Oversight that transcends national boundaries is necessary to strengthen cyber security beyond current, outdated policies maintained by individual governments, a new Zurich Insurance Group-commissioned report concluded.

Among the report’s recommendations: the creation of a cyber stability board to help strengthen global institutions and protect them from geopolitical tensions, and the launch of a cyber alert system to help improve crisis management based on the World Health Organization (WHO).

Zurich and the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics (ESADEgeo), an authority on global governance, jointly published the report, dubbed”Global Cyber Governance: Preparing for New Business Risks.”

The report noted that emerging technologies including drones, 3-D printing and self-driving cars are changing the nature of cyber risk even as current regulation around the world remains “inadequate to ensure the security of the world’s cyber infrastructure.”

Another factor that’s stirring the pot: geopolitical and ideological tensions between states. According to the report, they have brought a new dimension to conflicts as they are are increasingly played out in cyberspace.

“The existing governance framework from the 20th century cannot be expected to respond sufficiently to 21st century technology, ” Zurich’s Chief Risk Officer Axel Lehmann said in prepared remarks. “We live in a world full of opportunities, but also risks. There is no better example of this than the relationship between information and communications technologies and cybersecurity. The cyber realm underpins almost all economic and societal activity – from finance to trade, information, energy and beyond.”

Javier Solana, President of ESADEgeo noted in a statement that governments seeking to undermine cyber security could exploit growing political instability in cyberspace. As a result, he called for “isolating effective cyber governance from the current geopolitical tensions.”

Companies in almost all sectors are exposed to cyber threats with the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of reputation and physical losses, liabilities, and regulatory costs. Unchecked, these cyber threats could severely affect technical and economic development globally, according to the report.

“The nature of cyber security is evolving so quickly it can be difficult for businesses to keep track of the risks let alone the solutions,” said Mike Kerner, CEO of General Insurance for Zurich. “It is very clear that businesses that want to protect themselves from cyber security and privacy risks must adopt a mindset of resilience.”

Source: Zurich Insurance Group