelerator programme and consider applying. Successful applicants will receive support from our world-class experts, setting them on their way to delivering the most cutting-edge security solutions of the future.”

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