Last weekend the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, signed up to a new World Economic Forum set of principles on cyber-resilience on behalf of the UK government. The UK has joined 70 companies and government bodies across 25 countries and 15 sectors in demonstrating their commitment and determination to taking a responsible and collective approach to ensure secure, resilient digital global networks that are safe, yet open to all.
On signing up to the new set of cyber-resilience principles, Mr Hague said:
“We hope that signing the WEF principles on cyber-resilience will encourage business leaders all over the world to lead the way in creating shared principles for a resilient and thriving internet. The internet has a critical role to play as an engine and facilitator of economic growth. Cyberspace must be secure and reliable so that it is trusted as a medium for doing business but at the same time free and open to evolve and innovate naturally. Governments should support the key role of the private sector in creating a trusted and open place to do business both at home and abroad. The WEF principles will help us all – individuals, companies and governments – in our shared aim to promote a safe and secure digital environment in which to do business.”
What does this mean in practice, though? How are these new principles likely to be put into practice? The WEF highlighted the UK government’s guidance for industry on meeting cyber security challenges as a case in point, and an excellent example of how the principles can be put in practice. The “Ten Steps to Cyber Security” booklet was launched in September, 2012, and given to chief executives of a number of the UK’s largest companies. The booklet set out how board members and senior executives should adopt a holistic risk management approach to cyber security in order to safeguard their most valuable assets, such as personal data, online services and intellectual property.
As well as issuing new company guidelines, the UK government also announced the building of a new Global Cyber Security Capacity Building Centre last October. The Capacity Building Centre will be hosted within the UK’s network of Centres of Excellence for Cyber Security. Currently, eight universities have been awarded this status based on their world-class research capability in this field.
Francis Maude, Minister for Cyber Security at the Cabinet Office, participated in a number of events at the WEF’s annual meeting which aimed to bring industry and governments together to tackle the global issue of cyber-resilience and security. Speaking in Davos, Mr Maude stated:
“Cyber security is a shared, global challenge – our companies operate in a global marketplace. The cyber threat knows no geographical boundaries and it matters that those we connect to are secure as well.”
“In the UK we have put in place a transformative National Cyber Security Programme which hinges on a real and meaningful partnership with industry. We are very proud to be members in this global initiative. We hope that our guidance for businesses and the Global Capacity Building Centre, which form part of our increasing efforts to make cyberspace secure [will create] a stable environment in which businesses can grow.”
Alan Marcus, Senior Director for Information and Communication Technologies at the WEF added:
“We are delighted that Her Majesty’s government have demonstrated their leadership in this space through their support of the principles and participation in the initiative. The UK has been a leading voice in the cyber debate in recent years. Cyber-resilience is a shared challenge for all parts of society. In 2013, we will continue to drive leadership awareness and understanding, and support multi-stakeholder collaboration across the globe.”
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