In the age of digitization and with the ever-increasing number of connected devices and applications, cybersecurity has become a core concern for public institutions and businesses of all sizes. With its long tradition of neutrality, legal certainty and political stability, Switzerland is well suited to become a global cybersecurity hub. Here are ten compelling reasons why:
- Birthplace of the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 at CERN, in Geneva. Today, the Swiss city is home to more than 50% of the world’s Internet-related activities.
- World-class ICT infrastructure
Switzerland possesses one of the best information and telecommunications infrastructures in the world. Combined with fast Internet connections and a stable power supply, this makes the country a world leader in data storage and IT security.
- Leading role in global Internet governance
Following Microsoft President Brad Smith’s call for a “Digital Geneva Convention”, the Swiss authorities launched the Geneva Digital Talks on cybersecurity in 2017, in partnership with digitalswitzerland. This series of discussions aims at facilitating the emergence of innovative, concrete and sustainable solutions to protect the civilian population on the Internet and to reduce the risks associated with cyberspace.
- Federal Cybersecurity Framework
Initiated by the Swiss Government, the Federal Cybersecurity Competence Center acts as a national one-stop-shop for cybersecurity issues. This highlights Switzerland’s intent to play an active role in protecting both the general population and the business community from cyber risks, while improving the security of its own systems.
- World-class academic and continuing education
Switzerland’s expertise is defined by excellence in engineering, encryption and algorithms. EPFL and ETHZ offer a Master’s program that trains cybersecurity engineers. The University of Lausanne hosts the Swiss Cybersecurity Advisory and Research Group. The Bern University of Applied Sciences is active in the field with its Research Institute for Security in the Information Society. The Idiap Research Institute has made a name for itself internationally with its Swiss Center for Biometrics Research and Testing.
- Building digital trust
Thanks to its political neutrality and its position as a high-tech location, Switzerland is the ideal place to foster digital trust. The Center for Digital Trust combines EPFL’s deep knowledge in cybersecurity, sensitive data protection and blockchain and smart-contracting technology with the advanced capabilities of institutions and corporations. In an effort to counter digital crime and build a safer and more secure global cyberspace, the World Economic Forum opened a Global Center for Cybersecurity in Geneva.
- An innovative R&D environment
Switzerland is consistently ranked number one in the world for attracting, developing and retaining top talent by prestigious institutions such as INSEAD and IMD. This depth of talent is what led tech giants including Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Google, Logitech, IBM, Cisco and Kudelski to choose Switzerland as a hub for their R&D activities.
- Innovation hubs and accelerators
Western Switzerland’s innovation infrastructure supports the development of cybersecurity companies from an early stage. Incubators such as Y-Parc, Technopôle, Fongit, MassChallenge and FriUp offer seeding, incubation and acceleration programs to foster the growth of cybersecurity start-ups. The Geneva-based Rising Star Accelerator identifies and selects cutting-edge pre-seed and seed stage cybersecurity start-ups.
- Successful peer companies
Western Switzerland boasts a sophisticated local market with quality companies including Cisco, ID Quantique, Kudelski Security and ProtonMail. New companies move to the region every year, drawn by its deep talent pool and excellent business conditions. Among the most recent newcomers is French company YesWeHack, specialized in bug bounty, which set up an office in Lausanne in 2018.
- International events
Switzerland hosts an ever-growing number of events and conferences in the field of cybersecurity, such as the Swiss Cybersecurity Days, the Insomni’Hack Security Conference, the Free & Safe in Cyberspace conference, the Zero-Day Conference, the ROSAS Safety Days and the Swiss Cyber Storm Conference.
About the GGBa
The Greater Geneva Bern area (GGBa) is the official foreign investment promotion agency for Western Switzerland, bringing together the cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Valais. Our mission is to advise and assist non-Swiss companies active in innovative sectors in setting up a presence in the region.
For more information on the cybersecurity ecosystem and the support provided by GGBa to companies interested in setting up shop in Western Switzerland: