Cyber security

The United Kingdom is a global leader in the field of cybersecurity, boasting the largest market in Europe. This strong position offers a unique advantage, providing access to an exceptional pipeline of talent and promising investment opportunities in the ever-evolving and critical realm of cybersecurity.

The United Kingdom has gained international recognition as a global leader in the innovation and commerce of cybersecurity. The sector has experienced substantial growth in annual revenue and employment, along with notable investment in early-stage companies.

The UK presents significant opportunities for businesses across the entire spectrum of the cybersecurity industry. The market is diverse, offering a wide range of provisions, from cyber professional services to endpoint and mobile security solutions. Additionally, there is government support available to facilitate the growth of early-stage companies and funding for collaborative research and development (R&D), ensuring a fertile environment for innovation and investment in the cybersecurity sector.

Opportunity highlights

The United Kingdom offers a wealth of advantages and opportunities within the cybersecurity sector:

Opportunities Across Sectors

  • The UK’s cybersecurity sector has a diverse range of applications, spanning industries such as financial services, retail, healthcare, connected devices, infrastructure, and transport.
  • The rapid growth in both the UK and global cybersecurity markets creates abundant business opportunities.
  • A multitude of companies in the UK provide expertise, from strategic consulting and professional cyber services to network security. Both SMEs and large corporations can thrive in the UK’s cybersecurity market, benefiting from a diverse range of services.

Top Market for Exports

  • The UK has built a strong reputation for providing trusted cybersecurity solutions to organisations worldwide. British exports in the sector are anticipated to reach £3.2 billion by 2023.
  • The UK government and industry actively support this growth through the Cyber Security Export Strategy, facilitating the entry of UK-based companies into emerging markets, global finance, and national security operations.

Talent and Skills

  • The UK’s cybersecurity sector already employs almost 50,000 professionals, and as the sector continues to expand, there is a growing demand for talent.
  • The UK addresses this demand by offering over 130 master’s programmes in cybersecurity and a variety of internships, thus cultivating a pipeline of specialists to meet the industry’s needs.
  • The presence of 19 government-recognised and supported Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSRs) enhances the quality and scale of cybersecurity research while fostering strong connections between academic institutions, government, and businesses.

Support for Early-Stage Companies

  • Various incubators and accelerators actively support the growth and development of early-stage cybersecurity companies, reflecting the UK’s commitment to promoting and nurturing the domestic cybersecurity industry.
  • Programs such as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) For Start-ups offer a range of services to start-ups at different stages of maturity, from those developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to established companies looking to expand into new markets.

Industry Investment

  • The UK benefits from substantial investments from established global cybersecurity companies, including Sophos, BT, and Titania.
  • Support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups is provided through initiatives like the Cyber Growth Partnership.
  • Further financial support for technology development is available through InnovateUK and UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, including the Secure by Design Challenge.

Support for Start-Ups

  • Various accelerator programmes, such as the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA), CyLon, and Betaden, are backed by the NCSC and GCHQ, the UK government intelligence and security organization. These programmes reinforce the UK’s position as a global leader in cybersecurity.

The United Kingdom’s comprehensive approach to the cybersecurity sector underscores its commitment to innovation, investment, and excellence in a rapidly evolving and critical industry.

Commercial maturity

The United Kingdom’s cybersecurity sector is not only robust but also highly developed, having achieved a market value of £8.9 billion as of 2020. This thriving market is a product of the abundant talent and opportunities offered by the UK, characterized by its proven resilience.

The year 2020 witnessed record-breaking investment in UK cybersecurity, with businesses securing over £821 million in funding through 73 deals, highlighting the sector’s vitality and potential.

The UK stands out with a presence of over 1,200 early-stage cybersecurity companies, underpinned by multiple internationally renowned cybersecurity clusters, including locations like Manchester, Gloucestershire, Belfast, and South Wales. These clusters offer world-class business opportunities and contribute to the UK’s leadership in the field. Furthermore, the government provides substantial support and incentives to foster growth and innovation within the cybersecurity sector, solidifying the UK’s position as a hub for cybersecurity excellence.

