Join us for an engaging conversation between Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia, Andrew Grotto, Director of the Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance (FSI), and Herbert Lin, Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (FSI):
Cybersecurity and Global Conflict in the 21st Century
Recent geopolitical developments reinforce the strategic importance of values-based investments into trusted connectivity, undergirded by cybersecurity. Russia’s war against Ukraine has significantly deteriorated the security architecture of Europe, casting a spotlight on events and incidents that are recurrent within cyberspace but which are seldom discussed. In a world growing ever more digital and ever more intertwined, cybersecurity will determine whether our digitalized future will be safe, free, resilient, and sustainable. This appears self-evident yet policymakers and entrepreneurs have generally been slow to react.
While governments and companies may well acknowledge the importance of cybersecurity, it is rarely a priority and is often overshadowed by other pertinent considerations—of course, until one falls victim to a cyber incident. This is particularly evident in terms of resource allocation and budgetary planning as investments into IT and cybersecurity tend to be first to be put on the chopping block when costs need to be cut.
However, treating these investments as expendable and non-essential is something we do at our own peril and it contributes to higher-level technological debt and to creating fundamental vulnerabilities at the heart of our IT architecture. How to overcome our present and future vulnerabilities by fostering a joint response on part of both the public and private sectors? How will cybersecurity—or the lack thereof—impact the fortunes of states, companies, and private individuals over the next decades?
Estonia has long been at the forefront of digital innovation in government. In 2020, Estonia joined the UN Security Council for the first time. As an elected member, it has been at the center of crisis diplomacy, keeping the focus on violations of international law and supporting international justice. Estonia was the first one to bring the topic of cybersecurity to the Security Council and has kept the security issues of its region in the global focus. Artificial intelligence (AI), government e-solutions, and (cyber)security are immediate and pressing challenges a modern state has to tackle, especially during the current crisis. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to raise awareness on the international level of emerging threats, including in cyberspace.
Mr. Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia since 26 January 2021, is a member of the liberal Reform Party. He has over 25 years of international experience in central banking, bank restructuring, and crisis management. Mr. Sutt was the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Estonia, worked for the European Financial Stability Facility, and represented Estonia at the Executive Board of the IMF. Mr. Sutt has a Master’s Degree in Economics and Finance (cum laude) from Tartu University and has studied management at INSEAD, France. He serves as the Board Member of SOS Children’s Village Estonia, Estonian Maternity Hospitals Foundation, and the University of Tartu Foundation.