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The oft-forgotten ingredient we need to achieve cyber security

Story by
Julio Kongyu

Julio Kongyu

Vice-President of Huawei's European Public Affairs and Communication Office

Being secure and feeling secure are two different things – and they both matter

No man is an island, the saying goes. The English poet John Donne, who first coined it, thought that human beings do badly when isolated from their contemporaries, and necessarily depend on one another. In our modern, digitalised and globalised world, this is truer than ever, and we could certainly add that no business, industry or organisation is an island.

Take for instance your smartphone: whatever its brand may be, its components are likely to come from the all over the world. The supply chain is global – but so are the threats; and the more progress we achieve in exciting new fields such as AI, the IoT or connected cars, the deeper the impact when something goes wrong.

The bad news first: 100 % security is not possible. The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do to come ever closer to that figure.

The European Commission first developed a common approach to cybersecurity 15 years ago with the creation of ENISA. Since then, European policymaking in this area has been gathering speed, also making data privacy considerations a crucial part of its approach, thanks to the globally acclaimed GDPR.

At the same time, cybersecurity has evolved into an aspect that is so crucial to the European industry ecosystem that it has started to become mainstreamed into virtually every cross-sector collaboration initiative.

This progress in European cybersecurity has been matched by efforts to strengthen global collaboration in this field, with the ITU being designated as a facilitator in 2007 by world leaders.

Interestingly, building confidence was spelled out as an ITU objective in this field that is equal to and complementary with the notion of building security.

We want to believe

One might want to consider confidence as a natural outcome of improved security and privacy protection, but it is important to keep in mind that a perceived threat is enough to hold back vital developments and throttle ecosystem innovation.

At Huawei, being possibly the most scrutinised company in the world, we have developed an approach to cybersecurity that covers three key aspects:

  1. The development of technology, contributing to a safer digital environment;
  2. Our end-to-end cybersecurity strategy, ensuring that cybersecurity is built into every single aspect of our company; and
  3. A commitment to transparency, enabling all interested parties to test and verify our products.

Huawei has made an unwavering commitment to work with partners in Europe and elsewhere to create a safe and transparent cyber environment. We warmly welcome the progress achieved in Europe, globally and among the industries, thanks to which innovation can thrive without losing control of the outcomes.

To make it easier for our European partners to collaborate with Huawei in an environment of fact-based trust and security, Huawei will be opening a Transparency Centre in Brussels in early 2019. This will serve as an exhibition space dedicated to cybersecurity and privacy, but also allow customers to test our products and to remotely check our source code.

Our ambition is to achieve the highest level of transparency about our work, and to pull our weight as a trusted member of Europe’s thriving digital ecosystem.

I believe that it is by continuously raising the bar and joining forces on security that we will achieve an environment we can trust, because we know that it has been built with security in mind at every step of the process. Doing so is an absolute prerequisite to unleashing Europe’s digital growth potential.

Our approach to cyber security - find out more