By Tim Mitchell
When the Global Cyber Alliance was set up (unbelievably, it’s been a year), I was invited to contribute a blog post and I’ve recently realised with horror, that I haven’t done so. I’m not sure why, because after all, the subject we agreed on was ‘collaboration’ … and in truth, there’s nothing easier nor more logical to write about.
The GCA represents an outstanding example of collaboration. Close collaboration is the only way to fight cybercrime effectively. Not only at global level, but at country level, at agency level and at micro-level – between individual citizens and colleagues in offices. It enables bodies of experts, enforcers and educators to combine and engage with and persuade their audiences with authority and cohesion. It leads to virtual teams being formed, which, like any team, play to their members’ strengths and support each other. It presents a united front against fraudsters, hackers and abusers. It builds confidence, both within and outside the collaborative community. It enables a strong voice and robust lobbying.
When I think of the levels of collaboration that we achieve at Get Safe Online, it’s staggering. So who do we collaborate with, and how?
Firstly, there’s the British Government, from whom we receive a proportion of our operational funding. But this represents a considerably more in-depth relationship than merely a financial one. The Government has a very powerful cyber agenda with the objective of making Britain a safe place to live, work and conduct business in, and we share this agenda through robust links and collaboration with the Home Office, Cabinet Office and DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport).
There’s law enforcement. We enjoy mutually advantageous working links with GCA founder member the City of London Police. The force’s Commander Chris Greany – the national police lead for economic crime – is also Chair of our Steering Group. We also have a close working relationship with the National Crime Agency and its specialist sub-agencies. We work closely with many of the UK’s 43 police forces, providing cyber awareness expertise, resources and training as well as participating at outreach events, talking to the public and small to medium-sized businesses. And on a European level, we have a relationship with EC3, Europol’s cyber agency.
Industry regulators also form an important community for us, with joint messaging and joined-up campaigns for healthcare, telecoms, data protection, commerce, the charity sector and many others. The same goes for organisations like those respected institutions Neighbourhood & Home Watch, Citizens’ Advice and Crimestoppers.
Our valued community of private sector partners comprises leading companies in banking and finance, retail, telco and internet security. These relationships are crucial to us, with the partners cascading vital safety messages across both customer base and workforce, capitalising on our expertise and reputation, and contributing much-needed funds to our coffers. In turn, we work with them to improve their own external and internal education. At our public and business events, you’ll normally find representatives from our partner organisations speaking on their area of expertise or simply handing out jointly-branded online safety leaflets.
Last, but certainly not least, is the media. We work closely with national television, radio networks and the press, with our Chief Executive Tony Neate frequently being invited to talk about cybercrime trends and specific threats. British TV favourites Crimewatch, Rip Off Britain and breakfast television are just some of the shows frequented by Tony.
Cybercrime is global, fighting it is all about collaboration, and we applaud the work the GCA is doing to lead the way.