Cybersecurity a key topic for Germany and Australia

The German-Australian Chamber had the pleasure of collaborating with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to organise a roundtable discussion in Sydney on the occasion of a visit of Professor Dr Günter Krings, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community. The roundtable featured Prof Krings and a small German delegation, German Consul General Peter Silberberg, Dr Beatrice Gorawantschy, Director Regional Program Australia and the Pacific Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, and industry experts from the German-Australian business community. The roundtable discussed various aspects of cybersecurity affecting Germany, Europe and Australia.

Those topics included the threats by cyberattacks on government, companies and individuals as well as public infrastructure. It became clear that cyber risks are particularly relevant for highly interconnected systems such as the ones used in advanced manufacturing / Industry 4.0 applications. It is a shared responsibility to protect relevant systems from cyberattacks; it is also important to keep in mind that often the weakest link in an integrated system is attacked. Professor Krings pointed out that the German government, in collaboration with the European Union, is highly active in protecting its systems, critical infrastructure and is working closely with the business sector and individuals. It is essential to avoid cyber-attacks and to be able to respond appropriately when they happen. This topic is of equally high importance in Germany and Australia and experience and insights are being shared on the bilateral level as well as between industry and governments. Beside the risk of cyberattacks gaining unauthorised access to information or systems, there is also the additional risk of data sabotage that needs to be taken seriously to ensure trust in systems and information provided.

The industry participants in the roundtable discussion made it clear that industry is already collaborating closely with governments to increase protection and responses to cyberattacks and that cybersecurity is also a significant global growth market that needs to be taken seriously as part of every organisation’s risk management. It was agreed that this field should be discussed further and that there is a particularly strong case for close German-Australian collaboration.