Leading representatives from the public and private sectors in the Caribbean discuss best practices in cyber security

The Organization of American States (OAS) says it worked with California-based Cisco Systems, Inc. to host the second regional meeting of Cybersecurity Innovations Councils (CICs), which brought together participants from the public and private sectors, civil society and Academics from across the Americas, including the Caribbean, discussed fostering innovation, raising citizen awareness and spreading best practices in cybersecurity.

Cisco Systems, Inc., commonly known as Cisco, is a multinational digital communications technology conglomerate headquartered in San Jose, California.

On Friday, the OAS said the two-day meeting, held at its headquarters, consisted of a series of panels and policy presentations where experts discussed the state of cybersecurity in the region and how to work together to build member states’ capacities to improve cyber security.

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“Representatives from the private sector and the implementing community shared their experiences with the aim of finding synergies between multiple stakeholders to help countries prevent, respond to and recover from cyberattacks,” the OAS said in a statement.

In addition, according to the OAS, initiatives have been announced that will be created within the framework of the CICs: an innovation laboratory, an applied research workshop and a course on governance and artificial intelligence.

During the meeting, the OAS said the expert community gathered in a creative thinking workshop suggested that initiatives like the CICs strengthen the capacities of the entire cybersecurity ecosystem, boost trust, and boost research and development in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

They also suggested “that the CICs emphasize the secure adoption of new technologies that contribute to the digital transformation of organizations and specifically address issues such as security by design and by default,” the OAS said.

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The OAS said: “It was highlighted the need to prioritize initiatives that contribute to digital transformation where cybersecurity issues are relevant, such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, 5G and quantum computing, which would be analyzed in virtual and physical workshops.”

Opening the event, OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security Luis Fernando Lima Oliveira said: “Building cyber resilience is essential for countries in the region to protect against increasingly sophisticated threats.

“The attacks the region has suffered over the past few months show that cybercriminals are orchestrating their actions, launching similar attacks in different countries almost simultaneously,” he said. “In view of this, there is no other solution than cooperation.

“Initiatives like the Cybersecurity Innovation Councils, which foster alliances between the public and private sectors, civil society and academia, are becoming increasingly important to improve countries’ cybersecurity capacities,” added Lima Oliveira.

The Cybersecurity Innovation Councils are an initiative of the OAS and Cisco that aim to advance the cybersecurity policy agenda of OAS member states, according to the organization.