Saudi Arabia’s National Cybersecurity Authority launches today the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh, the Middle East largest to date cybersecurity event

The international Forum is hosting global policy makers, businesses, investment firms and international organization representatives to discuss how the world’s collective cybersecurity should be maintained in the face of tomorrow’s threats.

Over the two days, participants from all over the world will discuss how the issues under the Forum’s five themes (cybersecurity industry, international cyber collaboration, cyber culture, cyber disruption, and cyber threats and resilience) should be understood, and what responses need to be developed to strengthen the integrity of the world’s cyber defenses.

Some of the key speakers at GCF who will be talking to the above themes include the Heads of the UK and Singapore governments’ Cybersecurity Authorities, both globally renowned experts in their field, as well the Chairman of Advisory Board of World Economic Forum’s Center for Cybersecurity.

Experts from the tech sector include Diana Kelley, Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Field CTO, and Travis Reese, the President of FireEye. Saudi Arabia’s own national cybersecurity champions will also be speaking on the criticality of cybersecurity in their respective fields: Eng. Khalid Alharbi, CISO for Aramco, and Yasser Al Swailem, Cybersecurity VP for Saudi Telecom Company.

Speaking about the Forum, the Chairman of the Saudi Arabia’s National Cybersecurity Authority, H.E. Dr. Musaad bin Muhammed Al Aiban, Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers, said “We are tremendously excited to host this event and act as a catalyst for cybersecurity cooperation and innovation. The constantly evolving threat landscape requires intensified global cooperation on cybersecurity and the Global Cybersecurity Forum is encouraging global leaders to take meaningful actions to better protect the world’s economies and makes cyberspace safer for all”.

Saudi Arabia has steadily increased its cybersecurity capabilities in recent years and is now the most cybersecure state among the Arab nations. The country is looking to further consolidate its position as a regional leader and become a global cybersecurity hub, so the Forum will also bring investors together with cybersecurity business that are developing the defensive technologies needed to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving threats.

The Forum, which is convening more than 1200 participants from more than 58 countries will be attended by some of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies, including Microsoft, IBM, and FireEye. The Forum is anticipated to generate significant investments in the cybersecurity industry, accelerating the development of Saudi Arabia’s already rapidly growing cyber sector and supporting the growth of the global cyber industry.

The Global Cybersecurity Forum will help bolster global cooperation between regional and global cybersecurity players. Five major MOUs will be signed by NCA with Saudi and international organisations throughout the event to reemphasize and strengthen their commitment to international cybersecurity cooperation.

The MoUs being announced illustrate how the Forum is helping fuel growth of the cybersecurity industry, expanding on Saudi Arabia’s existing capacities and creating up-stream growth beyond its borders, not just in jobs, but in knowledge and technological innovation through collaborative initiatives to expand the capacity and develop the technologies needed to keep the world ahead of tomorrow’s threats. The MoUs will allow NCA to provide better cybersecurity training to its youth and collaborate with international organisation on cybersecurity strategies.

The MoU between NCA and Global Resilience Federation seeks to enhance cybersecurity protections for critical national infrastructure through improved information sharing and threat mitigation strategies through a national information sharing blueprint.

The MoU between NCA and Underwriters Lab is a strategic partnership that will enable the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to further enhance its national capabilities in cyber threat mitigation. The MoUs signed by NCA with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the Saudi Human Resources and Development Fund and NEOM will enable Saudi students to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity matters, increasing the pipeline of qualified cybersecurity professionals for the growing cybersecurity industry.