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ViewPoint: Toward a cyber-secure European community

Europe is poised to make strides toward the creation of a cross-sector, pan-national cyber security ecosystem, explains ECSO’s Secretary General Luigi Rebuffi.

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Luigi Rebuffi_Secretary General ECSOOn 12 September 2018 the European Commission (EC) proposed the creation of a new European cyber security industrial technology and research competence centre, plus a cyber security competence centre network. The proposal for a new Regulation to pool cyber resources was announced as part of the annual State of the EU address presented by EC President Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured above). This Regulation is a significant step toward increasing the development of a European cyber security ‘ecosystem’ and strengthening European digital autonomy. It can be seen as the conclusive step in a series of initiatives, which started back in 2013 with the adoption of the ‘Cyber security Strategy of the EU’.

It’s a timely initiative: if the EU wants to effectively manage the evolving cyber security domain, it needs to co-ordinate the implementation of its policies and the use of its resources.
The Competence Centres will have responsibility for managing EU financial resources dedicated to cyber security under the proposed Digital Europe Programme and Horizon Europe Programme. The envisioned National Co-ordination Centres will facilitate co-ordination across EU countries and regions.

The EC has realised that to build-up the European cyber security ecosystem – and have truly structured co-operation – it will have to deal with a diverse ‘community’ of actors.

It’s important to ensure that investments under the newly-proposed framework are co-ordinated at national and pan-European levels, and among various cyber security stakeholders. It should be a joint effort undertaken by the public administrations and governmental agencies; also by research centres, universities and private sector representatives. Successful co-ordination will occur when all the stakeholders are brought together, possibly within the framework of a European cyber security industrial policy.

The EC has realised that to build-up the European cyber security ecosystem – and have truly structured co-operation – it will have to deal with a diverse ‘community’ of actors. For this, the public-private partnership on cyber security has been established between the EC and European cyber security stakeholders, represented by ECSO.

The co-ordination of different cyber security policy issues, and finding common objectives with clear added value for EU capacity-building in cyber security area, are the objectives of the public-private partnership on cyber security. Due to its role and background in cyber security industrial policy, ECSO is co-ordinating the dialogue within the European cyber security stakeholder community, dealing with different cyber security industrial policy issues, including standardisation and certification, the needs of different vertical markets, support to SMEs and regional clusters, cyber security awareness and training.

The challenge will be to find an agreement with the national public administrations to finalise the proposals for regulations dealing, among others, with cyber security. Private stakeholders also will have to be convinced to adhere to these initiatives, and to invest in the implementation of innovative technologies and strategic solutions.

ECSO is presenting on the theme of ‘Building a European Cyber System’ at it-sa 2018: 9:30-10:00AM, 11 October, Forum I10 / Hall 10.1.