Strengthening IIoT and cyber resilience? Apply for NCSC For Startups

The National Cyber Security Centre’s work towards making the UK the safest place to live and work online is a mission that requires a whole-of-society approach and NCSC For Startups, which assesses the existing gaps in the market where solutions are required, is a key component of this. Strengthening the UK’s cyber ecosystem is pillar one of the National Cyber Strategy and NCSC For Startups now comprises a community of over 60 companies.

NCSC For Startups is run by NCSC and Plexal – in partnership with Deloitte, CyNam, Hub8 and QA – and provides startups enrolled on the programme with unique government insights direct from NCSC experts. The challenge-led initiative equips founders with specialised knowledge to develop, adapt and pilot their technologies, support growth and solve the rising cyber security challenges the UK faces.  

As 2023 approaches, NCSC For Startups and Plexal have begun scouting new talent to join our growing pool of innovators, in what marks the sixth year of the programme. Scouting continues against the existing challenge set – see here: – and adds two new challenge areas:

IIoT Encryption

Recent estimates have suggested that around 98% of IoT traffic is unencrypted. This cyber risk is particularly acute for IoT devices in industrial settings, as industrial digitalisation continues at pace.

How can we produce aftermarket solutions that add encryption to IIoT devices? How can we make it simple and cost effective for IIoT device manufacturers to add encryption to their devices’ communications?

Resilient Products

Building a resilient and prosperous digital UK is the second pillar of the National Cyber Strategy. This challenge requires SMEs with the potential to strengthen the resilience of the safety and security-critical applications that are protecting the UK’s most sensitive systems.

How might novel architectures and technologies protect against the highest threats? What new ideas are driving innovation, diversity and cost-efficiency in resilient hardware? 

Saj Huq, CCO and head of innovation at Plexal, says: “During my attendance at the inaugural meeting of the National Cyber Advisory Board earlier this month, it was highlighted that there were 2.7m cyber-related frauds in the 12 months to March 2022. The ever-changing threat landscape underlines the importance of our work with the NCSC in enabling innovation to make the UK more resilient and secure to the risks that society faces now and into the future.

“Public-private collaboration is key to closing this gap – between the cyber risks and opportunities that we face – and we’re incredibly proud and excited to call on the next wave of ambitious innovators to support us in tackling these challenges together. The UK has a wealth of cyber startups driving economic growth and strengthening our national security and we look forward to working alongside our next intake of talented leaders.” 

Startups can learn more about the challenges and apply on the NCSC For Startups website.

If you’ve got any questions, get in touch with Plexal’s innovation team on