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Friday, 27 November 2020 16:18

Forcepoint official welcomes PM's decision on cyber-security role Featured

Nick Savvides: "Today’s economy and society depended on digitisation, with every organisation being a technology organisation." Nick Savvides: "Today’s economy and society depended on digitisation, with every organisation being a technology organisation." Supplied

A senior official from the Australian arm of Forcepoint, an American multinational security software developer, has welcomed the news that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will create a cyber security role in his cabinet when he carries out a reshuffle next month.

Nick Savvides, Forcepoint’s senior director for Strategic Business in the APAC region, said: “The promotion of cyber security to a cabinet role is a long awaited and important move, recognising that it touches all aspects of modern society. It follows not just from the elevation of cyber to its own command in defence circles, but also from the elevation to being a board-level consideration in the corporate world."

Forcepoint is owned by American weapons manufacturer Raytheon and is headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Australia had a dedicated cyber security minister when Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister, with first Dan Tehan, and later Angus Taylor, filling the role.

Since Morrison became prime minister after defeating Peter Dutton in a leadership contest in 2018, there has been no separate minister for this portfolio.

The Opposition, under Bill Shorten, had Ed Husic, probably the best educated politician when it comes to technology, handling the role. But once Anthony Albanese ascended to the role of leader, there has been no cyber security shadow minister.

Morrison plans to appoint a dedicated person to handle cyber security from within the Department of Home Affairs.

Savvides said today’s economy and society depended on digitisation, with every organisation being a technology organisation.

"This was highlighted during the pandemic, with the governments and companies who had the most advanced digital programs being able to respond the fastest to continue to deliver services to their citizens and customers," he pointed out.

"With the entire economy depending on digital [infrastructure], cyber security has become a front-of-house function. Whether you are selling beers in a pub, extracting minerals in the desert, or contact tracing in a health department, you are dependent on digital technology to function, making it an attractive target for malicious actors.

"Digital systems depend on trust, integrity and availability. Cyber criminals and nation states alike now focus on these digital pathways to achieve their aims, whether it’s financial or political and service disruption.

"Businesses, public services and governments can be widely disrupted or even shut down with sophisticated cyber-attacks, making cyber security absolutely key to ensuring a functioning society."

Savvides drew a parallel between the roles of chief information officer and chief information security officer.

"Like the CIO before them who moved from the shadows into being a key business leader, the CISO has been thrust forward, and it is time that cyber security moves out of the shadows of government and became its own cabinet role," he said.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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