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Stronger Global Governance Framework Needed to Protect Against Emerging Cyber Risks

Posted May 04, 2015

Global cyber governance is one of the key challenges facing businesses and a more robust regulatory framework is needed to address the threats posed by new technologies, according to a report by Zurich Insurance Group and the Esade Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics.

While emerging technologies such as drones, 3-D printing and self-driving cars are fundamentally changing the nature of cyber risk, the report contends that current regulation and governance regimes in place globally are inadequate to ensure the security of the world’s cyber infrastructure.

“At one end of the spectrum, where governance deals mainly with technical issues and relies on a multi-stakeholder model, governance is effective,” the report says. “At the other end of the spectrum, which includes the realm of threats like cyber warfare and state-sponsored sabotage, effective global governance is completely lacking. Between these two extremes is a ‘gray zone’ where interests of industry, governments and individuals, global governance models and organizational cultures coincide. This middle zone offers a promising place to start to work to encourage effective international efforts.”

Companies in almost all sectors are exposed to cyber threats with the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of reputation and physical losses, liabilities, and regulatory costs. Unchecked, these cyber threats could severely affect technical and economic development globally.

“The nature of cyber security is evolving so quickly it can be difficult for businesses to keep track of the risks let alone the solutions,” said Mike Kerner, CEO of General Insurance for Zurich. “It is very clear that businesses that want to protect themselves from cyber security and privacy risks must adopt a mindset of resilience.”

The report aims to provide a detailed study on the state of the global governance of cyber security. It assesses the current and evolving nature of cyber risk, examines the existing global governance framework, and proposes new paths to tackle the current disorder in cyberspace. Based on a detailed mapping of the rules, institutions and procedures that form the current global cyber governance framework, the report highlights opportunities for the private sector, civil society and policy makers to improve the current situation and facilitate the mitigation of cyber threats.

Recommendations to policymakers include the creation of a Cyber Stability Board to strengthen global institutions and insulate them from geopolitical tensions, and the creation of a cyber alert system based on the model of the World Health Organization (WHO) to enhance crisis management.

Click here to download the report.