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Do CERTS differ from WARPS or should we create something different?

October 11th, 2006 · No Comments ·

Past postings addressed issues regarding Early Warning Systems (EWS) , especially the challenges they face to succeed in the marketplace. For an overview with a few links see:

New threats and national warning systems – do they work?

Recently there has been a lot of discussions about the organizational form of such national warning system in the information and communication domain. For instance, in a recent speech (Helsinki, 2006-09-28 – Ms Viviane Reding – Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media) stated:

‘… our Security Strategy Communication the Commission called upon ENISA to look into the feasibility of creating a European multilingual information sharing and alert system to build upon and link national public and private initiatives. I today call again on ENISA to deliver soon on this to ensure that we are well prepared, at a continental scale, for any potential virus attacks on Europe’s IT networks.’

But should this work be done by a group of CERTs (in Europe often called CSIRT) or something else similar to WARPs? Both have a different focus and, as importantly, serve different constituencies.

All type of alert services may those be CSIRTs, WARPs or others need to have a system in place that empowers them to analyze critical security incidents properly.

The CASEScontact network has tried doing so for the last 18 months and refined its services to better respond to citizens’ and SMEs’ needs, wants and preferences for support and help they need to better protect their data in order to safer surf the net.
So do these organizations mentioned above differ from each other regarding size, budget, strategy and level of success? Yes, of course they do but, regardless of the label we attach to any of them, marketing competences are required and remain critical. The latter do not just provide the early warning system with competitive advantages but, as importantly, they may be sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Reason is that these competences could be

1) ambiguous,

2) socially and technologically complex, and

3) require time to develop.

In short, it is smarter to start an imperfect service today in order to have time for continuous improvement until tomorrow before the panedemic hits. One has to stop talking and begin developing the targeted service in order to satisfy subscribers/constituencies by, most importantly, providing relevant and helpful information that allows users’ to better protect their information assets.

That is why on security, in particular, we need to move from talk to action. Remember, to establish a ubiquitous online society that will pay off for all citizens, with wide take-up of “always-on


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