UK assets

The United Kingdom hosts several regions that are internationally recognized as hubs of cyber expertise and growth:


  • Home to the Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • Key assets include the C11 Cyber Security and Digital Innovation Centre, which offers incubation offices and support for start-ups.
  • The Golden Valley development is designed to stimulate cyber security innovation, offering support for start-ups, SMEs, and larger companies.

Northern Ireland

  • Belfast stands out as a leading global destination for US Foreign Direct Investment in cyber security development projects.
  • The region hosts specialist university research centres, including the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast.
  • It is home to innovative start-ups and boasts an impressive cluster of international cyber security investors.
  • CSIT is globally renowned and collaborates with major multinationals, contributing to local growth.

Greater London and South East

  • London offers a plethora of market opportunities and is home to 28% of the UK’s cybersecurity firms.
  • The wider London and South-East area features numerous universities, providing a talent pool to meet the substantial demand in the sector.


  • Scotland’s digital security sector has experienced rapid growth, with the number of cyber security firms increasing by 300% from 2017 to 2019, underscoring the region’s strength.


  • Wales is a source of world-class talent, with academic centers of excellence such as the National Cyber Security Academy and the Centre for Cyber Security Research at Cardiff University.
  • The region hosts significant investment projects, including the Airbus Cyber Security Centre of Excellence.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire

  • Hereford is home to the Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security project, a £9 million center of excellence for cutting-edge research and development in the sector.
  • The center supports businesses by developing their skillsets and leads in cyber security testing, research, and development.


  • Manchester has fostered homegrown digital security companies and attracted established cyber divisions of global defense and consulting firms.
  • The city is now home to the newest GCHQ facility, positioning it at the core of the nation’s cyber security efforts.
  • The region will also host the newly created National Cyber Force, located at Samlesbury, representing a significant £5 billion investment.

These regions collectively contribute to the UK’s status as a global leader in the field of cybersecurity, offering innovation, talent, and a dynamic business environment.

R&D capability

The United Kingdom is an exceptional location for conducting research and development in the field of cybersecurity. Key factors that make it an attractive hub for cybersecurity R&D include:

Academic Excellence

  • The UK hosts 19 Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR) recognized by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
  • Over 130 master’s programmes in cybersecurity are available, ensuring a steady supply of skilled professionals.

Knowledge Transfer Network

  • The Knowledge Transfer Network operates a dedicated group focused on security, facilitating connections between universities, businesses, and investors. This fosters creativity and innovation in the cybersecurity field.


  • The Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme (CyberASAP) is the only pre-seed accelerator programme in the cybersecurity ecosystem. It supports cyber security innovation and commercialization, playing a unique and vital role in nurturing cybersecurity startups.

Financial Support

  • The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has allocated £700,000 in funding to the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3). This initiative is designed to bolster cybersecurity growth across the country, stimulate innovation, and support the development of cybersecurity skills.

The United Kingdom’s commitment to academic excellence, industry collaboration, and financial support positions it as a dynamic and innovative hub for cybersecurity research and development.

Business and government support

In the United Kingdom, localized support programs play a crucial role in fostering the creation of new and innovative contributions to the cybersecurity sector. Notable initiatives include:

NCSC For Startups Programme

This program, run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), is designed to support startups in the cybersecurity field.

LORCA (London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement)

LORCA has been instrumental in helping 72 cyber innovators raise over £200 million in investment and earn more than £37 million in revenue, showcasing the success of this initiative in nurturing cyber innovation.

Talent Pool Expansion

One of the UK’s primary goals is to expand its talent pool within the booming cybersecurity sector. To achieve this, the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund is dedicated to increasing diversity and the number of individuals working in the field. An example of this effort is the UK’s Cyber Neurodiversity Network, which supports neurodiverse individuals to work in the sector, aligning with the UK’s broader aim of developing all aspects of the cybersecurity industry.

These programs and initiatives are essential for driving innovation, fostering diversity, and nurturing talent in the UK’s thriving cybersecurity sector.