Over the past six months, the Norwegian food industry has taken a significant step forward in the battle to secure the sector against cyber threats. An innovative collaboration involving 28 stakeholders has been at the heart of this journey.
– NCE Heidner Biocluster Cyber Security Program has not only increased cybersecurity in the food industry but also set the standard for how different sectors and organizations can collaborate to protect our global resources, says project manager at NCE Heidner Biocluster and program leader for NCE Heidner Biocluster Cyber Security Program, Anja Løkken Stokke.
Cyber threats against the food industry are a growing concern. From data breaches in major food producers’ systems to ransomware attacks on logistics companies, the industry has become a prime target for cybercriminals.
To meet this challenge, the NCE Heidner Biocluster Cyber Security Program was initiated.
– The pilot program brought together representatives from academia, the public sector, startups, the private sector, organizations, and clusters. The various stakeholders set aside competition and conflicts of interest to work toward a common goal: securing the future of food production and food safety, Løkken Stokke explains.
– When employees are aware and engaged in protecting against cyber threats, they become a vital part of the defense against potential attacks, and cybersecurity becomes an integral part of the organization’s DNA, says Associate Professor Gaute Wangen at NTNU’s Department of Information Security and Communication Technology/CTO at Diri AS.
Awareness has been a central strategy in this program. Participants have learned that it’s not enough to invest in technical security solutions alone; it’s equally important to create a culture in which employees and stakeholders understand the importance of cybersecurity. Through the program, the topic of IT security has been elevated within the organizations and gained support from top management.
In the program, a culture of open knowledge sharing across departments, organizations, and sectors has been fostered. In a world where the threat landscape is constantly evolving, breaking down silos and establishing channels for knowledge sharing is crucial. This allows different stakeholders to benefit from each other’s insights and experiences, as well as promoting stronger collaboration and innovation.
– Sharing, training, and learning will remain key components. Security work is a collective effort that will require ongoing commitment from all involved parties. But we have already proven that when we stand together, we are strong and capable of better protecting the industry. After all, knowledge is a resource that becomes more valuable when shared, says Løkken Stokke.
Although the past six months have seen significant progress, the fight against cyber threats in the food industry is far from over. The strong collaboration that has been established must continue to grow and evolve to better equip the food industry to face the ever-changing threat landscape.
– Today, we can look back on the past months with pride and optimism. Through our collective efforts, we have laid a foundation that will strengthen the bioeconomy industry in the years to come. Together, we can secure a safer future for the food industry and consumers worldwide, concludes Løkken Stokke.
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