The risk that cyber crime poses to the global economy is no new subject at Davos. It has been a key issue in the past, right up there with market turmoil, climate change, wealth and income inequality and the rise of automation for several years now.
This year has pretty much followed the same script – with the additional impact of the increasing geo-political drama and tensions that have developed over the past year.
What was new this year was the launch of an exciting (if we, as tech enthusiasts, might use that term) initiative to combat cyber crime on a global scale, The Global Centre for Cyber Security.
Why This Issue is Important to The World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has labelled the current world economy as being in the midst of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. This Revolution is based primarily on the technological interconnectedness of people, societies, economies and their data. The government, infrastructure, banking and transportations systems are all connected across the same “grids” as our smart devices, consumer internet and more. The risks of systemic failures and their immediate consequences rise with every new device, user or system that connects, making security a primary collective concern.
In this environment, cyber security must be a key consideration for everyone involved – governments, businesses and individuals.
The Goals of The Global Centre for Cyber Security
With the project’s launch at the annual WEF forum in Davos, the aim is to develop a more robust and resilient global cyber security approach. Alois Zwinggi, Managing Director of the WEF and head of the new organization, outlined the objectives as follows:
- Continuing Implementation of existing forums on cyber security
- A repository of information on a global scale
- Bringing together private and public sectors
- Work on recommendations for regulatory frameworks
- Defining future cyber security scenarios (such as the quantum computing impact on cryptography)
Building a security framework requires strong relationships. Kim Koro, President, Cyber Security Solutions at Qualcomm, said that this center will be an excellent opportunity to strengthen relationships and know-how across verticals. New business models will be will be developed as a result of these cross-industry security learnings, and have a positive impact the hardest hit ones, such as health (something we talk about often) and automotive.
Alois Zwinggi: This is a risk management issue. Companies need to be clear about their strategies and prepare boards and senior managers for the event of a major hack, a bit like a fire drill. #wef18 #4ir
— World Economic Forum (@Davos) January 24, 2018
The Cyber Security Moonshot
The importance of cyber security to global security and the economy is being recognized through this initiative, as CEO of Palo Alto Networks Mark McLaughlin calls it – a Cyber Security Moonshot. He sees an important need being fulfilled, as one that can integrate “Process, Technology and People”.
- Process – the importance of sharing information,
- Technology – finding ways to integrate solutions, and
- People – raising awareness and security consciousness.
This kind of determined focus on broad cybersecurity issues is crucial, as the networks that govern most of our daily lives grow increasingly interconnected, while their security is increasingly fragmented and vulnerable to malicious actors, online fraudsters and the occasional activist hacker. One can only hope that the policies and practices that come out of this have a positive impact.