Hello, I am sorry to miss being with you in person today, but I am excited to welcome you all to the NetWork 10 Conference.
I would like to thank the conference organizers for bringing everyone together to discuss the future of IT and digital transformation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The United States supports the work all of you are doing to help BiH adapt to the accelerated pace of innovation in the 21st century. We hope your participation in the NetWork conference will foster public-private partnerships and market-based solutions for the next generation technologies that will help BiH’s economy develop and grow.
Every October, during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we are reminded that without a secure cyber environment, even the best-designed technology, digital solutions, and software are vulnerable. As we have seen throughout the region, including here in BiH, ensuring cyber resilience and closing cybersecurity gaps are critical to the security and success of countries. The cyberattacks on the BiH Parliament and the Central Election Commission last month underscored the danger to BiH. Now that elections have passed, it is time for officials at all levels of government to put aside the politics of obstruction and division, and to do the work voters elected them to do. This includes protecting the country from cyberattacks.
There are several actions the government can take immediately to strengthen BiH’s cyber defenses. This includes: 1) approving a cybersecurity framework strategy for BiH; 2) appointing a single point of contact responsible for cyber policy in the country; 3) passing legislation to ensure information security; and 4) implementing existing Council of Ministers decisions to establish a robust network of Computer Emergency Response Teams in the country. Most importantly, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s leaders must devote the resources necessary to create a cyber environment that is open, reliable, and secure, and where businesses, institutions, and citizens are protected from malign actors.
All of you here have an important role to play. You can educate officials about the challenges you face because the country’s cybersecurity infrastructure is inadequate, and you must lobby them to take action to improve the situation. Your expertise is essential during the design and implementation of digital, IT, and cybersecurity solutions. Failure to improve cybersecurity in BiH will leave the country vulnerable and susceptible to more disruptive attacks in the future.
We want all of you to be successful, whether you are a start-up, an established technology solutions provider, a systems engineer creating the next generation of IT solutions, or an academic informing digital policy. Your success requires the government to take a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. It is the foundation for a digital economy, and without a solid foundation, any structure, including an economy, will collapse.
The United States Embassy and my team stand ready to partner with you to help BiH achieve these objectives. We will also continue to advocate for the use of trusted vendors to build clean networks, for the protection of critical infrastructure, and for the implementation of digital solutions.
I look forward to our cooperation and I hope you will continue to build upon and share ideas about these important topics throughout the rest of the conference.