Building Greater Global Capacity for a Safer Cyberspace

Earlier this week at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace 2012, the UK Government announced the establishment of the Centre for Global Cyber-Security Capacity Building. In an effort to combat the growing global cyber threat problem, the Centre will focus on areas such as fostering greater international collaboration, increasing access to security expertise and information sharing, and promoting good governance practices online. This effort comes at a critical inflection point in cyberspace driven by the widespread adoption of technology.  According to the World Economic Forum, 70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that are in the process of coming online.

Recent Internet research shows the online population is expected to grow to over three billion people in 20161; devices will likely exceed 50 billion2; and overall data may increase more than 50 times by 20203. The continued growth in people, devices, and data becomes an attractive target for criminals who seek to gain access to valuable information or in some instance disrupt operations. Clearly, the benefits of using the Internet far outweigh the risks, but in order to create safer, more trusted computing experiences, the private sector and governments must work together.

Cybersecurity capacity building can help to increase the availability and quality of expertise needed to address the management, technical and operational challenges in cyberspace today. However, cybersecurity capacity building is not easy. It requires access to a wide range of cybersecurity expertise. It also requires actionable information and materials that can be consumed by practitioners to hone their skills and inform risk management decisions. Finally, cybersecurity capacity building needs delivery methods that are scalable, repeatable, and above all sustainable.

Public-private partnerships can help to provide more sustainable frameworks for promoting policy, technology and operational expertise, as well as best practices for cybersecurity. The private sector’s experience in helping to protect billions of global Internet users can provide valuable insight in helping to build global capacity for managing an increasingly complex threat environment. As Matt Thomlinson, General Manager, Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft noted in his post: “Industry continues to innovate and build best practices and technical cybersecurity norms including: vulnerability disclosure management, secure development, security incident response, and risk management.”  

Efforts such as the UK’s Centre for Global Cyber-Security Capacity Building provide an opportunity for government and the private sector to advance the security, stability, and confidence in cyberspace.  We look forward to working with the UK and support other international efforts that help advance the state of cybersecurity. For more information, please visit our TwC team site.

1 The Digital Manifesto: How Companies and Countries Can Win in the Digital Economy, Boston Consulting Group, January, 2012
2 More Than 50 billion Connected Devices white paper, Ericsson, February, 2011
3 Digital Universe Study, IDC, June, 2011

About the Author
Paul Nicholas

Senior Director, Trustworthy Computing

Paul Nicholas leads Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team, which focuses on driving strategic change, both within Microsoft and externally, to advance infrastructure security and resiliency. His team addresses global challenges related to risk management, incident response, emergency communications, Read more »