How secure is my cyber security? And who will protect me?
From out of the shadows, the real and perceived issue of cyber vulnerability has rocketed up the public, political and business agenda and is clearly one that is not going away. For IT providers and the broader technology industry, keeping customers safe and secure is as fundamental as effective service delivery and good design architecture.
The changing dynamics and growing awareness of system and network security mean that the entire technology sector must continue leading the war against globalized and agile cyber-criminal opponents while also minimizing the impacts of any attack. However, we must also work to establish a broader understanding and narrative that can generate
trust and confidence for our customers and their customers in the face of this threat.
A new dimension
It is often said that the first duty of any government is to keep its citizens safe. So if cybersecurity is an issue for us all, what is the role of government and how can it protect us from the globalized threat of cybercrime? No hard borders, no physical visibility, no known location: this threat exists in a new digital dimension and our collective vulnerability is increasing in line with the exponential growth of technology and its assimilation into every facet of our lives.
It feels as if the question of who is responsible for our cybersecurity is migrating away from the individual. I am sure we can all recall the days when we simply downloaded anti-virus software to our personal computer, and organizations established ‘firewalls’ around their networks to keep them safe. Now things are significantly more fluid. Our data is located in ‘clouds’. We carry out financial transactions anywhere. Social and work-based communication networks overlap. We operate our own ‘personal digital ecosystems’ of devices, networks and connectivity in trains, planes, offices, homes, coffee shops – basically, everywhere!
Scrutiny and confidence
Politicians have become increasingly apt, and rightly so, at calling industry to account. The ethics of business and the rights of customers to get a fair service regularly face the disinfecting light of political scrutiny.
The relationship of workers with large global corporates has also become so stretched that the analogy of David and Goliath is no longer nearly enough to describe the gulf that exists between people and some businesses. So, politicians are stepping in to protect individuals, redress the balance and ensure that the contract between customer and corporate does not snap.
The private sector, obviously, wants to play its part. Businesses thrive on confidence and trust; both consumer and political confidence are essential as the technological revolution continues to accelerate. Companies are working hard on transparency, establishing more
governance and better codes to demonstrate their moral compass and sense of responsibility. But the silent antagonist, the villain who doesn’t care about any of the rules – and is in fact determined to break them – is the cybercriminal.
The question of how we are protected from this prevailing threat of our times involves no one individual, politician or organization. There is no linear answer. Like any fight against crime, this will be a demanding and ongoing battle that will require national leadership, the best expertise and closer collaboration. We must look to both industry and the public
bodies to seek to establish new strong structures. While the National Cyber Security Centre and supporting government strategies are a start, going forward we will require much more. The day is nearing when we will need the formation of a National Digital Security Force. Where we can report cybercrime, whether it is theft of crypto currency or ‘bots’ carrying out phishing attacks to try to corrupt our digital accounts. A new protection service that can investigate larger-scale crime and provide us all with the thin blue digital line of confidence in the ever-expanding and exciting cyber world we now increasingly inhabit.
Digital Vision for Cyber Security
This article is part of the Atos Digital Vision for Cyber Security opinion paper. We cover what every business should know about cyber security, why a concerted response is essential, and how to protect data, systems and services from any attack.