How Businesses Can Promote Cyber Peace
88 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2014 Last revised: 26 Aug 2014
Date Written: February 10, 2014
The multifaceted cyber threat is increasingly impacting the bottom lines of firms and is spilling over into larger issues of geopolitical importance including international security. Firms, in particular managers and boards of directors, are at the epicenter of this storm, but so far surveys have revealed that few businesses are taking the necessary steps to safeguard their private data and enhance cybersecurity. As Howard A. Schmidt, the former U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator, stated: “[W]hile there is a cost to doing more to improve cybersecurity, there is a bigger cost if we do not and that cost is measured not only in dollars, but in national security and public safety.” A rich literature has developed on how the private sector can contribute to peacebuilding and the promotion of human rights, but so far this perspective has not been fully explored in ongoing debates over how to enhance cybersecurity. This Article addresses this omission by reviewing the positive role that businesses can play in conflict dynamics, such as by fostering communications between antagonists and acting as norm entrepreneurs identifying and instilling best practices, and applying these findings to the cybersecurity context. Given the slow progress of both U.S. Congressional and multilateral cybersecurity policymaking, the time is ripe for a fresh perspective on how firms can help proactively foster cyber peace in a world increasingly being drawn into cyber conflict.
Keywords: cybersecurity, polycentric governance, business and human rights, cyber peace, mediating institutions
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