CGI to set up cyber security lab in the UK

CGI's UK President Tim Gregory said he expects more companies to outsource their cyber protection

Tim Gregory, the man put in charge of CGI's UK operations after the £1.7 billion acquisition of Logica, has revealed to Computerworld UK that he plans to set up a cyber security lab in the UK.

He said that over the next two years he expects companies to make a move towards outsourcing their cyber protection capabilities, as their exposure to the web will be so great that they won't have the skills or cash to protect themselves.

Prior to the acquisition, Logica was already doing business with the Ministry of Defence on cyber security, and CGI owns a US company called Stanley, which has a strong focus on cyber protection.

Gregory said that he wasn't yet sure how big the cyber lab will be, but CGI will be recruiting and it is likely to be based in the UK's West Country.

"We already have one in Canada and the US, so this will be our European one. It will be a facility that will certify devices for any given security level, we will create a security operations centre to protect people's websites and networks, and we will also be launching a biometrics identity management system, which will make use of voice, IRS, etc.," he said.

"We have a lot of the staff here already that can support this, but we will be recruiting too. About 25 percent of our business in the UK is defence, space and national security."

Gregory added that he thinks that the UK's cyber capabilities are pretty good, but he believes that companies, especially medium sized ones, will soon struggle to protect themselves from the dangers of the web.

"I think the UK is pretty good, but I have a prediction, one that I hope won't come true. I think there's a real clash coming up in the next two years, where the exposure to the web is going to be so great for companies, and therefore exposure to attacks, there's not going to be enough cyber capability around to protect them," he said.

"I think that's going to drive a big shift to outsourcing and the cloud, because people will say: I can't do this anymore, I can't protect my company. The only way to do it is to transfer it to companies that have deep pockets."

He added: "I think particularly middle sized companies are going to be really exposed, because my sense is that they don't understand the threat to them. Even if they did understand the threat, they can't afford to protect themselves, and even if they can afford it, they can't find the people to do it.

"I think what will happen is that there will be some middle-sized companies that are seriously damaged through an attack."

In other news, Gregory has also slammed the UK government for implementing reforms that have made it difficult for big suppliers to do business with the public sector. He warned that if it continues, and the pendulum swings too far towards giving work to SMEs, larger companies will look to invest their money elsewhere.

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