CESG, the information security arm of British spy agency GCHQ, has announced that its scheme to certify information assurance professionals has been extended to the private sector.
The CESG Certified Professional (CCP) scheme was launched in October 2012 as part of the government's UK cyber security strategy.
The overall aim of the scheme is for the UK to create a set of standards to assess cyber security professionals on their competency and skills, to ensure that industry and government are being protected by staff with the right skillsets.
The scheme was initially targeted at information assurance and cyber security professionals working on government networks, but now those who work to protect UK industry networks from cyber threats and vulnerabilities can also sign up to the scheme.
CESG says that nearly 700 cyber security professionals have been successfully accredited since the scheme's launch. The certifications are valid for three years.
Chloe Smith, minister for political and constitutional reform, said that the scheme has been "warmly welcomed and endorsed" by government cyber security professionals and that there has been a demand from industry to be a part of the scheme.
"Now is the right time to open up CCP and set a unified standard for cyber security professionals right across the UK," she said.
Chris Ensor, CESG's deputy director for the national technical authority for information assurance, said he was delighted that the organisation has been able to make the scheme available to the private sector, and urged organisations to sign up to it.
"I would particularly encourage those organisations that support the UK's critical national infrastructure to endorse the scheme and help build a community of UK cyber security professionals that is the envy of the world," he said.
The CCP scheme is run by independent certification bodies: the APM group, IISP, CREST, Royal Holloway ISG consortium, and the BCS. All of the bodies are appointed and audited by CESG.