Government support for security needed: report

The Canadian security industry is a sector with huge growth opportunities if industry lea-ders and government work together, according to the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), in a report released during a recent meeting in Toronto.

Between April and May 2003, CATA constructed a database that listed the 698 security firms based in the country and surveyed them about the state of the Canadian security industry. The resulting report was authored by Jean-Guy Rens, the executive director of CATA. He said the survey was commissioned after the U.S. Consulate in Canada requested information about the state of the Canadian security industry, and CATA realized no such data was available.

In it’s report, CATA said the government needs to be more proactive to encourage transparency in reporting security incidents – California just passed a law stating that when a company has a security breach, it must notify its clients – and ensure these standards are supported within the Canadian industry.

While CATA is not saying that laws of California’s magnitude need to be passed, transparency is one key issue that needs to be addressed. However, the best means of addressing these issues are not yet clear – whether the industry should drive it through best practices or if government should do it through legislation.

The government also needs to clarify accountability for all parties in regards to security, and foster an environment of cooperation between industry, academic, and government. There are few educational programs dedicated to IT security – the exception being a master’s program at Concordia University College of Alberta in Edmonton. Courses at the undergraduate level are scattered through more than 700 IT programs.

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