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Security veterans team up to tackle “Cyber Poverty”

"Because of the interconnected nature of our supply chain, the ramifications of a single incident in these underserved less cyber mature pockets can have devastating downstream impact..."

A group of senior cybersecurity and risk veterans are teaming up to launch a new “Cyber Poverty Line Institute” (CPLI) dedicated to helping those getting left behind in terms of cyber maturity – a  growing “cyber poverty” that they say is a threat to economic and social development.

The Cyber Poverty Line Institute which launches this week, was founded by seasoned cybersecurity executives Ramy Houssaini and Satish Laxminarayanan, who have worked running cyber risk and cybersecurity at organisations including one of the world’s largest banks, and features a globally distributed team of operators and strategic advisors. 

Speaking to The Stack, Ramy said: “I've been in cybersecurity for more than two decades and have seen cyber becoming incredibly strategic as a critical enabler  for economic and social development – but I have also seen a growing gap between cyber ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. 

“There are not just developing countries with limited cyber capabilities but also segments in mature markets that are being underserved by the current Cybersecurity ecosystem (think about SMBs, community hospitals or small city governments…etc).  – and because of the interconnected nature of our supply chain, the ramifications of a single incident in these underserved less cyber mature pockets can have devastating downstream impact on both economic and social development worldwide.

For his part, Satish highlighted that “having grown up in a developing economy and seen the struggles first-hand of individuals trying to break out of economic poverty, the digital revolution enabled by an Internet economy went a long way in breaking down many barriers to economic and social exclusivity for upliftment of societies. However,   the concept of living in cyber poverty in an ever burgeoning digital economy still needs to be addressed holistically and CPLI aims to  be the vehicle to help us all make this possible.”

What will the CPLI do?

The CPLI’s aim is to “establish and operate a global cyber enablement platform to deliver cyber capabilities via private-public partnership.”

Ramy said: “There are a lot of other initiatives in the realm of cyber capability building that we absolutely want to support and amplify – but the Cyber Poverty Line Institute aims to connect the dots between some needs that have not been well identified and addressed and the cyber innovation ecosystem to achieve optimal cyber impact.”

He points, for example, to its plans to offer support around “cyber economics”,  where he aims to address the growing lack of correlation between Cyber Security spending and Cyber risk reduction outcomes as evidenced recently by some well mediatized breaches. 

Initial priorities for Cyber Poverty Line Institute (CPLI) will be active engagement with stakeholders within both the public and private sectors of the cybersecurity ecosystem, to introduce the institute's mission and identify opportunities to augment the effectiveness of ongoing initiatives. Enhancing cyber capabilities in regions and countries characterised by lower levels of digital maturity is another early focus. 

Speaking with The Stack, the CPLI’s founders emphasised the pivotal role that board-level education plays in enhancing top-tier governance practices and the importance of elevating global cyber governance maturity. By improving governance practices at an international level, the institute aims to establish a positive feedback loop that fosters ongoing improvement in the realm of cybersecurity on a global scale.

Join peers following The Stack on LinkedIn – and expect to hear more about the CPLI in future.