PTA gears up to devise regulations against cyber threats

    In an effort to establish a more secure and cohesive digital landscape, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is leading a nationwide initiative to standardize cybersecurity regulations and frameworks.

    As outlined in the PTA Cyber-Security Strategy 2023-28, this groundbreaking effort aims to unite various sectors, ensuring a harmonized approach to cybersecurity throughout the country. The PTA, serving as a trailblazer, is not only developing cybersecurity frameworks tailored to the telecom sector but is actively engaging with regulators from diverse industries to establish standardized guidelines.

    This collaborative endeavor involves key stakeholders such as the State Bank of Pakistan, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP).

    The necessity for such a harmonized approach became apparent as multiple sectors, including Energy, Finance, Manufacturing, Transportation, Postal services, National Digital Database/Identity, and Health, operated independently. Each sector had its own set of regulations and frameworks specific to its licensees and constituencies, leading to potential duplications and contradictions.

    According to the PTA, the detailed policy of the State Bank of Pakistan on “Information Technology Governance & Risk Management in Financial Institutions” emphasized the importance of annual reviews of information security programs, formulation of proactive cybersecurity action plans, and the establishment of comprehensive awareness programs. While commendable, such initiatives lacked standardization across sectors, necessitating a unified and standardized cybersecurity framework.

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    Taking a proactive stance, the PTA has initiated collaborations with various regulators and signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to facilitate joint efforts in the realm of cybersecurity. This commitment to information sharing and collaborative action represents a significant step toward creating a robust defense against cyber threats.

    The move towards a unified framework is particularly crucial for telecom operators, who often operate under multiple regulators for diverse services. Adhering to a singular set of security guidelines enables these operators to contribute to a more streamlined and effective cybersecurity strategy, addressing concerns about compliance fatigue.

    According to the PTA, the unified framework not only promises to enhance efficiency in cybersecurity measures but also to fortify national security across all sectors. As Pakistan progresses towards a safer digital future, this collective effort serves as a testament to the power of collaboration in ensuring the nation’s well-being in cyberspace.

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