National Tech Summit: cybersecurity and future proofing your workforce

With technology dominating our lives more than ever, a lively debate on how AI is going to change our lives, and cybersecurity top of mind for most businesses, it was an opportune time for the Tech Council of Australia’s inaugural National Tech Summit.

AI, cybersecurity and technology opportunities for Australia were some of the topics discussed.

Partner Jacqui Barrett attended the Summit and shared some of her key highlights.

Cybersecurity: can technology ever be secure by design and default?

The Summit’s debate on cybersecurity explored whether security by design is the solution to address cybersecurity threats, or whether this is just one part of a much larger approach. The debate also considered potential regulatory barriers for Australian businesses and the current economic security risk.

Security by design is a core tenet of cybersecurity, which emphasises a need to embed security in design software and hardware as a preventative measure against cyber threats. Implementing basic security tools could prevent 98% of cyber issues; however, the current onus in relation to cybersecurity remains largely on the end user. As people are still being successfully attacked by basic cyber fraud strategies, it is clear that strategy is not working and it is not enough to educate people about cyber safety.

Thankfully, this perception is slowly shifting, as new products that do not have security by design are no longer considered innovative and are viewed as incomplete.

Richard White, CEO of WiseTech Global, emphasised that cybersecurity is a moving target, and requires a combination of increased regulation, resourcing and technical improvements to address cyber threats.

Modernising regulations

Victor Dominello, Executive Director of Tech Council of Australia and Director of UNSW-UTS Trustworthy Digital Society Hub, encouraged governments to take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity.

He said the debate around cybersecurity reminded him of healthcare, where much of the cost and budget is directed towards cure rather than prevention. He said the greater focus should be on preventing cybersecurity risks rather than having to respond to a cyber security breach.

Johanna Weaver, Director of ANU Tech Policy Design Centre, spoke about the risks that new regulation will be too heavy-handed and the need for governments to understand the technology involved.

As concerns for businesses often stem from bad regulation, the real challenge will be to understand the soft law mechanism that will support a move to modern regulation that is carefully designed, flexible and adaptable. Getting the regulation right will create a competitive advantage for Australian businesses on an international level.

Security sells

Brendan Dowling, Incoming Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technology, Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, highlighted the need for businesses to collectively work throughout the region to build the right security infrastructure.

One of the biggest issues currently faced by Australian businesses is the economic security risk. The increased cyber threats highlight an opportunity in Australia to collaborate to succeed in cybersecurity and ensure that security sells.

Key takeaways

The key takeaways from the panel discussion on ‘can tech ever be secure by design and default’, are:

  • Cybersecurity is a real challenge. There is a fundamental need to understand the soft law mechanism that will support a move to modern regulation.
  • Establishing a digital identity and verified process for individuals must be a top priority.
  • Most of the concerns around regulation stem from bad regulation. Getting regulation right is a competitive advantage.
  • There is an amazing opportunity in Australia to collaborate and work together and share with other countries to succeed with cybersecurity.
  • Legacy architecture problems cannot be solved by solution by design alone and won’t be solved quickly.
  • Economic security risk is a big problem. It is important that security sells.

Please reach out if you would like to discuss any of the above.


Jacqui Barrett

Jacqui Barrett

Partner & Head of US Desk

Jacqui assists clients with mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring, capital raisings and managed investment schemes.

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