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People 'n' Issues

Security is a human right

Creating effective security is so critical, it demands collective action, writes Cisco CEO CHUCK ROBBINS.

Technology is transforming businesses and our lives in incredible ways, and it is critical to solving our world’s biggest challenges, from inequality to climate change. However, along with amazing benefits, this increasingly connected world leaves many vulnerable to cyberthreats. That’s why it’s so critical to create effective security for everyone.

In a recent global study by Cisco, a staggering 85 percent of companies fell short of the tech maturity needed to defend against the rising sophistication and scope of cyberattacks. Another 82 percent expected their businesses to be disrupted by a cyberattack within the next two years. These are daunting statistics, especially as many companies grapple with the complexities of an app-centric, multi-cloud and hybrid world. Despite this, I’m optimistic about the connected, sustainable, equitable and secure world we can create, if we all work together.

I believe security and data privacy are basic human rights because a breach can undermine everything from health and happiness to freedom and opportunity. It can lead to significant financial losses, damage a company’s reputation, and – as we have seen in Ukraine – have lasting implications on national security.

Cyber criminals are both savvy and determined, and defenders need to stay ahead in the never-ending arms race that is cybersecurity. But there is hope. Because today, cutting-edge innovations, from AI and machine learning to multifactor authentication and full-stack observability, are proving to be highly effective tools for defense. We also see that well-defended organizations around the world can gain the upper hand.

With all of this said, to truly tackle the security problem, we must work together. No single organisation or government can go it alone. Expertise, technology and threat intelligence need to be shared freely. With threat intelligence, for example, we can better understand potential threats and how to prevent them. This is also where public-private partnerships can have a huge impact. Both sectors bring unique perspectives, expertise, and incentives to the table, and by working together, we can develop more robust and effective security measures before, during and after an attack.

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco

At Cisco, we believe in an open exchange of information. Our Talos Threat Intelligence Team is a world-class collection of analysts, researchers and engineers, empowered with the best technology. When they detect an emerging threat anywhere in the world, they sound the alarm across the global security community, because we recognize the criticality of helping to raise organizations up for the good of the broader ecosystem. In fact, Cisco Talos have recently sounded the alarm on sophisticated and sustained attacks aimed at the network infrastructure that is foundational for the internet itself.

Cooperation must also extend to legislation. Cybersecurity is a global issue, and countries often have their own legal frameworks and regulations. Governments develop and enforce these laws, but the private sector has an essential role to play in education and enablement. By sharing security and tech expertise and insights with legislators, we can ensure that organisations everywhere are held to the same security standards and that cybercriminals face consistent obstacles and consequences, no matter where or whom they choose to attack.

In our highly interconnected world, no one is truly secure until everyone is. Cybersecurity has also become a class issue, with many smaller businesses, individuals, and marginalised communities falling below what we call the Security Poverty Line. Below that line, people and organizations lack the resources to protect themselves and it’s a divide that cybercriminals are only too willing to exploit.

Cisco helped to build the internet and is one of the largest and most innovative security providers on the planet. We humbly recognize the critical role we play in and duty we have to the industry, our customer and partner ecosystems, and national and local governments. We’re committed to making our technologies available to many more people around the world, closing the digital divide, creating opportunity through connection, raising businesses, people and communities above the Security
Poverty Line, and closing the cybersecurity readiness gap.

Our teams are building simple, intelligent, interoperable and platform-driven solutions, whether for
mass-scale technology companies, global enterprises, or small-to-medium-sized businesses. We will
never stop innovating to meet ever-evolving customer needs with continuing research, cutting-edge
technology and global collaboration.

With the rise in malware, ransomware, and other advanced, persistent attacks — along with the glaring headlines they can generate cybersecurity can seem overwhelming. However, I’m certain that by working together to build security resilience we can share solutions that are simpler, more effective and available to everyone who needs them.

Security is indeed a human right. One which will demand greater sharing of threat intelligence and
technology, cooperation on legislation and wider awareness that poor security for anyone is a threat
to us all. With the right strategies and collective action we can reap the benefits of a secure, connected world that is more inclusive, sustainable and full of opportunity. At Cisco, we understand the responsibility to ensure that everything that is connected is also protected, and we are committed to make the world a safer place. This will take all of us, and we welcome those who can join us in creating a more secure and inclusive future for all.

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