Dell plans major industry cybersecurity initiative

Jim Stikeleather, Dell's chief technology officer, gave a keynote speech at the EastWest Institute (EWI) worldwide security conference in Brussels on Wednesday and Infosecurity had the chance to interview the industry veteran.

According to Stikeleather, who joined Perot Systems in 2006 and, after leaving, rejoined the company about eight months ago – as the Dell acquisition was being prepared – there are three potentially major problems with the internet and security.

The first, he said, is that users on the internet have to be accountable to each other, and not just rely on their corporate IT managers to defend their security.

The second is what the reasonable, prudent person can be expected to do to defend their IT systems and internet connections.

The third is the risk/reward ratio of cybercrime on the internet, with criminals potentially grabbing large amounts of money from their online crimes, but with minimal chances of being detected, let alone arrested.

"Because of these issues, we have got to get the governments of the world to understand the need for rules and legislation that will level the playing field between the users of the internet and the cybercriminals", he said.

Stikeleather says that, against this backdrop, cyberspace needs defending and, because of this, he wants to set to set up an industry initiative that works with governments to create a more secure internet.

Everyone, he says, needs to work together on this, as the consequences of the internet being shut down for just one day could cost companies very large sums of money.

"No one vendor can pull this off. It has to be an industry initiative and that was the focus of my speech on Wednesday. As a vendor, we can supply the technology to make the internet work better, but we also need for the internet to thrive", he said.

Along with Dell's cybersecurity initiative, Stikeleather says that it has to be the end user and not the IT manager that must be vigilant in the way they go about their business in cyberspace.

The EWI initiative, he explained, marks a bid to encourage governments around the world to mobilise co-operative approaches to cybersecurity.

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