Rob Allen
Patrik Fältström, Netnod

Cybersecurity takes centre stage during Sweden’s most important political forum

Last week was the famous Almedal Week (Almedalsveckan), where representatives from Sweden’s political parties as well as experts from industry and civil society come together to discuss political and social issues. This year cybersecurity was a major focus. To find out more, we spoke with Netnod’s Head of Security, Patrik Fältström, who participated in multiple cybersecurity panels.

1. How was your experience of Almedalsveckan 2023?

Very busy! The week itself has been condensed to four days and I participated in five panels, with a lot of important discussions in between. This year we had panels on: how to build competence in digital robustness; how Sweden can defend itself against cyberattacks; cybersecurity and digital sovereignty; how we can create conditions to help keep companies safer; and finally on the topic of how prepared we are. 

The panels featured cybersecurity experts from across politics (at a federal as well as a local level), industry, civil society, and the armed forces so we got a high level of insight into the most important issues we are facing today. 

2. What were some of the key issues that emerged?

When it comes to robustness, we need to look at how to prevent, identify, and manage cyber incidents. We need to plan in advance, map out scenarios, and then take appropriate actions to reduce both the probability and consequence of cyberattacks. In terms of cybersecurity, at a national level we are definitely on the right track but we need more cooperation, more dialogue, and more focus on the systems that need defending. This should include more intense discussions on what to defend. When it comes to digital sovereignty, we have (too many) compliance checklists and need to focus on responsibility. This should include how to ensure cybersecurity in stressful situations and how to frame the right requirements for subcontractors. 

3. Why is it so important to discuss these issues at this kind of event?

Almedalsveckan is unique both in terms of the range of people brought together and the openness of the discussions across topics effecting society as a whole. It is very important for experts from government, the military, industry, civil society, and the technical community to have the possibility to discuss the challenges that face us in an open and constructive way. This means that when we look at where we can improve, we don’t end up pointing fingers but can roll up our sleeves and ask: “How can we work together even more effectively?”.

4. What does Netnod do to make the situation better?

Our mission is to not only provide excellent services, but to also do this in a way that ensures our customers’ services are as rock solid as possible. At the end of the day, what matters most is the robustness of the services our customers provide.

As a provider of core services upon which both Sweden's technical infrastructure and society depend, we have always focused on the importance of cooperation. This means cooperation across the whole of society including entities that might view us as competitors. As the Head of Security at Netnod, a crucial part of my role is to continue finding ways to improve cooperation and collaboration in the service of better cybersecurity throughout Sweden.

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