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ECSO looks back at a successful year and sets the scene for a cyber 2022

ECSO looks back at a successful year and sets the scene for a cyber 2022

With 2021 coming to an end, ECSO Secretary General Luigi Rebuffi reflects on the successes, challenges and changes that have characterised the cybersecurity landscape in 2021 and prepares the floor to protect Europe’s digital transition and strengthen its position in the global cybersecurity arena in 2022.

It has been said already many times this year that COVID-19 accelerated the digital transition with its baggage of cyber threats (not only linked to remote connections). In 2021, beyond frauds at different levels of society, beyond the information pollution due to fake news and beyond the more traditional attacks, we have seen cyber-crime getting increasingly organised in gangs and striking with activities like RaaS (Ransomware as a Service). We believe that Cyber Threat Intelligence will grow in importance to face and possibly anticipate these threats.

We can expect exciting times in 2022, when ECSO will play a key role in supporting the European Commission with the implementation, development and orchestration of the European Cybersecurity Community. This Community, already started by ECSO in 2016, will be further developed in the frame of the European Cybersecurity Centre in Bucharest and the National Coordination Centres. This new European approach will help the maturity of the full European cybersecurity ecosystem and will be strengthened with new initiatives and legislations, such as the NIS2 and the secure ID policy.

But this year ECSO has proven to be an organisation that goes well beyond the simple advocacy and support to policies. In 2021, we have reached many important milestones with our six working groups and related initiatives, providing concrete added value to European stakeholders.

Our Working Group on Standardisation, Certification and Supply Chain Management has started participating at the ENISA SCCG on certification and has worked on product composition and approaches to certify systems and services.

Our Working Group on Market Deployment, Investments and International Collaboration has seen a remarkable increase of investors participating in its activities, has delivered its first ECSO STARtup Award and continued the Cyber Investor Days for matchmaking between SMEs and potential investors. Later this year, we started a study with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which would lead by end of next year to the creation of a European Cybersecurity Investment Platform with a budget of €1bln.

Following the conclusions of the survey report from CISOs of different applications, our Working Group on Cyber Resilience of Economy, Infrastructure & Services will be developing the Community of Verticals and European CISOs Community in 2022.

In terms of support to SMEs, coordination with countries and regions, our Working Group 4 has seen an increasing number of SME becoming ECSO Members, and successfully launched the CYBERSECURITY MADE IN EUROPE Label, a new marketing tool to promote European cybersecurity companies and increase their visibility on the European and on the global market. Last but not least, we at ECSO have also started the development of a dedicated European network of EDIH specialised in cybersecurity which will see the light later in 2022.

When it comes to Education, Training, Awareness and Cyber Ranges, ECSO has successfully raised awareness on the most pressing topics for cybersecurity in 2021 with its newly launched Cybersecurity Awareness Calendar, collecting each month contributions from ECSO Members and the wider cybersecurity community. This initiative has been so remarkable that it will be continued in 2022. Among other main activities in this Working Group, we launched the Cyber Ranges Call to Action to federate the European Community in this domain, conducted great work on the Minimum Reference Curriculum and continued to support gender inclusiveness via our Women4Cyber Foundation, which created 11 national chapters across Europe and published of a book on 100+ role model cyber-women.

At last, our Working Group on SRIA and Cyber Security Technologies has defined priorities for the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe Programmes, also mapping those more relevant to short term issues linked to recovery (post COVID-19) and resilience issues, as well as looking at increased strategic autonomy.

This year, the ECSO Team welcomed its new Chairperson, Secunet’s CEO Axel Deininger, and celebrated all the contributions brought by its former Chairperson Philippe Vannier, from ATOS, whose work has made ECSO what it is today.

Community has always played a key role in ECSO, and we would not have been able to celebrate all of these achievements without our Members. The ECSO family continues to grow, with now more than 280 Members, and counting. We look forward continuing the work with them and welcoming more cybersecurity players to work together to support the development of an increasingly autonomous, digital and cybersecure Europe.

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