Federal Council adopts implementation plan for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks

Bern, 15.05.2013 - During its meeting today, the Federal Council adopted the implementation plan for the national strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks (NCS). The measures decided upon are designed to strengthen prevention as well as continuity and crisis management. There is also an associated enhancement of cyber expertise at the Federal Administration in terms of personnel. The Federal Council has appointed an interdepartmental NCS steering committee to coordinate matters.

On 27 June 2012, the Federal Council adopted the national strategy for the protection of Switzerland against cyber risks. It wants to use this in cooperation with public authorities, the private sector and operators of critical infrastructure to minimise the cyber risks with which they are confronted on a daily basis. The strategy explicitly excludes cases of war and armed conflict.

The Federal Council had instructed the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to work with the units responsible to prepare an implementation plan for the strategy, including the necessary resources, and to submit it to the Federal Council by April 2013. Today, the Federal Council approved the NCS implementation plan drawn up by the NCS coordination unit, which is part of the Federal IT Steering Unit (FITSU).

NCS implementation plan

According to the strategy, acting with personal responsibility, national cooperation between the private and public sector, and cooperation with foreign countries are all essential for reducing cyber risks. The strategy covers this need for action with 16 measures that are to be implemented by 2017.

The NCS implementation plan fleshes out the measures and describes the implementation results to be achieved in the areas of prevention, response, continuity and crisis management, and support processes. It also clarifies responsibilities and cooperation based on the current structures in the public and private sectors and their existing resources and processes. However, it also demonstrates that additional staff are needed in the cyber specialist area. The Federal Council thus intends to create 28 additional positions for cyber protection specialists.

Although the strategy explicitly excludes cases of war and armed conflict, the Federal Council has decided that the skills of the armed forces are to be used to minimise cyber risks where they can provide subsidiary support to the offices responsible. This is in keeping with the armed forces' traditional subsidiary role in the area of disaster relief, for example.

The Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance, MELANI, which is part of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) and the FDF, fulfils a key role in implementing the strategy measures. As an information hub, it takes charge in particular of the ongoing coordination, evaluation and forwarding of information concerning the handling of cyber risks. When implementation has been completed at the end of 2017, MELANI will take on a guidance and coordination role in the operational area.

NCS steering committee

Given that protection against cyber risks concerns many federal task areas and the strategy will be implemented on a decentralised basis, the Federal Council has instructed a newly created NCS steering committee to coordinate implementation of the measures within the Federal Administration and in cooperation with the cantons and the private sector. The steering committee is also tasked with monitoring the development of cyber risks and submitting recommendations for the further development of the strategy to the Federal Council. The committee is chaired by the FDF and includes representatives of departments with lead responsibility for implementation measures, and the consultation and coordination mechanism of the Swiss Security Network (KKM SVS) for the cantons. The NCS coordination unit will provide the steering committee with support in its work.

Address for enquiries

Ka Schuppisser and Stefanie Frey
NCS/ISB coordination unit
031 32 27476, Ka.Schuppisser@isb.admin.ch
031 32 40529, Stefanie.Frey@isb.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance