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Tech Takes Security Into Its Own Hands

We depend on the Internet for virtually every aspect of our lives and it is the cornerstone of global society. New technologies connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) hold the promise of advancing education, healthcare, agriculture, economic growth, and job creation.

Recent events, however, have put online security at risk, inflicting economic harm, threatening human lives, and undermining the public’s trust. Protecting our online environment is in everyone’s interest, including the tech industry, given that it is their products which are often the targets of attack. For that reason, the tech industry has led efforts to strengthen cybersecurity in a variety of ways.

Over a number of years, industry leaders have put cybersecurity at the heart of product design through the development of security-by-design principles and secure lifecycle development approaches. They have worked with customers and law enforcers to identify malicious cyber actors, disrupt botnets and related threats, and reduce the chances and consequences of major cyberattacks. And they have worked with governments around the world to strengthen cybersecurity standards, develop new approaches to cyber risk management, and advocate for effective national and international cyber governance.

In recent weeks, the software industry has again seized the initiative on cybersecurity by creating international alliances to strengthen cybersecurity protections for citizens across the globe. Here are a few examples.

  • Today, several BSA members announced a Cybersecurity Tech Accord, in which 34 global technology companies – including CA Technologies, DataStax, DocuSign, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, and Trend Micro – make concrete commitments to defend and advance the benefits of technology for society. Moreover, they commit to act responsibly, to protect and empower their users and customers, and thereby to improve the security, stability, and resilience of cyberspace. The Tech Accord draws its signatories together around four principles: to protect users and customers wherever they may be, to oppose efforts to attack those users and customers, to strengthen cybersecurity protections, and to partner as widely as possible in pursuit of better cybersecurity. On the basis of these principles, the signatories have established a common framework for engaging users, customers, and governments on cybersecurity and cyberspace.
  • In February, Siemens and IBM, along with other industry leaders, signed the Charter of Trust. The charter outlines 10 areas where governments and businesses can act around cybersecurity – including ensuring connected devices have the highest level of security measures, guiding customers based on their cybersecurity needs, and increasing cybersecurity education in schools. Most importantly, the Charter argues for clear, verifiable security baselines for the use of IoT technologies in critical infrastructure, strengthening defenses against attacks that pose the greatest risks to citizens and economies.

What makes these initiatives so powerful is that they unite the industry’s most innovative companies from around the world in common purpose. True security in the Internet ecosystem depends on exactly this kind of unity of effort. Moreover, it is an important signal that the tech sector takes seriously both its responsibilities and its power with regard to cybersecurity.

While governments also have a part to play, software companies and the technology industry as a whole are stepping up with a renewed commitment to cybersecurity. Promises like these can help us rebuild trust in online technologies again.

Learn more about BSA’s commitment to cybersecurity here.

Learn more about the importance of encryption and its vital role in protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Author:

Tommy Ross serves as Senior Director, Policy with BSA | The Software Alliance. In this role, he works with BSA members to develop and advance global policy positions on a range of key issues, with a focus on cybersecurity, privacy, and market access barriers.

Prior to joining BSA, Ross served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation. He was the Senior Advisor for Intelligence and Defense to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Legislative Director for U.S. Representative David Price, and a research assistant for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Ross is a graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina and Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is based in BSA’s Washington, DC, office.

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