Why Cybersecurity should be a strategic source of opportunity

Cybercriminals take advantage of our increased reliance on digital tools: Cyber risk has never been higher. We need both individual efforts, collaborative efforts as well as open standards and common approaches holding these together.

Why Cybersecurity should be a strategic source of opportunity

As societies around the world are protecting citizens’ lives from a still fast-spreading virus, it is necessary to protect our digital lives as well. Since working from home is no longer the exception but the rule, our digital infrastructure has become more important than ever. But much like public health, the internet is not immune to global threats. Today, cyber risks have never been higher.

Perpetrators make use of our increased reliance on digital tools. So organizations and employees need to adapt the way they work. As they move online to avoid a real-life virus, it is important they do not fall victim to the pitfalls of the cyber world. But making our digital infrastructure resilient against these threats needs to rest on the shoulders of not just a few, but of all players involved.

Our digital infrastructure has never supported more people than it does today. Not only has the internet enabled entertainment activities like video streaming or e-sports and facilitated a new dimension of social connectedness, it has completely transformed key systems supporting our daily lives such as energy distribution, industrial production or weather forecasts. And in the near future it will enable different new ways of living, e.g. autonomous mobility systems.

While the internet has passed the capacity test we need to ensure it also passes the cybersecurity test. When the Covid-19 outbreak scaled to a global pandemic, malicious actors started increasingly targeting individuals and organizations with malware and ransomware.

A strategic source of opportunity

If we are to build resilient cybersecurity infrastructure, it needs to be elevated from an operational necessity to a source of opportunity. Just like the strategic orientation and best practices that guarantee the capacity of the internet, we need individual and collaborative efforts by organizations as well as uniting standards and approaches ensuring the digital security of our lives.

On an individual level organizations need to take clear ownership of their cybersecurity. Based on their risk analysis, they need to take appropriate measures throughout their environment – be it in office IT, operational technology or among their workforce. We also need more open standards and open source-driven cybersecurity so that different actors can jointly develop such standards. It is up to policy makers to create reliable regulatory frameworks that encourage the continuous joint improvement of standards and adapt to them as they evolve.

Collectively we need to develop the tools and processes so that allow cybersecurity to be built into every product, solution or service. Right from the start. This requires essential steps on the organizational side, such as educating its members on how to be more cybersecure. It also involves specific steps to make cybersecurity an integral part of their portfolio.

So, while we will never be fully immune against cyber threats, we must strategically raise our efforts to achieve resilience. For this will give us the opportunity to leverage technologies for not only coping with the pandemic but also enabling a more trustworthy future for all of us