Cybersecurity: Private-Public Partnership

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We have come so far as a society to create the world that takes us from conventional and primitive systems to a more advanced, fast-pace, and technological. Our ‘new’ world is saturated with ideas rolling over to innovations and commercialized into inventions. Who would have thought social media magnates like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, e-commerce, Alibaba, Remita would become households of technology in their respective domains? But, the pace of technology is also being challenged by often anonymous ‘others’ thus making technology not only as a tool that increases efficiency and productivity, but as a device hijacked by criminals to penetrate organizations and to perpetrate evils.

As I have noted in previous articles, cybercrime is a crime against humanities. It betrays the very essence of our existence. It is that kind of war that challenges our corporate existence as households, firms and government. Individuals must be aware and rightly educated to understand these tricks; firms must invest in a robust and offense-in-depth cybersecurity program with focus on prevention. Government must act with a sense of responsivity and responsibility to stay responsive and responsible to the needs of both the organizations and nations.  Until your cybersecurity program, and practice are structured and implemented from the offensive strategy rather than defensive approach, you are probably at a continuous risk of being attacked, victimized and hacked. Unfortunately, many institutions around the world including several in Africa have been victims of security incidence, but for the lack of oversight, reporting system, and functioning legislation, organizations and nations often stay mute on the incidence of cyber-attacks.

Given the significance of the cyber-attacks, the damaging impact it often has on the victims vis-à-vis, the loss of revenue, reputation and private information leakage, it has become vitally important, if not critical for both the government and private firms to work as friends against the enemies of our time – cybercriminals. In this piece, I make a case for a central approach in combating cybersecurity issues, threats and challenges.

In the ancient pyramid of needs touted by Abraham Maslow, the scholar identified ‘safety’ as important need, upon which the societal needs are built. Safety involves protection from elements, security, order, law stability, freedom and fear. But, what happens when safety is threatened, freedom becomes severely restricted, and fear captures our minds thus preventing us from safely benefiting from our collective inventions? I advocate public-private partnership to protect the critical infrastructure especially, for the critical sectors of the economy. Knowing this, each domestic market should fashion an approach of ensuring adequate security of life, asset and data by investing in people (training and skills acquisition), technology (various security solutions), and process (business) proportional to the value or worth of its business.

Richard Harknett, in his article titled ‘The Cybersecurity Triad: Government, Private Sector Partners, and the Engaged Cybersecurity Citizens,’ he noted winning cybersecurity war must remain a shared responsibility of the private citizens, firms and the government. He lauded the piece of legislation signed by the Obama Administration (the Cybersecurity Act of 2009) as a critical milestone worthy of emulation by other governments. This presents a model for other nations, but also demand a call to responsible governing before the ‘lifeline’ of corporations, households and firms are preyed upon by digital robbers.

Yomi Olalere, LLM, CISM, CISA, CRISC
Abaster Consulting Inc.
Member, 2019 International Cybersecurity and Intelligence Conference 

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