Cybersecurity: the Swiss model is an example to follow

Swiss Cybersecurity | Meteca

Today, Meteca’s blog deals with cybersecurity – a topic as important as it is complex because of the many variables that come into play when discussing online security and privacy protection.  

Thanks to the support of an article published on the website, we will analyse the Swiss model and try to expand on some of the aspects that are of fundamental importance.

The Swiss National Centre for Cybersecurity (NCSC) has been officially active and working since 1st July 2020. Despite the good intentions and the efforts made, there is still much to do, especially with regard to politics: the creation of this institute marks the beginning of government accountability in addressing the problem of cybersecurity which was previously based on decentralized structures,  each of which applied its own rules.

One thing is certain: Switzerland has understood the importance of cybersecurity – a previously niche topic that has become a political and social issue to be kept under very close surveillance – so much so that a special supervisory body has been set up.  This sends out a strong message which addresses the need to identify those who are planning cyber attacks and what the consequences of these  will be – and calm the tensions arising from them.  

To achieve concrete results we need the help of all members of society: institutions, businesses and citizens. The synergy between these 3 “players”, according to experts in the field, can make a difference in achieving real cybersecurity. It follows that the debate will also become political, because of the need to reach agreements between all the parties.

Institutions and businesses

In this area of conflicting interests, several variables can come into play. For example: how can the State, through policies that encourage liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, provide assistance to companies against the negative impact that these policies may have in terms of safety? How can data that is monitored by the state and that concerns the national economic system be protected from cyber attacks?

With this in mind, it is the State which must ensure national security as well as the survival of the entire internal social and economic system, acting as guarantor with ad hoc bodies as in the Swiss case.   

Institutions and citizens

The relationship between institutions and citizens is also very sensitive. The need for a political debate on this issue must take into account, on the one hand, the need to ensure cybersecurity for the citizen and, on the other, the guarantee of freedom. Mass control by the competent authorities could clash with the individual’s right to privacy, as well as the right to online anonymity and proper processing of personal data.

Citizens and businesses

The third area of conflicting interests is that between citizens and businesses, which seems to be the one least considered by the supervisory authorities. It is a question of creating the conditions for an effective security environment. Is it possible to regulate a market with large technology companies to achieve the right balance between security and practicality? What incentives can make digital service providers more committed to security?

In recent years, computer tracking and the release of data from private individuals to businesses has been increasing and you might think that the online habits of individual citizens could be registered depending on the apps we download, the websites we visit or the online purchases we make.

The conflicts described above need to be discussed by politicians. The state must guarantee its citizens protection and security, of course, but it must also vigorously and confidently support the country’s business system and promote the constant improvement of society. Improving IT security will undoubtedly benefit all stakeholders and the creation of the National Centre for Cybersecurity is an excellent platform for achieving this; the Swiss government has taken the right steps towards this change.

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