The field of cyber security is mainly focused on the research and development investments in several areas (niches) in which Croatia intends to enhance its current technological capacities, use the existing human resources and expertise and enable the development of new export-oriented products and services based on the existing strengths and competitive advantages.
The area of cyber security itself records a strong global growth due to the increasing and continuing reliance of society as a whole on networking and use of information systems. The Government of the Republic of Croatia has also recognized the importance of this area and began to establish the strategic framework for cyber security through the National Cyber Security Strategy and the Action Plan for its implementation (Official Gazette 108/15). In this strategic document, the following areas of interest and direction have been identified: public electronic communications, electronic government, electronic financial services, critical communication and information infrastructure and cybernetic crises’ management, cybercrime, data protection, technical coordination in the processing of computer security incidents, international cooperation, education, research, development and raising awareness about security in cyberspace, and human resource development in ICT sector.
Sector is undoubtedly the main sector that will support the further development of cyber security. Given that the information security is wide area and that most companies in the Croatian ICT sector offer cyber security services that covers only a segment of the available security services (in the context of their overall portfolio of services), it is very difficult to have the exact number of ICT companies that offer services in the field of information security as well as to point out specific areas of interest for the development of these components of their product portfolio.
The development potential of cyber security in the Republic of Croatia also is linked to the previously mentioned growing demand for products and services in the field of information and communication security. The security sensitive government institutions (such as intelligence agencies, armed forces and police forces) are also gradually becoming drivers of development, as well as health care providers, the telecommunications industry, insurance companies and so on. Recently, strong support for digitization of variety of services used by the Government and various state institutions is noticeable, which means that the government sector services are becoming available online. On the other hand, this also creates huge risks in terms of their potential misuse. Furthermore, in recent years, Croatia has undergone a series of incidents in terms of cyber-attacks due to which the society has become more aware of significant threats in the field of communication and information technologies that have become a significant social problem everywhere in the world. All this is driving growing demand for security solutions in the field for security in information and communication technology, with the trend accelerating and spreading into other areas. This is why this area is also key priority area for development in segment of defense and security.
Indicative RDI topics related to the “cyber security” field that Croatia will support through ESI funds’ call for proposals:
• cyber space monitoring systems;
• Security of IT systems;
• crypto security communications systems – tailored to EU/NATO standards;
• Security of SCADA systems;
• digital forensics;
• development of custom made systems for security education;
• Cloud computing security.