Out-Law News 1 min. read

New guide aims to help UK cyber security firms assess export risks

A new UK government-backed guide has been launched to help British cyber security firms identify and manage the risks of exporting their products and services and “reduce the likelihood of reputation damage”.

The guide, ‘Assessing Cyber Security Export Risks’ (36-page / 544 KB PDF), was published on 26 November by technology sector representative body techUK, in association with the Institute of Human Rights and Business.

The guide, which was published on behalf of the UK’s Cyber Growth Partnership, which is a taskforce representing government, industry and academia in helping UK cyber security companies increase their access to overseas and domestic markets, will also help reduce the risk of technology sold by British companies being misused, such as to perpetrate human rights abuses, techUK said.

According to techUK, the publication “is the first tech sector guidance of its kind in the world”. “It gives detailed background information and a framework to help companies develop their due diligence processes, manage human rights risks and identify national security risks.”

The head of cyber, justice and emergency services for techUK Ruth Davis said: “Cyber security technologies are crucial for us to enjoy the benefits brought by the internet but some also have the potential to be misused. We need to prevent them falling into the wrong hands, leading to human rights abuses or the undermining of UK national security. Businesses have a responsibility to protect human rights and uphold national security. The Cyber Growth Partnership has produced this guidance to help UK companies fulfil this responsibility as they work for growth overseas.”

Davis said: “The advice in this document is designed to help companies reduce reputational risk and to have confidence in the deals they make.”

The guide sets out a risk assessment process that helps firms review the “capabilities of the product or service they want to export and how it could be used by purchasers”. The guide also examines political and legal frameworks of potential export markets and offers advice on evaluating potential business partners and re-sellers.

UK minister for culture and digital industries Ed Vaizey, who co-chairs the Cyber Growth Partnership with the chief executive officer of UK-based telecoms firm BT, Gavin Patterson, said the guide is a “valuable and accessible tool which will help British companies respond with confidence to opportunities in the global cyber security market”.

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