A set of recommendations for better information security standards in Europe will be debated at an open meeting to be held this Friday (June 13) in Brussels.
The recommendations have been produced by the Network and Information Security (NIS) Focus Group. The group includes technical experts appointed by the two European standards organisations CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).
The group's principal goal was to evaluate existing security standards, and to identify possible gaps in the standards spectrum. Created in July 2002, the group has now completed its final draft report which has been available for public comment since mid-May. The open meeting on 13 June will debate the report plus comments received and provide a basis for a consensus on the report and its recommendations.
The NIS Focus Group was established, and its study undertaken, in response to a paper by the European Commission on information security.
The Commission Communication Network and Information Security: A proposal for a European policy approach network was published in June 2001. This Communication, which was followed by two Council Resolutions in 2002 and 2003, contained recommendations to the European standardisation bodies for the continued development of their standardisation activities, including drawing up a comprehensive strategy on security of electronic networks.
Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and Information Society, said: "The growth of e-business in Europe and world-wide will be encouraged by the availability of a secure infrastructure. The European Standards Organisations have a key role to play in achieving this objective". You can read more about Commissioner Liikanen thoughts on security here.
Whatever standards are developed the challenge will be to persuade more companies to follow them. Security standards such as BS7799, and its European equivalents, have historically been honoured more by their breach than their observance. ®