Restrictions on publicising supply of cyber security solutions to UK government to be lifted

Out-Law News | 16 Sep 2014 | 12:51 pm | 2 min. read

Businesses that supply cyber security products and services to the UK government will be able to publicise that fact more readily under plans to help those businesses expand internationally.

The 'cyber security supplier to government scheme' (7-page / 167KB PDF), backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), aims to loosen restrictions that have been in place to prevent cyber security suppliers from advertising the fact they work with the UK government.

"At industry’s request the government has developed a ‘light touch’ scheme that enables UK cyber security suppliers to government to be able to reference this fact publicly, for example when pursuing business overseas," the government said in a document explaining the new scheme. "This has not been possible in some circumstances: for example some confidentiality clauses contained in government contracts do not always allow this."

"The scheme will enable companies to: advertise the fact that they supply a cyber security product or service to the UK government; use the government’s logo in marketing material; [and] appear (if they wish) on a public list of cyber suppliers to government on [the government's] .gov website," it said.

Businesses will be able to apply to BIS for permission to publicise their supply of cyber security solutions to the UK government. Central government departments will be able to refuse their permission.

"Applicant companies will not be considered to have breached government contractual confidentiality clauses by submitting an application to BIS," it said. "It is possible, though, that under certain circumstances disclosure will not be permitted."

BIS said that suppliers that are successful with their applications "will not be able to state publicly which department they supply or the product/service supplied". Businesses that win permission to publicise their supply to government will also be prohibited from making any claims of receiving endorsement from the government, it said.

In a separate announcement, BIS said that Andy Williams of the technology industry trade association techUK has been appointed as the UK's "cyber security small business champion". Williams "will be responsible for mapping cyber security small businesses, and will set up a UK wide growth project to encourage them to work closer together", BIS said.

"His role will also involve working to showcase the capability of small and medium sized cyber businesses at UK and international events, delivering business advice and establishing an online portal to share information about national initiatives with the cyber business community," BIS said.

The announcements came as a summit on cyber security innovation was being held in London. BIS said the focus of the summit was on developing "international public-private partnerships that will improve the protection of the UK and America’s critical infrastructures, national security and economic interests".

Improving information sharing, awareness and deployment of "the most innovative technologies of both nations to enable a safer and more secure homeland for the United States, United Kingdom and their trusted allies" was the main objective of the summit, it said.