The CCCS Needs to Do More

The CCCS Needs to Do More

CCCS needs to do more to diversify and deepen its cyber talent pipeline. The centre needs to improve public direction and outreach to these critical sectors. It needs to partner with the private sector to broaden its cyber security expertise pipeline. And it needs to expand its outreach and training to these sectors. These are just a few of the issues the CCCS must address. What else is needed?


It must partner with the private sector


Canada’s fledgling cybersecurity centre must take its role as a bridge between the public and private sectors to the next level. The Centre must increase its visibility in the cybersecurity ecosystem by cooperating with private sector experts and establishing its presence as a support system. It also needs to make the public aware of its existence and work closely with the private sector to ensure that the public is protected.


CCCS has been created three years ago, but is only just beginning to gain a foothold among government institutions. It is the public face of the Communications Security Establishment, which provides cybersecurity advice to governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and the private sector. But the agency must do more to support Canada’s businesses and ensure that they are protected against cyber threats. This new mandate provides an opportunity to outline new strategic cybersecurity priorities.


In addition to training private organizations on cybersecurity, CCCS should work with critical sectors to improve cyber-resilience. Eighty per cent of Canada’s critical national infrastructure is owned by private companies. Government-supported leadership and instruction will increase the country’s cyber-resilience. Additionally, it should educate critical infrastructure organizations on how to update their systems. Historically, these sectors relied on operational technology for their operations.


It must diversify, deepen and expand the cyber security pipeline of talent


The rapidly advancing digital landscape is creating an increasingly sophisticated cyber threat. The rise of internet-connected devices ranging from cars and thermostats to healthcare systems and critical infrastructure is creating new opportunities for cybercriminals. While most Canadians rely on encryption to protect their online communications, the emergence of quantum computing and related technologies will undermine traditional encryption methods and require quantum-resistant encryption. Canada’s fledgling cybersecurity centre must diversify, deepen and expand its cyber security talent pipeline to meet the demands of Canada’s digital economy.


To take advantage of this growth opportunity, Canada’s government must diversify, deepen and expand its cyber security research and development infrastructure. This will enable it to capitalize on emerging areas of Canadian excellence, such as quantum computing and blockchain technologies. The Government of Canada has announced a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy that will support research and develop innovative solutions that can benefit small and mid-sized organizations. The Government of Canada must also support initiatives to foster Canadian cybersecurity talent and to increase the diversity of Canadian bidders.


A lack of qualified cyber security workers is a major barrier to innovation in Canada. The federal government has to make significant investments in education and research to attract more talent to the sector. For example, the Canadian Chamber recently published an open letter calling on the federal government to increase its investments in cybersecurity. The panel included representatives of Cyber. Right. Now., Field Effect, and Forward Security. The Chamber noted that cyberattacks had increased by 151% in the first half of 2021, with a corresponding $540 million in economic damage.


While Canadians should be proud of their strong cybersecurity foundation and the fact that many global companies have a Canadian headquarters, the federal government’s upcoming budget does not reflect the importance of developing cybersecurity talent in Canada. Despite the new federal government’s commitment to cybersecurity, it failed to make specific investments that will benefit businesses in the country. The federal government’s cybersecurity budget will focus on improving government IT infrastructure, but will not make specific commitments to boost the country’s cyber security workforce.


While the government’s efforts to improve cybersecurity are admirable, the country’s small and medium enterprises face similar challenges as their large counterparts. Many do not recognize that their data is vulnerable to cyber threats and have no effective methods to protect themselves. This asymmetry is a key issue that requires addressing. Governments can do so by increasing access to cyber security information and training, while helping Canadian organizations adopt digital technologies.


To be successful, the government should lead the way in cybersecurity. Through its extensive relationships with the private and public sectors, the federal government can influence the international cyber security environment. It should also work with its allies and partners to raise Canada’s cyber security standards. By collaborating, the government can ensure the security of all Canadians. This requires a concerted effort across all sectors.

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