As Europe absorbs the news that the United Kingdom (UK) has voted to leave the European Union (EU), questions inevitably rise around the impact this decision will have on our profession. During the campaign running up to the vote, I fielded several queries from journalists on the relevance of pending European regulation, and whether the UK would undermine its ability to face cyber threat if voters chose to leave.
In or out, I believed, our professional challenges would be unaffected by the result. Earlier this month, as the referendum debates headed into the final weeks, these thoughts were reinforced as London played host to Infosecurity Europe, our region’s largest information security event. This year, the show attracted nearly 14,000 delegates from 80 different countries.
On the (ISC)2 stand, we heard from (ISC)2 members and other delegates alike that it seemed particularly vibrant this year, with many of the largest stands on the exhibition floor having been the start-ups featured in the innovators section not so long ago. The sessions reflected very current concerns that were being debated around the world. The many sessions that were focussed on European issues were very well attended, including one on the last day presented by the president of our (ISC)2 Germany Chapter Rainer Rehm.
Now that the referendum results are in, I believe the Brexit vote will serve to highlight our profession’s value as that vibrant international community. Our challenges and (therefore) inherent instincts have motivated levels of co-operation that already transcend national boundaries and politics. There is no reason to believe that this will come to an end, or even be significantly interrupted by the UK’s political decision to leave the European Union.
Practicing professionals in the UK and across Europe have at least two years ahead of them to understand the practicalities that will affect their day-to-day job. Also, there’s a good chance that quite a lot of what was anticipated over this time will not change. The need in the UK to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, will remain the same, as we can expect UK businesses to continue handling EU citizen data. The march of technical innovation will continue to shape the challenges we face on the front lines. Indeed, we all understand that threats and attacks are international. We as a community have evolved to become incredibly influential in raising the profile of key developments and risks, the shaping of standards, and organizing events and forums that bring this community together at national, regional and international levels.
Looking again to Infosecurity Europe, we have observed that this show has become an important forum for our members to meet. We know of nearly 1,000 who made themselves known at registration and anticipate there were many, many more.
Day two referred to as ‘Member Day’ by the (ISC)2 EMEA team played host to a meeting of chapter leaders and our EMEA Advisory Council members, who had travelled from Switzerland, Algeria, Kuwait, France, Croatia, Germany and various corners of the UK. The discussions covered our members’ readiness to manage GDPR, gaps in the existing security discussion around IoT and proposals to enhance our ability to share experience across our region’s network of 32 chapters. Our member reception later that day featured an interactive Town Hall discussion with about 200 attendees where our CEO David Shearer discussed new tools, programmes and benefits to help our global membership develop their skills, elevate the discussions we have with business, and serve as ambassadors to society.
Information security is appreciated as an international concern. The way we behave and the work we do as a profession already ensures that the standards and practices required to face these concerns account for differences in markets and regulatory expectations. I’m confident that, as a community, information security professionals right across Europe will continue to work together.
--Dr. Adrian Davis, CISSP, managing director, EMEA, (ISC)²