President & CEO, Information Technology Association of Canada
Cybersecurity is often described as a ‘team sport’ within organizations as it’s not simply an IT issue. Rather everyone has responsibilities in ensuring effective cybersecurity. In the words of eSentire President and COO J. Paul Haynes, whose company specializes in managed cybersecurity detection and response, “The threat is between the keyboard and the screen.” From senior executives accountable for managing the risk and allocating resources, to managers responsible for their staff and the protection of data and information systems in their charge, to employees required to comply with security policies and ensure, security of the information systems and data they handle, everyone has a role to play on the team.
Similarly, at the national level, cybersecurity is a team sport. No single government entity, industry, or institution can address the national cybersecurity challenges alone — the threats are too pervasive and the costs are too high to not work together. Canada needs to have the right players with the right mix of capabilities to properly address the most pressing cybersecurity issues. Leadership from all levels of government, in collaboration with industry, non-profit, and academic sectors, ensures that we have the diverse perspectives, required expertise, and resources needed.
At the nexus of government, industry, and academia, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), a non-profit industry association representing over 300 technology firms in Canada, is working with key players within the cybersecurity ecosystem to help tackle some of Canada’s national cybersecurity challenges. These challenges include assessing the human implications and vulnerabilities of new technologies, accelerating knowledge mobilization to the educational community (which has generally not kept pace with technological change), and addressing a workforce shortage that goes beyond cybersecurity specialists and extends to IT and other professionals (including business managers, financial analysts, and others) who aren’t adequately prepared for today’s cyber realities.
Canada needs to have the right players with the right mix of capabilities to properly address the most pressing cybersecurity issues.
As a subset of the larger national dialogue on responsible tech, ITAC, together with industry, government, and academic partners, is spearheading collaborative engagement and action on critical issues such as addressing the cybersecurity talent gap, facilitating cybersecurity standards discussions, developing pragmatic approaches to municipal cybersecurity challenges, supporting increased cyber resilience of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and exploring the implications of artificial intelligence on cybersecurity. As a key player on a strong national team, ITAC is helping ensure Canada can meet the current and future cybersecurity challenges and helping to increase our national cyber resilience.
Canada has hundreds of world-leading cybersecurity companies providing products and services to customers globally. We have a role to play in this incredible growth industry.