Launch of Trustworthy Software Essentials


Government-backed scheme offers free guidance to protect small businesses from software flaws and cyber attacks

The Government-backed Trustworthy Software Initiative is launching ‘Trustworthy Software Essentials’ giving Britain’s small businesses free access to world-leading guidance, drawn up in consultation with Universities, multinationals and Government bodies, on how to reduce software flaws that are undermining SME productivity and security.
Many small firms are vulnerable to critical software glitches and cyber-attacks because they increasingly depend on web-based tools for critical business operations but lack the knowledge, time and resources to ensure their software is designed and maintained to a high standard.
In 2015, a Government report warned that Britain’s small businesses were putting a third of their revenue at risk, because of failure to take basic security precautions including updating and patching software.

The Trustworthy Software Initiative is part of the UK Government’s National Cyber Security Strategy to improve the UK’s ability to combat cyber risks and ensure that the UK leads the way in trustworthy software systems and expertise.

Trustworthy Software Essentials, modelled on the Government “Cyber Essentials” scheme to protect small firms against cyber threats, will give SMEs free and easy-to-implement guidance based on input from the world’s leading authorities; from Microsoft to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, to reduce costly software problems and cyber-attacks that exploit insecure software.

Trustworthy Software Essentials includes a video guide and documents available under Open Government License to help SMEs create and maintain secure, high-quality software to a trusted standard at a low cost.

Ian Howles, Executive Director, UK Testing Board, said:
“As we move towards a digital economy, software is becoming a ‘single point of failure’ for many businesses. Software failures can compromise vital services upon which SMEs depend, from online payment services to customer data, while software vulnerabilities can leave them exposed to ransomware or theft of their IP. Trustworthy Software Essentials gives small businesses with little time and resources, free access to world-class guidance to ensure they have software that is safe, functions as and when it should, recovers quickly from errors and is secure against cyber-attack.”

Alastair Revell, Director General of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers added:
“Society is increasingly dependent on millions of lines of code to run everything from our businesses to our vehicles. Yet the quality of software in the UK remains a serious concern and the increasing dependence of companies on badly-designed software is threatening productivity and security. Many small firms simply lack the knowhow and resources to ensure that they are buying trustworthy software or maintaining it to the right standard; for example, 24% of small firms think that cyber security is too expensive to implement and 22% of admit that they ‘don’t know where to start’.  Trustworthy Software Essentials gives small companies free and simple-to-use tools designed by leading Universities, major enterprises and government bodies that will dramatically cut the cost of improving the quality of software they rely on.”

Tony Dyhouse, Stakeholder Director at the Trustworthy Software Initiative, said:
“Trustworthy Software Essentials aims to safeguard Britain’s digital economy by offering businesses basic, cost-effective, guidance to help ensure software failures and vulnerabilities do not harm their profitability, security and reputation. Britain has a serious problem with poorly-designed, insecure software affecting businesses and we have seen numerous incidents where poorly-written software has led to shutdowns of airports, banking services, recalls of vehicles and major cyber-attacks even on large firms.”

The Trustworthy Software Initiative was established in response to UK Government investigations revealing that the widespread prevalence of poor coding practices was threatening the UK economy.  It has already provided vital targeted education, standards, skills and guidance to organisations ranging from SMEs to multinational companies and Air Traffic Control Centres across the UK.

Published: 24 February 2016

Updated: 4 April 2016 (replicated from Trustworthy Software Initiative website to successor Trustworthy Software Foundation website)