Greater co-operation is needed over the coming decade as emerging countries dominate online.
Microsoft has renewed calls on governments worldwide to harmonize IT security laws, improve risk management and information sharing and develop cybersecurity norms in a major new report designed to help policymakers planning for the next decade.
Cyberspace 2025: Today’s Decisions, Tomorrow’s Terrain, looks ahead to a point in just over a decade’s time where there are 4.7 billion people online, 75% of whom come from emerging economies.
In 2025, Microsoft says, there will be around 50 billion connected devices on the planet, with 80% of internet connections coming from mobile devices and most data either stored in or passing through the cloud.
However, there’ll also be severe strains on a developed world experiencing not only a rapidly ageing population with declining birth rates, but also one producing little more than three million STEM graduates annually – five times fewer than emerging countries.
“The Cyber 2025 Model illustrates that the failure to prepare for these expected demographic shifts, particularly aging populations, can have serious consequences for unprepared countries, including unmanageable public debt increases, high youth unemployment, and social instability,” said Microsoft Security VP Matt Thomlinson.
“It even affects cybersecurity as many more ICT systems are deployed to scale services that countries may lack the technical expertise to manage.”
Redmond is predicting three possible scenarios for 2025.
The first, dubbed “Peak”, is an ideal world in which there is strong collaboration between governments.The second, “Plateau”, is characterized by more protectionist policies and standards and a focus on compliance over security.“This results in regular and pervasive data breaches in developed countries, for example, which in turn leads to reactive regulatory attempts to improve data protection,” the report claims.
The third scenario, “Canyon”, is one of deep isolation where governments set out to control ICT systems, fail to protect IP and where cybersecurity policies are “nationalistic”.
“Cyber attacks plague governments that in turn invest resources in offensive cyber technologies, instead of managing risk to support economic growth,” the report says.
To reach the Peak scenario by 2025, Microsoft lays out several major recommendations for policymakers. These include committing to an open, free internet where “consistent and clear” security and privacy guidelines are created for service providers.
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