Connecting and helping parties with expertise in the field of cyber security in the Netherlands: that is what the dcypher collaboration platform will ensure. This is important, because digital crimes such as data leaks, hacks and DDoS attacks are becoming more frequent and more drastic. Ben Voorhorst, formerly COO of TenneT, is one of the board members. "The whole ecosystem of cyber security has to be in order."
Voorhorst worked for TenneT, the operator of the national electricity grid, until early 2021. He recognised the importance of cyber security at an early stage. "Before the liberalisation of the energy market in the late 1990s, IT played a major role. Grid managers and suppliers were disconnected. This necessitated a structured, reliable and secure data exchange between all those different parties. For example, with encryption and digital signatures."
Safety and reliability are also deeply woven into TenneT's DNA. "The grid must always be up and running to ensure security of supply. But in principle it is not designed for deliberate sabotage. In the past 15 years, however, this has become increasingly important. We're constantly trying to keep all the back doors shut."
Ecosystem in order
According to Voorhorst, cyber security is an increasingly important theme for the Netherlands as a whole. "Countries that manage to embed digitisation in the economy and society can keep up internationally. For this, the entire ecosystem of cyber security must be in order. Think of companies specialised in cyber security, such as start-ups that operate close to universities and offer a new product or service based on a bright idea. But also organisations on the user side. They too need to know what cyber security is all about. On both sides we need expert professionals and we need to educate enough students focused on cyber issues that will be relevant in five years' time."
Both the government and the business community can provide an impetus to raise cyber security to a higher level, Voorhorst argues. "The government can act as a launching customer because of the very high security requirements around classified information, for example. And why couldn't the government be the initiator of a digital passport for all Dutch citizens?" In addition, Voorhorst points to sectors that we already know are on the brink of massive digitalisation. "Healthcare is one example. How can we focus on cyber security in the coming years? What is needed and how can we set up a community for this?"
Building communities, providing insight into funding opportunities and cooperating within the ecosystem of cyber security: that is what dcypher will focus on. "We want to bring parties into contact with each other and point them towards subsidy opportunities. For those who want to do something with cyber security, there is a lot of money available, certainly at European level. Form consortia focused on the issues of today and the future. That cooperation is necessary. The recent hacks show the need for it."
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