In 2015, the States of Guernsey commissioned the Ascot Barclay Group (ABG), a Guernsey-based cyber security company to conduct a detailed assessment of the cyber maturity level of the island across Government, Businesses and Islanders.
Guernsey has long had a tradition of successfully leveraging its unique geography, legal status and entrepreneurial skills to punch above its weight in the development of new products, services, and markets. The States' success in banking and fiduciary services has been extended more recently into areas such as specialist insurance, financial technology and e-gaming.
The 2014 Economic Development Plan affirms that "one area of major focus will be the development of Guernsey's digital capability - both in terms of infrastructure on the Island and the development of islanders' digital skills". At the same time, the States are moving to embrace e-government initiatives that promise to transform the provision of services for islanders.
It's important, therefore, that the States of Guernsey has a comprehensive understanding of the risks of the move into cyber-space and our preparedness to deal with those risks and as part of the process Ascot Barclay consulted with over 250 Islanders via one-on-one interviews, workshops and surveys across both public and private sectors as well as the general island population.
Commenting on why it was important to undertake such a review, Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq said:
"Stability and security are the cornerstones of our quality of life and our economic competitiveness. One of the unique qualities of Guernsey is that our community experiences a very low level of crime, and we go about our day to day lives without the concerns of many other jurisdictions. However the computers and digital infrastructure that enable that also mean that we are potentially connected to many who, regretfully, would do us harm."
"The safety and security of islanders is always paramount in my mind and two of the key requirements of government are to ensure the safety and security of our community, and to build our economy. This review will enable us to fully understand the threat, so that we can further develop our comprehensive and flexible approach to deal with it. Whether it is law enforcement, trading standards, government or telecommunications and IT firms, we will continue to work together to reduce the cyber-risk so that we are as safe as possible on-line. We will protect the safety and security that are part of our everyday lives. Guernsey is internationally renowned as a trusted jurisdiction. This cyber-review will enable us to strengthen that trust."
Sir Kevin Tebbit KCB CMG, Chairman, Ascot Barclay Group added,
"As a former Director of GCHQ, I echo the recent public statements of the present Director in urging that every individual, commercial entity and Government institution should be alert, aware and active in taking adequate measures to protect themselves from the threats that exist. For companies and institutions in particular, it is vital to ensure that the appropriate defensive tools and skilled resources are in place to protect vital assets and interests.
The States of Guernsey are therefore to be congratulated for having taken decisive leadership action in undertaking this Cyber Security Strategy Review, that is focused not only on the essential requirement to protect the Island community but also promotes and secures the Bailiwick's position in the forefront of the global digital economy."
A copy of the report can be found on this page.