2016 New Zealand Budget
The global economic impact of cyber threats is estimated as being over USD$1 trillion. This number is expected to at least double within the next three years according to the World Economic Forum. A huge number, it comprises both direct impact from damages and losses, and the economic value of the opportunity costs, compromised through the loss of resilience and trust.
Ninety-six percent of Kiwi businesses rely on the internet and technology for their day to day activities. Estimates show that we could add over $34 billion to our economy if we used the internet more effectively.1
Taken in this vein, cyber is a platform for business growth and innovation. This year’s Budget sees $22.2 million allocated to establish a national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). This is a major development for New Zealand because it delivers a strong message by government on the importance of cyber resilience for our nation. We welcome this commitment as it provides the much needed investment to build a platform for collaboration, intelligence sharing and effective response to the cyber attacks that affect our nation – all of which are crucial to helping Kiwis and our businesses be secure, vigilant and resilient.
While it is tempting to see the CERT as the silver bullet that solves the cyber problem, it’s important that we are realistic about what the CERT is there to do, and what it will not do. Essentially, the CERT provides a public-private partnership based platform to help our businesses know more about the threats we really face, get help when we are under attack and contribute to a wider information base so we can all learn from the good and not so good experiences we may face in cyberspace.
However, the CERT and government can only do so much. As our lives become increasingly digital, many of the major priorities for New Zealanders – whether they be – the desire to harness more data and analytics to improve citizen outcomes through social investment; bettering learning and student achievement through digital platforms; making New Zealand a high tech innovation hub by leveraging Kiwi ingenuity and resourcefulness; or making our critical infrastructure and key economic contributors more resilient in the interconnected world – are reliant on a healthy, safe and secure cyberspace.
We all have our parts to play in making this a reality – as individuals and collectively. On a personal level, we need to develop our own cyber intelligence 2. It is now a critical life skill, which provides for our wellbeing and enables us to partake of and contribute to social and economic opportunities; and reap the benefits of our economy and freedoms.
As a nation, we need to build off of the foundations we already have. We need to continue to develop a diverse and sustainable pool of cyber talent blending policy, law, business, psychology and technical skills. We need to harness our creativity to incubate and develop innovative solutions. Most importantly, we need to embed a lasting shift to the way we think about cyber so that we move beyond the traditional modes of only viewing it as a risk, or a problem that we can finitely solve. Instead, we should recognise cyber as a required ongoing capability of the world we now live in and embrace it as a platform for growth. The more accomplished we become in this capability, the more we can be in control of our individual and national destinies.
For us, the Budget allocation for the CERT is more exciting than just being about the establishment of the CERT. It echoes our perspective that as a nation, we recognise and are investing in cyber resilience as being at the heart of powering our future economic growth and the ongoing wellbeing of our people.
1 Statistics from Connect Smart – www.connectsmart.govt.nz
2 “Five essential steps to improve cybersecurity” – www.deloitte.com/nz/cybersecurity