Better together – especially now

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

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Sophie Batas is Director for Cybersecurity at Huawei EU.

This article is part of our special report Re-connecting Europe.

Cybersecurity, like vaccines, requires the cooperation of all governments together with the right experts to deliver best practices to the Industry to keep citizens safe, writes Sophie Batas.

Sophie Batas is Director for Cybersecurity at Huawei EU.

In 2021 the world is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before – not that you’d necessarily realize that at the moment. We are still mostly locked in our own houses, with no prospect of travel anytime soon.

The current health crisis has dramatically exposed our dependencies on a virtual, connected and intelligent world. But there is a glimmer of hope – some light at the end of the tunnel – in the shape of the vaccines that are now coming on stream. Through joint collaboration across all continents, within months, and against most predictions, scientists have been able to come up with numerous vaccines against Covid-19.  How was this possible? Only through international collaboration.

In this short time, no single country would have been able to come up with a vaccine on its own. What is true for the pandemic response also applies to technology: no one is better off attempting to decouple and to undermine global supply chains, and going their own way. Less uniformity in the world’s tech architecture would lead to increased strategic competition between different countries and powers – in this case the US and China. Neither the European Union nor my own company, Huawei, would like to see this happening.

Europe in particular has a crucial role to play when it comes to balancing the US and China on technology. As a private company operating in 180 countries across the globe, Huawei is the EU’s natural industry partner, especially as the EU has an immense opportunity to cement its global influence through developing the right standards for emerging technologies.

Huawei is also aligned with European industry when it comes to ensuring highest cybersecurity and privacy standards. As the world‘s most scrutinized, verified and transparent company, Huawei excels in cybersecurity and has not had one single major cybersecurity incident in the last three decades.

The EU is currently adapting and strengthening its legal framework on cybersecurity to prepare the ground for the deployment of Artificial Intelligence into areas such as mobility or cloud computing. Huawei has top expertise in these areas and shares Europe’s values of fairness, inclusiveness and competition. This is why we participate closely in the upcoming regulatory discussions on proposals like the Network Information Security Directive (NIS2) that aims to bring the right common standards from industry to citizens.

Cybersecurity, like vaccines, requires the cooperation of all governments together with the right experts to deliver best practices to the Industry to keep citizens safe.  Like the National Security Agency’s recent guidance on a “zero trust approach” – we strongly believe that “embedded trust” actually makes us less safe. This has been exposed time and again with various cyberattacks of trusted vendors, and we expect attackers will continue to exploit a “trust-based” ICT supply chain unless the EU legislators intervene and write rules using a zero-trust mindset.

The European Way of Life will continue to inspire people around the world tomorrow if today, the right policy actions are taken. We at Huawei stand ready to make our contribution as we want Europe to build its strategic autonomy to play its rightful role in tomorrow’s intelligent and interconnected world.

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