WEF moves to address emerging quantum risks

The World Economic Forum (WEF), in association with Deloitte, has released new guidance to help protect organisations during the rapid development of quantum computing technology. 

According to the WEF, advancements in quantum computing have the potential for systemic cybersecurity risks, whether through increased breaches of sensitive health and financial personal data, compromised private communications, or forged digital versions of information, identities and sensitive data. The new paper outlines five principles businesses and organizations should follow when building their quantum security readiness. These include:

  • ensuring the organisational governance structure institutionalises quantum risk;
  • and effectively enforcing change through embedding quantum readiness transition efforts within the organisation.

Other suggested strategies are raising quantum risk awareness throughout the organisation: avoiding fear-focused conversations and help leaders stay informed about advances in quantum threats, as well as treating and prioritising quantum risk alongside existing cyber risks. Here, existing cyber risk management methods should be used  to help mitigate the quantum threat.

Quantum operates in a completely different way to classical computers, harnessing the properties of quantum mechanics (the interaction between matter and energy at a subatomic level, including via particles such as protons, neutrons, and electrons) to generate vastly superior processing power.

“The Forum has developed specific messaging for executive leaders to help mitigate quantum risk. This is important as many discussions on this topic get bogged down about when a quantum computer will be available to mount these types of attacks. The dialog should be much more about preparing today while you still have time so that quantum risk can be methodically mitigated and businesses can continue to thrive without fear of disruption,” said Colin Soutar, managing director and Deloitte co-lead for WEF Quantum Security support, Deloitte US.

Isaac Kohn, partner and Deloitte co-lead for WEF Quantum Security support, Deloitte Switzerland, added that protecting the digital economy and data from quantum computer attacks requires a cohesive, cross-border approach that integrates government support with individual organisations’ support as they test strategies and identify what works. 

“With the timeline to prepare for quantum computing threats shrinking, businesses should take a multi-pronged approach, including empowering the quantum cybersecurity team with executive support and mandates, up-skilling talent, and requiring quantum security provisions in new or renewed product contracts,” he said.

“As we make rapid strides towards the quantum era, it is crucial for leaders to ensure that security risks don’t come in the way of realising the transformative potential of the technology. We are grateful for the collaboration with Deloitte and the efforts of a community comprising the foremost leaders in quantum security that has resulted in the Quantum Readiness Toolkit, a comprehensive roadmap to ensure a secure transition to the quantum economy,” said Akshay Joshi, head of Industry and Partnerships, Centre for Cybersecurity, WEF.

To view the full report, please visit https://www.weforum.org/whitepapers/quantum-readiness-toolkit-building-a-quantum-secure-economy