The region of Karlsruhe, Germany is one of the hot spots for computer technology and digitalisation. It was here where the first German e-mail was received in 1984. Today Karlsruhe is one of the most important IT cluster in Europe, a leading region for digital change. Here about 10,000 young people study computer science. With more than 1,200 members, CyberForum e.V. is one of the largest hightech business network in Europe.

No question that cyber security is a key topic for every company (and of course for us all) – and also a key focus area here in the region. These days we learn that KRACK makes our WIFI connections insecure. We have seen Wanna Cry earlier this year and ransomware attacks. Every day 380000 new malware are created, a number discussed at the CyberWehr event in Karlsruhe.

Small and mid sized businesses (SMBs) are often overwhelmed when it comes to IT security. They do not have big IT departments and security experts. But they have many questions: What should I do to prevent security problems. And even more important: what do I do if something bad happens. And it will happen some days.

This is where CyberWehr comes into play. You may wonder about the name. It is a reference to the german “Feuerwehr” – fire brigade. At its core it will have the same function as a fire brigade (in Germany). In case of a security incident (Fire) you can call a number like 112 (in Germany that’s the number you call in case of a fire). And you will get immediate help. It is an initiative of the state Baden-W├╝rttemberg driven by the Minister of Interior, Thomas Strobl. He announced at the event that the CyberWehr project will start early next year and it will be established in Karlsruhe.

This is a great initiative to help SMBs with the digital transformation. Of course it will not address all questions. We need more proactive support and education for the digital transformation and all aspects of cyber security. We also need better solutions to keep our digital systems and processes as safe as possible. I am sure that technologies like Artificial Intelligence will also play a key role in cyber security (see the article “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security” as one example).

I think this initiative is a very good step in the right direction. And it will hopefully grow over time, working with leading institutions and building a partner network in the region. Because one thing is clear: as with the fire brigade the CyberWehr can one be a first line support – fighting the fire. It will not rebuild the building. This is where we need a network of trustworthy specialists and solutions.

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