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Cyber, community resilience and place based well-being

16/06/17

by Noelle Godfrey, head of digital infrastructure at Cambridgeshire County Council and programme director, Connecting Cambridgeshire

It’s a truism now to say that digital technology underpins almost every aspect of modern living including work, travel, leisure and health.

Increasingly access to digital infrastructure and services has become a barometer of the economic strength, sustainability and quality of life for rural and urban communities. With the largest internet economy across the G20 the UK has been catapulted into the digital age with far reaching social and economic consequences.

As our working lives, personal lives, our entertainment and communications are increasingly happening in the virtual world of digital technology the way in which that world operates becomes integral to the fabric of our lives as well as to the health, well-being and prosperity of our communities. The speed with which digital technology has radically transformed so many activities in the early 21st century means that we risk being unprepared for the consequences of the new dependency on digital technology.

Our communities, businesses and public services need to learn new ways of behaviour if we are to continue to thrive in the lawless 'wild west' of the internet where the stakes are high, and the risks as well as the rewards are myriad. Trust in the integrity and confidence in the delivery of digital services amongst customers, members of the public and the wider community are essential to the ongoing success of the digital economy.

This makes an appreciation of good 'cyber hygiene' a matter of public policy and a precondition for resilient communities which are able to thrive and to benefit from the social and economic opportunities of digital technology.

Lifeblood

If digital infrastructure and services are the lifeblood of future economic success and thriving communities, then cyber resilience becomes paramount. Furthermore, a whole place approach recognises the inter-relationship between the business imperative for cyber resilience and the links to strong local public services.

Local public service organisations have the opportunity to act as conveners, to draw out the unifying thread of cyber security across place, which equally impacts businesses and communities, using intergenerational links and existing community ties to develop and share good cyber practice. This extends into the business community by helping to foster shared learning and best practice and threat analysis across an area.

A place based approach can use local business and community networks to raise awareness and understanding of the risks to cyber resilience and the best way to combat them.

This article was first published in Local Leadership in a Cyber Society: Understanding the Challenges by the DCLG led National Cyber Security Programme - Local and iNetwork. Read the other featured articles.

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