U.S. president Obama’s appointment last December of a cyber security co-ordinator should be mirrored by the Canadian government if it wants to raise awareness of cyber security and leverage the security expertise that exists in Canada, according to the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance).
Howard A. Schmidt was named to the White House job on Dec. 22 and is tasked with creating a U.S. network security strategy that will ensure a unified response to cyber security incidents, build partnerships between government and businesses, encourage new technologies and raise awareness of cyber security.
Canada, on the other hand, lacks a centralized effort to raise awareness and create and advance what is a solid base of security knowledge in the IT industry, said Kevin Wennekes, Ottawa-based CATA Alliance’s vice-president of research. “There are companies doing wonderful things pretty much in isolation,” said Wennekes.
“[It’s] a timely reminder given the U.S. has moved forward and that Canada should move forward on this as well,” said Wennekes.
As with the private sector, the government too has built a large community of IT specialists, but cyber security know-how is not openly shared between departments, said Wennekes.
The reason for the lack of push behind a cyber security policy in Canada, said Wennekes, is probably the relative newness of the Web, having emerged in the mid-90s and offering a very broad canvas across which IT security can potentially be applied.
But Wennekes said the government must do more, for instance, identify best practices, leverage local companies who are building world-class innovations and create a better trade environment for businesses to export technology.