Cyber is a word used ever more prolifically within the public and private sector and it’s interesting to see the drivers and motivations behind the increasing profile of this topic.
Firstly and most importantly, it’s a real, current and serious national security and public safety issue which if fully exploited could do serious and long term harm to our society. Information Technology systems control our ability to communicate, the hygiene and the supply of our water, the supply and safety of the energy we consume, and our management of our transportation systems. It is critical in the supply of real time information to our troops, emergency services, and intelligence services.The integrity and robustness of our information infrastructure in all these areas are under constant and increasing threat and we must ensure that they remain protected.
Secondly, in the view of most who understand the topic well, governments and industry are underprepared, have under invested, and in some cases work in a state of denial. It is very easy to articulate the impact of a bomb attack in a city or on a plane, it is much more difficult to prove the real threat of a hacker using IT systems to poison a water supply, cause energy grids to overload, or interrupt train signalling. Such thoughts for many belong in Hollywood or are a future theoretical possibility unworthy of immediate concern.
Thirdly, in these times of deep budget cuts, some public sector organisations are including cyber security in their value proposition to protect or ring-fence funding. It is interesting to see how many projects and teams have dropped the words IT Security or Information Security from their business plans and titles and replaced them with the word Cyber in an attempt to retain existing or attract additional funding. This is concerning because it risks diluting the available funding, undermining the seriousness of the subject and discrediting the legitimate groups who are working extremely hard to execute a cyber strategy with limited funding.
Juniper is very active, particularly in the US and UK trying to bring industry and government together to share best practices, share appropriate information and to provide a coherent and capable deterrent to the current and developing threat. We are encouraging governments to become much more joined-up in this area creating mechanisms to share information in real-time and that is useful and actionable.
Through President Obama’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC) Juniper is collaborating with other companies to provide the very best industry advice to the US government. Through the UK Governments Vendor Security Information Exchange (VSIE) Juniper is striving to do the same for the British government.
It is encouraging to see NATO defining Cyber Security as one of its key missions in the publication of its New Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit. This is a mission where NATO can deliver a strong capability but it requires input from industry to provide a complete capability.
At Juniper we welcome the challenge of working in partnership with industry and government to help retain the integrity and availability of our information infrastructure.
Many thanks to Bob Dix, VP US Government Affairs, Juniper Networks for his contribution to this entry.
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