‘If we want a safer world for tomorrow, we have to act decidedly today and be ready to take some risks’
– Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, My visit to Moscow and the future of EU-Russia relations
Cybersecurity is not a luxury item in the agenda of only large enterprises and organisations. Every single small or medium enterprise, every local public administration even of very small size needs to protect their own digital assets and infrastructures against any intrusion. They owe this to the citizens and their personal data managed by those organizations or public administrations.
The European Commission issued an updated European cybersecurity strategy in 12/2020 in a joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council for ‘The EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade’, which strengthens the strategy of cooperative cybersecurity and information sharing outlined first in the 2013 issue, as well as the need for individual organizations to contribute to this environment either through incentives or through regulation.
The opening statement of the document mentions that ‘Cybersecurity is an integral part of Europeans’ security. Whether it is connected devices, electricity grids, or banks, aircraft, public administrations or hospitals they use or frequent, people deserve to do so within the assurance that they will be shielded from cyber threats. The EU’s economy, democracy and society depend more than ever on secure and reliable digital tools and connectivity. Cybersecurity is therefore essential for building a resilient, green and digital Europe.’
In several of the opportunities we talked to potential customers and adopters of the CS-AWARE technology, what appears in the discussions as a recurring theme is that most of them see the need for an increased cybersecurity effort on their part – of course – but assign a lower priority. So one of them representing a municipality in Greece explicitly mentioned to us as part of a forum discussion that ‘cybersecurity neither helps us win votes, nor helps us promote our work and achievements. And though it is an infrastructure same as water and utilities, our citizens shall not spot its absence – while if there is a shortage in water or electricity, they shall all experience it and complain’.
What needs to be done? We need an ambitious plan to support organisations to better manage and secure their digital assets in terms of cybersecurity.
CS-AWARE is willing to innovate in terms of offering the developed infrastructure (which was financed by the European Commission and in this regard all the European citizens) as part of a large scale project that shall aim to the transfer of the technology we have built and the corresponding scale-up to meet the needs of all European public administrations. And while we managed to import masks from other countries to face the COVID-19 pandemic needs before realising that masks are not rocket science, for cybersecurity we cannot afford to import technology and know-how from abroad, especially when we have built our own as part of the CS-AWARE project.
The CS-AWARE spin-out team.