The event sees participation of academia, NGOs, private sector and key government representatives

On April 29, the GLOBSEC Policy Institute, in association with the in partnership with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatisation, Aliter Technologies, Microsoft, held an event on the cybersecurity development in Slovakia with representatives from government, academia, civil society, and private sector.

The first session began with Robert Vass, Founder and President, GLOBSEC officially launching the CRI 2.0 Assessment for Slovakia, a joint product of the GLOBSEC Policy Institute and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. The report, co-authored by CRI 2.0 principal investigator Melissa Hathaway, Francesca Spidalieri, and GLOBSEC Research Fellow Anushka Kaushik, marks the first time that the methodology has been applied to a Central and Eastern Europe country. The CRI 2.0 report for Slovakia identifies areas where policymakers can alter or refine the country’s current posture by leveraging or updating laws, policies, standards, market levers, etc., and implementing other initiatives to preserve the security of their connectivity and protect the value of their economy. The full report, available in English and Slovak, can be found here.

The second session saw speakers from the Slovak Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatisation, Aj Ty v IT, University of Matej Bel, and Microsoft deliberating on the collaborative cybersecurity skills development, in a panel discussion moderated by GLOBSEC’s Anushka Kaushik. While there’s clears intention from the Slovak government to support cyber research and development and raise knowledge about cybersecurity, as also emphasised in the to-be released Digital Transformation Strategy, Slovakia doesn’t have an officially recognized national or sector-specific research and development (R&D) program dedicated to cyber security or advanced technology development. Moreover, it dedicates the lowest to R&D investment as compared to its V4 counterparts. Some collaborative initiatives like the Digital Coalition have proved to be successful and include a wide array of activities that are dedicated to increasing cybersecurity education.

However, it’s critical to focus on incentivising the youth to study the subject and pursue careers in Slovakia, according to Jan Majtan, Director General in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatisation. Motivations and incentives differ toward the subject also depend on the approach that girls and boys are taught in school. Currently, Slovakia is one of the poorest in terms of gender balance among ICT professionals and technicians in the European Union, with the highest gender segregation in the area. Petra Kotuliakova, Founder of Aj Ty v IT – an NGO that seeks to include more women and girls in the ICT Sector, argued that it’s important to analyse why girls generally don’t opt for IT and the problem can be traced back to primary and secondary school education but equally critical is the approach that parents teach their children. Private sector representative, Rudolf Urbanek, Country General Manager for Microsoft, reiterated the significance of bridging the digital skills gap in Slovakia, emphasising the work that the company has already done in this field. According to Aliter Technologies, one of the sponsors of the event, ICT infrastructure can be compromised with a limited budget and collaboration between industry and the government is extremely important.

GLOBSEC would like to thank all the participants and our sponsors of the event for their support and sharing their valuable inputs with us.