#CyberFLASH: Ottawa should create cyber threat advisory committee, says security lawyer

keyboardThe federal government should follow Washington’s lead and create an advisory committee of experts on national cybersecurity — announced yesterday — including both the public and private sector, says a security lawyer.

“I do believe that Canada would benefit from a similar setup where the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Defence and the Prime Minister could get input and recommendations from a panel made up of experts/stakeholders from the private, public, law enforcement and academic sectors,” Imran Ahmad of the firm Cassels Brock, who also sits on the advisory board of the Canadian Advanced Technologies Alliance’s (CATA) Cyber Security Council, said in an interview.

Ottawa “would benefit from a holistic view on cybersecurity threats to Canada that are affecting Canadians on a daily basis and that go beyond a narrow national security lens.

His view was echoed by Kevin Wennekes, CATA’s chief business officer, who said creating a public-private sector advisory committee is “long overdue,” he said. The security industry “is the the first to know of the threats,” he said.

Satyamoorthy Kabilan, director of national security and strategic foresight at the Conference Board of Canada, said such a commission could be a good idea here. But he added, it wouldn’t be as easy as in the U.S. or Britain, where the public and private sectors are closer. Before coming to Canada Kabilan helped develop the U.K.’s National Counter Terrorism Strategy and has worked on security with other allies and knows how this country compares. “We haven’t even broken the ground to enable looking at the potential for something like that, because those relationships and the ability of the private sector to be a part of all of these discussions and part of the input into policy and decisions in the security sphere is not quite as well developed in Canada.”

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#CyberFLASH: Canadian survey aims to improve data on state of cyber security here

91910728One of the country’s biggest IT lobby groups is trying to put hard numbers on the state of cyber security in Canada.

The cyber council of Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) released a 30-point questionnaire Monday for C-level executives and managers to fill in gaps in data before it goes to Ottawa, the provinces and the private sector to marshal weapons in the war against cyber attackers.

The goal “is to raise the level of dialogue around cyber security in Canada,” Katherine Thompson, a CATA vice-president and chair of its cyber council, said in an interview. “Our council believes we need more active dialogue around the issue. We need to see more private and public sector collaboration.”

Missing are things like “what are labor really market looks like,” she said. There’s a shortage of skilled IT security talent but there’s not a lot of data about how hard or easy organizations feel it is to recruit.

“Another area is the economic development side,” she added. “A lot of countries like the U.S., the U.K. and Israel have cyber security ambassadors who not only spread the mandate of the country as it relates to cyber security but also are looking to promote and elevate the profile of the SMBs in the country and what some of the innovation is. We don’t really have that.”

Survey questions include listing the barriers that prevent the timely and efficient sharing of cyber threat information in Canada, whether current laws and regulations restrict the sharing of cyber threat information, if the organization has an incident response team, it if is confident that it has the appropriate level of technology, people and processes to provide the required level of security for its operations and the data it holds, and rating Canada and government leaders’ level of commitment and leadership in cyber security.

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