Monday 29 June 2009

The UK's cyberspace initiative

The creation of the cyber security operations unit by the British government is a necessary and positive step in combating all forms of cyber threats. We work and live in a world in which our most personal information has gone digital, and this initiative points to the importance of a centralized approach to protection, spanning citizens, government and industry.

There are also economic considerations that this initiative addresses. In the UK, for example, more than £50 billion is spent online every year and 90% of high street purchases are made using electronic transactions.

There will be much debate as to the validity of the threats and the forms that they will take; however, as members of the security industry, we know that these threats always have the ability to be more devastating and widespread than even popular imagination can dictate.

By placing the protection of "digital Britain" in the hands of the government, we are showing a united front against cyber-criminals, cyber-terrorists and the run of the mill hackers who pose a threat to our information systems and personal data. As we commend the government for taking this bold and necessary step, we would like to remind them of a lesson that industry has learned over the past few years: threats come from internal and external sources. So, a "defend the perimeter" approach will leave valuable assets unprotected.

The government should look at the threat matrix holistically, starting from the databases that hold information, to the individuals that access it, through the networks that carry the data, to the perimeter. This "ground-up" approach will ensure that we are well protected at every turn.