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The inevitable need for rigorous cybersecurity standards

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By the end of 2020, there will be more than two-and-a-half times more connected devices than there are people in the world. With that many devices, it’s not surprising that there are around 150-cybercrime incidents per day in Australia.

It is a big issue for governments, and a new report calls for rigorous cyber security processes as part of mandatory requirements for anyone offering services to state agencies. And there needs to be an industry wide standard to lift cyber resilience across the economy.

The recommendations are in a report commissioned by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The think tank also calls for the federal and state governments to use part of its $20 billion annual technology budget to create a benchmark for better cyber security.

It clearly demonstrates the growing momentum for better trained cyber security professionals across all sectors of the economy.

The report calls for standards that are much more than a tick-the-box exercise. And the government should provide procurement frameworks that provide incentives for suppliers to improve their security.

Private enterprise earns billions of dollars a year providing goods and services to government. The inevitable push towards adopting more rigorous cyber crime standards, as demonstrated by the report, means business will have to improve their cyber procedures if they want to keep winning business off Canberra and the states.

The ASPI report said that government should better ensure security of supply chains – who owns. controls and influences the supplier. How secure are their IT systems? Will the products delivered have security vulnerabilities?
It now seems likely that government buyers will move towards taking cyber security more seriously in all their purchasing decisions.

“As the Australian government looks to refresh its cybersecurity strategy in 2020, while end-user awareness and education will be important, the onus needs to be on the government and the private sector to uplift security across the board,” the report says.

The ASPI report was funded by local data centre operator Macquarie Government.

Speaking at a webinar recently, Macquarie Government chief executive officer Aidan Tudehope called for quick action, noting cyber’s potential as a job creator, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“The key here is if you embed [security] into procurement, that $10 billion at the Commonwealth level, the $3 billion of ICT spend in NSW, you provide a commercial incentive of businesses to invest in cyber security,” Mr Tudehope said.

That means more jobs.

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