While cybersecurity has been a hot topic stateside for years, a survey from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) finds that many national governments around the world also are increasingly engaged, with about half of them having adopted national cyber incident response plans – a figure that has risen 11 percent since 2018.

ITU’s 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index also found that while many countries are making strides in cyber safety, there are still cyber capability gaps in critical infrastructure protection, cybersecurity skills training, and individual data protection. The survey flags gaps in finance, energy, healthcare, and other key sectors that are contributing to overall security shortfalls.

“In these challenging times, the unprecedented reliance on ICTs (information and communication technologies) to drive society, economy, and industry, makes it more important than ever before to secure cyberspace and build confidence among users,” ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao said in a release. “Governments and industry need to work together to make ICTs consistently safe and trustworthy for all.”

The global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has led countries all over the world to focus on making government services digitally available and work harder on making sure those digital assets are worked into national cybersecurity plans.

Many nations have responded accordingly, and the study found that 64 percent of the 194 countries surveyed or examined had implemented a national cybersecurity strategy by the end of 2020, and 70 percent ran a cybersecurity awareness campaign in the year. Those figures mark increases of six and four percent in those categories, respectively.

According to Zhao, “the Global Cybersecurity Index is a key element, offering a snapshot of the opportunities and gaps that can be addressed to strengthen every country’s digital ecosystem.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.