The NATO alliance is preparing for the NATO Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Symposium (NIAS) 2016 where over 1,000 alliance officials and industry representatives will meet to talk about emerging trends in cybersecurity.

Set for Sept.7-8 in Mons, Belgium, the conference is being organized by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency.

NIAS 2016 NCI Agency cyber conference logo

The NCI Agency highlighted the event will help NATO plan its vision for future cyber defenses with invitations and that bids are expected to be released in 2017 and the first round of investments will be completed in 2018.

NIAS 2016 will provide workshops on four major themes: building resilience from inside, moving from information assurance to mission assurance, next-generation cyber security challenges and solutions, and securely enabling the mobile user.

NIAS 2016 comes following the NATO Warsaw Summit of July 8-9 where the allies committed to implementing NATO’s Enhanced Policy on Cyber Defense and to strengthen the alliance’s cyber defense capabilities. Also in July the alliance announced business opportunities worth up to $3.4 billion in the cyber, air, missile defense, and advanced software sectors. That includes almost $79 million in a cyber technology refresh.

In July NATO also identified specific areas it would seek industry contribution: secure mobility, multi-level authentications, and the secure use of public clouds.

NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Ambassador Sorin Ducaru said the Warsaw Summit officially recognized cyberspace as a domain on par with land, sea, air, and space. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg first said NATO recognized cyberspace as a domain in June (Defense Daily, June 15). That recognition “will enable us to better assure the protection of our missions and operations.”

“Allies also pledged to strengthen and enhance the cyber defenses of national networks and infrastructures as a matter of priority. Both initiatives form part of the continuous adaptation of NATO’s cyber defenses. Engaging industry is critical to this adaptation, allowing NATO to benefit from innovation in cyber defense. This will be vital for the next generation of our cyber defenses,” Ducaru said.

Emphasizing the importance of cyber cooperation and the upcoming conference, NCI Agency general manager Koen Gijsbers noted “with 28, soon to be 29 NATO member countries, it is essential that we are all able to work together, accessing information quickly and securely from any location.”