Siemens was born in Germany, grew up in Europe, and is at home in the world. We are proud to do business in nearly every country across the globe. For it not only gives us a unique perspective into the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century; it drives our belief that we must contribute to solutions that improve society.
Our 171 years of experience have also shown us 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.
Digital industry is moving forward. There’s no turning back. The advantages of combining the physical world of manufacturing products, producing energy, optimizing a building or operating a train with the virtual world of software, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence are simply too significant to ignore. This is already enabling our customers to do bigger things than would have once seemed possible in terms of speed, flexibility, efficiency, reliability and connectivity.
Yet now we must face the risks inherent in the emerging digital revolution head on. We know that criminal actors are increasingly focused on hacking into digitalized critical infrastructure. Their techniques are becoming more sophisticated. For every business and critical infrastructure organization, cyber attacks are growing, round-the-clock reality.
Our 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.
The most important thing of all though is that we work together. We need a Charter of Trust because we need a global strategy to detect and respond to major attacks, and a model instant response plan for the riskiest sectors of our economy such as energy. Both of these efforts require a collaborative approach among businesses, governments, and regulators. Data doesn’t stop at borders; cybersecurity efforts can’t stop there either.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that the Charter of Trust is really a starting point. Today we also extend an invitation to companies that share our ambition and ownership for trust to join our initiative. We also invite governments and civic leaders to engage in a focused dialogue around the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. Because trust not only matters to everyone; ultimately it’s everyone’s task to make both the real and the digital worlds safer places for all of us.
To date, the digital economy has evolved faster than cybersecurity. Now we will change course. Going forward, we will help ensure they evolve together.
A special thanks to our 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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