January 13, 2012

The Cyber Power Index

News Report

Booz Allen, in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit, has published the results of an interesting research devoted to understand how the business community is responding to the opportunities and challenges offered by cyber. The investigation started with an exploration of how organizations and government authorities can build cyber resilience. It then focused on the specific challenges created by an increasingly mobile workforce.

One of the results of this effort is shaped in the form of a Cyber Power Index, which aims to benchmark the ability of the G20 countries to withstand cyber attacks and to deploy the digital infrastructure needed for a productive economy. In doing so, the index measures both the success of digital uptake and the degree to which the economic and regulatory environment promotes national cyber power.

The index is developed as an interactive quantitative and qualitative scoring model constructed from the following categories: Legal and Regulatory Framework, Economic and Social Context, Technology Infrastructure, Industry Application. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative model, constructed from 39 indicators and sub-indicators that measure specific attributes of the cyber environment across the above mentioned drivers of cyber power.

This benchmarking exercise covers 19 countries of the Group of 20 (G20), excluding its last member, the EU. Each country was evaluated relative to others by an Economist Intelligence Unit analyst; categories and individual indicators are weighted according to assumptions of their relative importance. Details on the methodology, including weighting, can be found in the appendix of this paper.

Overall, the top five countries exhibiting cyber power, as measured by the index (the UK; the US; Australia; Germany; and Canada) illustrate that developed Western countries are leading the way into the digital era. One reason for this is the depth of Internet penetration in these countries. In 2010, the percentage of households with access to the Internet in the developed world stood at 65.6%, over four times the penetration in the developing world. The top five performers also rate highly across the board, ranking in the top seven in all four categories.

The leading emerging market countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs), have some room for improvement; out of the 19 economies, they rank 10th, 14th, 17th, and 13th, respectively. There is also a wide discrepancy between the top and the bottom of the index. The UK, the top performer, scores around three times the amount of points on a scale of 0 to 100 as the worst performer, Saudi Arabia.

References: Booz Allen (1)

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