Bridging digital divides through cybersecurity capacity building

19 Dec 2017 11:45h - 13:15h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

This workshop discussion focused on bridging Digital Divides through cybersecurity capacity today. The session brought together cybersecurity experts from different stakeholder groups to raise awareness of ongoing multi-stakeholder partnerships in cybersecurity capacity-building efforts globally. The discussions covered topics related to the digital future, opportunities for scaling up efforts and leveraging lessons to address implementation challenges in cybersecurity capacity-building, an essential dimension for bridging digital divides.

The moderator, Ms Dominique Lazanski, Public Policy Director at the GSM Association (GMSA), invited the panelists to share their work on their multi-stakeholder projects and partnerships in cybersecurity.

Ms Lillian Nalwoga, the President of The Internet Society (ISOC) – Uganda Chapter, described an African perspective on what cybersecurity capacity-building is, and the challenges and the benefits of digital technology. For Africa there is a need to provide more Internet access and coverage, and challenges in how governments secure critical infrastructure and ensure the cybersecurity capacity-building structure, and in how businesses react to cybersecurity. Therefore, ensuring trust when building cybersecurity infrastructure is key to the development of the digital economy.

Mr Belisario Contreras, the Cyber Security Program Manager for the Organization of American States (OAS), explained the importance of cultural differences and the role of civil society and the different stakeholders. According to Contreras there is a trend towards a more inclusive or stakeholder process when building cybersecurity capacity. Because of this, the focus needs to be on socioeconomic development to have a better outreach to all the national actors. 

Ms Audrey Plonk, a Global security and Internet policy specialist for Intel, spoke about capacity-building in cybersecurity from the private sector perspective and the importance of all stakeholders such as the Government, civil society and companies, working together. Plonk raised the importance of educating and training people in cybersecurity in both private and Government sectors to be able to keep up with cybersecurity capacity developments.

The next panelist, Ms Sadie Creese from the Global Cyber Security Center, spoke about the cybersecurity capacity maturity model that enables nations and ultimately regions to assess what their own capacities are, and to set policy and strategies, law and regulation, and to access the right standards, technologies, education and leadership, and societal cultural aspects. Creese highlighted the importance of building partnerships in regions to increase stakeholder networks.

Ms Carmen Gonsalves, the Head of International Cyber Policy with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the successful development of a global agenda for global capacity building and practices. Gonsalves advocated the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform of cyber-expertise to exchange knowledge and best practices. To Gonsalves, cybersecurity capacity-building represents a precondition to bridging the digital divide and increasing the benefits of digitalisation.

The second part of the workshop concentrated on group discussions around sharing best practices and lessons learned from deploying cybersecurity capacity-building initiatives. The findings of the break-out group discussion touched upon the following issues: the need for raising awareness on cybersecurity, standards, and norms, more research on cybersecurity infrastructure challenges, effective tools, a multi-stakeholder approach, and more education and training on cybersecurity capacity-building. These findings will be collected and shared in the workshop report as a tool for those aiming to launch such initiatives in the future.

By Noemi Szabo