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E-Estonia: The European digital success story

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As the SME Assembly 2017 approaches, along with the beginning of the Estonian presidency, Promoting Enterprise has decided to briefly explore how this Member State rose to be the digital pioneer of Europe.

After gaining independence in 1991, the Republic of Estonia was a small state with a small population and few resources. It was at this moment that the country’s leaders decided to build on the global launch of the internet and integrate it into the construction of the post-Soviet Estonian infrastructure. Preparations for the modern e-Estonia began with the passing of the Information Policy in 1994, followed by the Personal Data Protection Act and the launching of the Tiger Leap project in 1996.

The Tiger Leap project marked the beginning of the prioritisation of the creation of Information Technology structure, by allowing educational institutes to access computers and the internet. This ensured the training of tech-savvy Estonians from a young age, which continues to allow the healthy growth of the national IT industry and development of innovative e-services such as the ID Card project and the X-Road. The project continues to run today and fosters the development of entrepreneurs and their innovations.

Fast forward to the present day and Estonia continues to pioneer digital solutions and is the training ground for other countries wanting to implement online voting and e-Health systems, to name a few. Not only a European but a global pioneer, Estonia is the seat of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre after demonstrating the ability to defend itself against a cyber-attack on national level in 2007.  

E-Estonia is by no means finished and new systems and innovations are constantly being developed and added. What will Estonia develop next? We will have to wait and see…

For more information about E-Estonia: https://e-estonia.com/

The Digital Assembly 2017

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The Digital Assembly 2017 will take place on 15 and 16 June in Valletta, Malta. It is an event co-organised by the European Commission and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Digital Assembly 2017, is an opportunity for stakeholders to debate, take stock and look ahead at how Europe and how its partners around the world are preparing for this digital transformation. It will also be an opportunity to have dialogue on the benefits of the Digital Union for citizens with a special focus on younger generations.

The Assembly will kick off on 15 June with a networking lunch, followed by a high-level opening ceremony and international panel discussions.

On Friday 16 June, four thematic working sessions will focus on the key priorities:

The Digital Assembly 2017 will end with a panel of young people discussing expectations and ideas for the digital economy and society, before a closing ceremony.

Read the programme here.

Be sure to follow the event on Twitter with the hashtag: #da17eu and live web streaming of the event!

For more information: https://ec.europa.eu

Digital innovation – The online safety tools of the future

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Digital innovation has led to several technological advances, born in the minds of innovative entrepreneurs who go on to bring their ideas to life. With an increasing number of us online, both socially and professionally, cybersecurity is an issue that affects us all, consumers and entrepreneurs alike. How can you protect yourself? What information do you need to safely reap the benefits of our digitally innovative world? Today, Promoting Enterprise looks into the development of fraud detection systems, accessible cybersecurity and remote incident response platforms.

The tendency for people to be creatures of habit is being put to good use in the cybersecurity industry, thanks to new identification software that uses typical login times and locations, keystroke dynamics and in-app behaviour to verify if someone is who they say they are. It’s one of a series of innovations being developed by European businesses keen to claim their share of a growing cybersecurity market. Analysts predict that global spending in cybersecurity will be well over EUR 100 billion a year by 2021, yet according to a 2016 report despite being the most trusted area globally when it comes to data security and privacy, the European industry is only growing 6% annually, compared to growth of 8 % for the market as a whole.

One of the aims of the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) – the association implementing a cybersecurity public-private partnership set up by the EU in 2016 – is to create connections between industry players, national public authorities and users of cybersecurity solutions to identify priorities and increase collaboration in research and innovation. That connection – particularly between providers and end-users – is crucial if Europe is to grow the industry and take its place in the market. European businesses such as Czech-based cybersecurity firm ThreatMark (advanced fraud-detection systems developer) and German cybersecurity company Applied Security (apsec), could benefit from this connection which could manifest as business-to-business platforms and direct interactions between SMEs and potential clients.

With the development of the cybersecurity industry, there are still three areas to be addressed:

  1. Cybersecurity tools need to be considered as integral parts of computer systems. EU funded projects like CyberWiz, where users set up a model IT network and carry out various kinds of simulated attacks, allow for system development whilst exposing weak points and giving an overview of the network security.
  2. Skilled technical experts are important for the overall success of the industry, but especially in the small- and medium-sized sector. According to chief executive of Secon Cyber Security UK Robert Gupta, ‘In general, there is a lack of the right skills and when you are recruiting, technical experts in cybersecurity are very hard to come by’.
  3. The costs of implementing cybersecurity. Between the costly search for experts, their employment and the implementation and upkeep of a security system, many smaller businesses simply cannot afford this integral part of their online presence. However, EU funded project ConnectProtect could be the answer; a remote incident-response platform helping small- and medium-sized businesses to combat attacks and security threats – at a more reasonable cost. Through such a system and economies of scale for cybersecurity software licences, the total cost of security could come down dramatically for small businesses – perhaps by as much as 75 % per member of staff.

For more information: https://horizon-magazine.eu

Digital innovation is a key theme for this year’s SME Assembly 2017 taking place in Estonia, so stay tuned for more digital innovation content right here on Promoting Enterprise.

If you liked this have a read of: 2017 and beyond: How digital innovation will impact the world

Secret of Success- Petra van Schayik (Compumatica Secure Networks BV)

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Petra van Schayik - Compumatica Secure Networks BV

I joined Compumatica because I want the IT world to be secure; a world where government, businesses and citizens can operate with confidence and safety. Compumatica stands out in cybersecurity because of our personal touch: our high level IT security solutions ensure that nobody but the customer has access to the key material. My immediate goal is to find new investment (we have already received funding from Dutch R&D programmes) to develop new products and ultimately to create more user awareness of IT applications and IT security.

If I were Minister for SMEs, I would make sure they got a bigger share of the public procurement markets; and I would make it cheaper for them to employ people.

“Entrepreneurs are important to society because we power the economy, create interesting jobs, develop new products and take risks.”

Start up capital: Family

Growth rate p.a: 10%

Mentor(s): Yes

Can you code?: No

Employees: 45

Education/ Training: Technical business administration

Product/ Service: Digital security

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