As Border agencies become more connected and dependent on outside parties for the delivery of their services, risks that threaten one organisation are amplified across the ecosystem. This theme is explored in our fourth trend, Secure US to Secure ME, in this year’s Accenture Technology Vision.

It’s a new vulnerability that’s recognised by public service leaders: eighty three percent say that to be truly resilient, organisations must rethink their approach to security to defend not just themselves but their ecosystems too. For Border agencies, of course, it’s essential to safeguard customers’ data as the foundation for trust. But nearly half of the public service executives we surveyed for the Technology Vision can only say that they ‘hope’ their ecosystem partners are working as diligently to be compliant and resilient with regards to security. Only one-quarter say that they know that’s the case.

But having that certainty is increasingly essential. In connected ecosystems, attacks can reach unprecedented scale. The WannaCry cryptoworm, for example, spread across 300,000 computers in 150 countries in a matter of days. Ecommerce ecosystems are already posing challenges for Border agencies, not just from a volume perspective, but from a cyber security one too. What’s more, as Border agencies seek to take advantage of new technologies in the physical world through digital sensors and IoT, the attack surface they create becomes an even greater target. To address it, Border agencies need to move away from a ‘my organisation first’ mindset and expand the horizons of their risk assessment to take account of an ever-expanding threat landscape.

An example of this in action is in the EU, where six member states have set up a new tool to address cyber threats, developing a cyber rapid response force under a new framework, PESCO. They will be equipped with commonly developed cyber toolkits designed to detect, recognise and mitigate cyber threats. The teams would be able to assist with training, vulnerability assessments and other requested support, and they could also pool resources and experts across member states.

One key step in the fight against cyber risks is for Border agencies to create governance, models and policies that all ecosystem partners must adhere to.  That may mean looking across the broader trade or traveller ecosystem to explore common challenges and build solutions that make it safer for everyone to operate. As the cost of cyber-attacks increasingly take their toll, the answer lies in better protective measures, but also greater collaboration across a secure ecosystem. An example of this is Siemens’ Charter of Trust for cybersecurity. Focused on the IoT ecosystem, the Charter implements standard cybersecurity requirements for all members. These ecosystem standards will reduce the risk of incidents along the entire value chain and offer customers greater cybersecurity.

So how should Border agencies move forward? One essential step is to examine how the move to greater ecosystem collaboration is creating new vulnerabilities. As leading Border agencies increasingly collaborate to deliver best-in-class services and experiences to their customers, they need to make sure that security joins that effort too.

How is your agency protecting itself against security threats as you collaborate with your trade or traveller ecosystems?

Prasanna Ellanti

Global Border Services Lead

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