Canada loses more than $3.2-billion per year due to cybercrime, according to the Department of Public Safety. (Blend Image/Colin Anderson/Getty Images)

Canada | News

The Canadian government is spending $507-million to fight cyber threats, but what does this mean for your business?

Tech-savvy financial experts could find opportunity amidst changing security landscape

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Canada loses more than $3.2-billion per year due to cybercrime, and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) account for around 71 per cent of data breaches, according to the Department of Public Safety.

As part of its new National Cyber Security Strategy, the federal government is creating the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, part of which will act as a resource hub for businesses. Set to be fully operational by spring 2020, the Centre will offer training and guidance tools, including a certification program, to help SMEs develop best practices against digital threats.

Wesley Wark, a Canadian cybersecurity expert and professor at the University of Ottawa, believes these are steps in the right direction, but the biggest challenge that remains is how these bodies will engage and share information with, and ultimately assist the private sector.

“It’s a twin problem in terms of connectivity,” says Wark. “The private sector doesn’t understand how the government works or what its capabilities are, and the government intelligence organizations don’t really know how best to reach across the secrecy boundary to the private sector when it finds things it needs help with.”

Key initiatives of the government’s five-year, $507.7-million security strategy include: $155.2-million for the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security; $116-million to the RCMP for the creation of the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit; $85.3-million for increased RCMP enforcement capacity; and $28.4-million for a voluntary cyber certification program through the Centre.

In a press release, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, outlined his thoughts on the new security strategy: “If Canadians are empowered to improve their cybersecurity and adapt to new threats—across government, the private sector and our personal use—we will not only realize the potential of the digital economy and keep our own data secure, but we can sell those skills and innovations to the huge, growing market in the rest of the world, creating high-paying middle-class jobs.”

Aside from the support of the new Centre and the RCMP National Cybercrime Coordination Unit, Wark notes financial experts have an important role to play in fighting cyber threats, especially those who are up-to-date on the latest technologies.

“Even if this doesn’t sound like a classic role for them, [financial experts] are going to be right in the middle of the cybersecurity problem,” he says. “With all kinds of capabilities already present in terms of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and so on, you’re not going to be able to find a cybersecurity solution to protecting financial transactions and the data that surrounds them unless you have financial professionals that have a clear understanding of how those technologies work and the impact they have on how enterprises do business.”

FOR MORE

Learn more about cryptocurrencies and the primary issues involved in accounting for them under International Financial Reporting Standards in CPA Canada’s An introduction to accounting for cryptocurrencies. CPA Canada is also hosting a webinar, Accounting for cryptocurrencies under IFRS, on August 14.