On 17 September 2014, NATO launched a formal initiative to boost significantly cooperation with the private sector on cyber threats and challenges. The NATO Industry Cyber Partnership (NICP) was presented to some 1500 Industry leaders and policy makers at NATO's largest cyber conference in Mons, Belgium.
The NICP was endorsed at NATO's Wales Summit by the 28 Allies. It recognises the importance of working with industry partners to enable the Alliance to achieve its cyber defence policy's objectives.
"Technological innovation and expertise from the private sector are crucial," said Ambassador Sorin Ducaru in presenting the initiative, "Collaboration with Industry, through the NICP, is an essential way of enhancing our cyber resilience."
At the Summit, NATO's Heads of State and Government stated that "cyber attacks can reach a threshold that threatens national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability".
Among others, the NICP will:
Improve cyber security in NATO's defence supply chain;
Raise mutual understanding and awareness of cyber threats and risks, including through information sharing;
Contribute to the Alliance's efforts in cyber defence education, training and exercises;
Improve sharing of best practices and expertise on preparedness and recovery;
Help NATO and Allies to learn from industry.
"This is about building an alliance with Industry, and the key is building trust - to share sensitive information in order to respond to threats," said Koen Gijsbers, General Manager of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, responsible for operating and defending NATO's networks.
At the event, practical examples of how such partnerships are already in practice in the Nations that put forward this initiative – Estonia, Netherlands and United Kingdom – were presented by senior national representatives.
One specific proposal was an innovation hub that would actively encourage the involvement of small and medium sized enterprises in the partnership.
"This is a first step, and we are now looking to our Industry and Allies to come with specific ideas for how much, how far, how deep we can go," stressed Ambassador Ducaru.
The launch of the NICP is a clear demonstration that NATO and Industry can work effectively together - sharing information, experience and expertise to counter cyber threats.