Digitalization breeds the need for data and connected devices. Trusted connections and data are required for success. Siemens invited a diverse group of press, analysts, podcasters, and bloggers to Munich this week (November 26-28) to discuss cybersecurity and the Charter of Trust.

I will use the words of Siemens below to discuss the rationale for the Charter of Trust. However the idea is that if users cannot trust their data and connections, they will never go further into digitalization and therefore not realize the anticipated benefits.

Some of the analysts and others in the conference had trouble understanding how something seemingly vague and not specifically standards-based would work. I think they missed the point. First, standards are good, but they take a long time to develop. What was needed was not another new standard. What is needed is for many companies to agree to a set of principles and then commonly work toward them for the mutual benefit of the industry, users, and society.

Eva Schulz-Kamm, Global Head of Government Affairs at Siemens AG, and Rainer Zahner, Global Head of Cybersecurity Governance at Siemens told us the digital world is changing everything. Billions of devices are connected by the Internet of things. That holds great potential for everyone, but also great risk. The risk of exposure to cyber-attacks. The risk of losing control over the systems that run our infrastructures. Cybersecurity is therefore crucial to the success of our digital economy – because only if the security of data and networked systems is guaranteed will people actively support the digital transformation. Then explained why Siemens has initiated the Charter of Trust.

Siemens’ 171 years of experience have also shown that the best way to make a lasting difference isn’t as one company, but as an industry – not only as one nation, but as part of a global community. In modern history, competitor businesses have forged standards together that have carried the world from one industrial revolution to the next – including the unfolding digital transformation of industry. Countries without clear-cut geopolitical alliances have come together to forge cross-border agreements that grow trade and advance peace.

It’s in this spirit that Siemens launched the Charter of Trust earlier this year at the at the Munich Security Conference, a longstanding forum for business and government leaders to discuss geopolitical issues. Since then, several more global companies saw the value of the Charter of Trust, and signed on. These companies committed to create the first-of-its-kind global alliance focused on answering a very important question: How do we secure critical infrastructure – from our factories to our power grids – in the digital age?

We also are carrying an important message together: that when we talk about security today, it isn’t just about diplomacy and resolving military conflicts – it is increasingly about cyber attacks that seek to undermine our democratic and economic values.

The Charter of Trust then begins with these three goals:

  • protecting the data and assets of individuals and businesses;
  • preventing damage to people, businesses, and infrastructures;
  • building a reliable basis for trust in a connected and digital world.

“We know at the outset that a one-size fits all approach won’t work. We have instead agreed to 10 principles – from ensuring the highest levels of responsibility for cybersecurity within every company, to securing supply chains, products, and working with governments. Together, we will develop and continuously improve coordinated strategies and shared standards to protect critical infrastructures, public facilities and private companies.”

Charter of Trust members: The AES Corporation, Airbus, Allianz, Atos, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Enel, IBM, Munich Security Conference, NXP Semiconductors, SGS,. Deutsche Telekom, Total and TÜV SÜD.

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