Digitalization is changing all of our lives, but unfortunately, security in cyberspace is not always prioritized. An initiative wants to put a change to this.


Nobody knows for sure. One thing is certain: The number of devices linked through IT is increasing. Market research company Gartner is predicting 25 billion in the coming year. Industry, transportation, trade, and, last but not least, people’s private sphere are becoming “smart.” In addition to the number of completely new possibilities, the number of threats is also increasing in a digitalized world. One concern is the attacks by hackers in recent years, in which German hospitals and entire companies were brought to a standstill. A great deal of data falling into the hands of the attackers could just be the beginning.


TÜV SÜD and security: They should be inextricably linked – especially in the digital environment. The Group has been building up specific competencies in this area for years – with its own cybersecurity unit, for example, which now comprises almost one hundred employees in Germany, Asia, and the USA.


Digitalization is the central driver of innovation – both today and in the future. However, “Every innovation is associated with risks that have to be monitored,” says TÜV SÜD CEO Axel Stepken. “Ensuring security in the digital age is therefore a key aspect of digitalization. Without security around IT systems and applications, it will not be possible to maintain trust in digital processes and technologies.”


The rise in interconnectedness is the topic – and only by being interconnected is it possible to make a difference. That is the credo of the “Charter of Trust.” The initiative aims to raise awareness of the topic among the public and prominent decision-makers. In many governments, agencies, and companies, only the opportunities associated with digitalization are seen, and cybersecurity is not always taken seriously enough. However, the two aspects are inextricably linked. “To keep up with fast-paced technological advances and threats from the criminal world, business enterprises and governments must join forces and take decisive action,” according to the preface of the joint declaration.


It all started with Siemens: Together with eight partners from industry, the technology group launched an initiative at the beginning of 2018 to establish globally binding rules and standards for more security in the IT sector. Since the summer of 2018, TÜV SÜD has been a member of the Charter of Trust, which currently comprises 16 members. In addition to numerous globally active companies from Europe, North America, and, in the future, Asia, the German Federal Office for Information Security, the CCN National Cryptologic Center of Spain, and the Graz University of Technology in Austria will also be taking part.


Setting a good example – and thus encouraging others to join in. That’s what the members of the “Charter of Trust” are focusing on. Together they have committed themselves to 10 principles for more cybersecurity and IT security. Principle 10 states that joint initiatives that include all relevant stakeholders should be promoted in order to implement the stated principles in the various parts of the digital world without undue delay.