The State of Cyber Security in Canada

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Cyber attacks are now more frequent then ever and many businesses are looking for new and efficient ways to protect their data. In fact, almost one in three targeted attacks in Canada resulted in a security breach. For the average Canadian company, this equates to about three effective cyber attacks a month.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Canadian businesses are losing more than $3 billion a year (or 0.17% of the national GDP) to cybercrime.

According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, this can be attributed to the fact that small and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses in the country are more susceptible to data breaches. The reason for this is primarily lack of financial resources and in-house technical expertise.

This is a significant concern as SMEs make up 98% of the national economy, and about 71% of them have already experienced a data breach. With the average cost of a data breach costing Canadian businesses almost $6 million, there’s an urgent need to develop a resilient cybersecurity framework to mitigate risks.

How’s the Government Enhancing Cyber Security?

The government based in Ottawa recently released an updated version of its National Cyber Security Strategy. The aim here is to better protect government and private sector infrastructure, respond to rapidly evolving threats, and to keep Canada safe.

One of the major components of the updated strategy is the consolidation of federal cyber operations into the new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. This government entity will now act as a central national authority on cyber security. 

Furthermore, the government has also vowed to create highly recognizable certification for cyber security providers to help SMEs know that they meet a baseline set of security practices.

The strategy itself can be broken down into three categories:

  • Cyber Innovation
  • Leadership and Collaboration
  • Security and Resilience

The government also hopes to make the nation an authority on the subject matter and will support this initiative by dedicating more than $500 million for cyber security (and $1.7 billion for science and research) over the next five years.

This initiative promises to not only help improve cyber security across the country (while supporting advanced research and fostering innovation) but enhance security protocols around the world. However, to be a global leader in cyber security, the government also needs businesses to step up and make a significant contribution to the cause.

How’s the Private Sector Improving Cyber Security?

When it comes to cyber security in the private sector, a lot of innovation is happening in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor. This stretch of Highway 401 is full of high-tech startups and established companies trying to tackle some of the most significant cyber threats.

For example, companies like RANK Software and SecureKey Concierge are leading this space with their analytics, visualization, and privacy by design security solutions. Other startups like BioConnect strive to improve cyber security by building robust identity and access management solutions.

This collective effort to accelerate innovation within the cybersecurity space has made Canada the fourth-largest cybersecurity hub in the world. As a result, cybersecurity firms in the country are also performing well on stock exchanges.

Taking all of the above into consideration, it’s safe to conclude that Canada will dominate the cybersecurity sector in the near future. This will not only be good news for Canadian SMEs but also for enterprises scattered across the planet.

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