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Interview: “The Internet of Things would be inconceivable without Cybersecurity.”

The Cybersecurity-Initiative Charter of Trust is a year old. An interview with Siemens’ COO and CTO Roland Busch and Chief Cybersecurity Officer Natalia Oropeza about the importance of Cybersecurity and the initiative’s progress.

The Charter of Trust was launched a year ago. What’s your assessment so far?

Roland Busch: Very good. There’s been a lot of interest from government, business and civil society. A steady stream of attacks and data leaks have shown that we need a robust framework for action in cybersecurity. Government and business need to work together here. The Charter of Trust has asked France to take up the topic during the country’s presidency of the G7. One of the points under President Emmanuel Macron’s cybersecurity strategy is working on international cybersecurity standards. So the topic has arrived at the very top levels and shows the need for cross-border cooperation.

Siemens CTO Roland Busch

Natalia Oropeza: The content has also advanced. The 16 partners have not only signed and reaffirmed the ten principles of the Charter of Trust, but also signed an agreement to keep working together in the future. One important result to emerge from this cooperation is that last October, we adopted 17 minimum requirements for the digital supply chain. These include, for example, that suppliers have to implement specific standards, procedures and methods to prevent vulnerabilities, malicious codes and security incidents in their products and services. On top of that, a number of companies have come to us and wanted to join the Charter, so we’ll soon be able to include additional partners.

 

Why does Siemens have a lead role?

Roland Busch: Since we have a lead position in industrial digitalization, we very quickly recognized that cybersecurity is an integral part of the digital revolution. The industrial Internet of Things (IoT) would be inconceivable without cybersecurity. We see how important that is to our customers every day as we work with them. They all want to advance digitalization. But without trust, it won’t work. Our digital services and products for all aspects of MindSphere in the IoT will be a success only if we can simultaneously offer the best possible protection from data theft and attacks. And that, in turn, is something we can’t guarantee by ourselves. Which is why it’s so important to join forces with partners.

Siemens intends to market cybersecurity solutions more heavily in the future. Which role will the organization around the Chief Cybersecurity Officer play here?
Natalia Oropeza: We’ll support the business units in offering high-quality cybersecurity solutions for their customers. We’re a central contact point that can benefit all our units. That way, they can all achieve the same high level of security.

Roland Busch: On top of that, we’ve pooled our technological content in our Company Core Technology for Cybersecurity. This is where experts from our businesses and Corporate Technology develop the solutions of the future for the entire company.
What challenges will we face in the coming years?

Natalia Oropeza: Attacks will keep increasing, in part also because more and more devices will be networked. That will directly affect our daily lives, and here it’s not just our personal data that will be in danger, but our way of life at home and at work. Just for example, think of autonomous cars, hospitals, energy utilities, or digital factories. So we’re working on automating cybersecurity solutions that can avert the vast majority of threats. And for that purpose we’ll also be applying various technologies like artificial intelligence to achieve prevention.

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