Can John Suffolk regain Huawei's lost image in security space?
Huawei is struggling to keep pace with security-related demands of several governments across the world.
Through the appointment of John Suffolk as the global cyber security officer, Huawei is trying to find answers to many questions raised by the telecom industry.
Huawei is facing many allegations. In many telecom markets, the Chinese equipment vendor Huawei has been criticized for security aspects on several counts – the most severe being an accusation that the company was working for the Chinese government and thus providing the Chinese government with inside security information from Huawei’s various countries of operation, through call monitoring on the Huawei network. This was also a reason for India banning import of 3G telecom security equipment from Huawei for several months.
The recent MoU signed between The Indian Institute of Science and Huawei to conduct testing and certification of software and hardware in order to prevent security risks to the network and other telecom services, was also criticized on grounds of the security of the information being passed between the two organizations in the testing lab.
Indian telecom minister, Kapil Sibal later clarified this issue stating that, It may be understood that Huawei is not helping IISc Bangalore to set up any Lab as IISc has already set up the same as part of old pilot project, wherein all the equipment and software are theirs. MOU signed between the two is more like a non-disclosure-agreement so that the information that IISc gets from Huawei is not disclosed to others.”
Huawei has set up a cyber security centre in the UK in December last year, despite suspicions being raised in that country over the former’s cyber security, in terms of hidden hacking software. Amidst these accusations, Huawei had set up a Global Cyber Security Assurance System, stating on its website that it understands the risk that cyber security poses today and will work steadily towards mitigating the same. The UK cyber security centre was the first centre to be set up by Huawei after the inauguration of the new GCSAS, and the company’s commitment to fair operation.
The recent appointment of former CIO of the UK government’s security assets is thus considered the next major step by Huawei, after the setting up of the UK cyber security centre, in order to reassure global ICT companies of Huawei’s commitment towards tackling increasing cyber security issues.
John Suffolk will join on Huawei on October 1. Suffolk will report to Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei. He will be in charge of developing Huawei’s cyber security assurance strategy and system, managing and supervising its implementation. The system will be adopted by all business groups and across all departments including R&D, supply chain, marketing and sales, project delivery and technical service.
As Huawei’s GCSO, Suffolk will refine Huawei’s cyber security assurance system through communication with customers, partners, employees, and other stakeholders. The GCSO’s office will be located in Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China.
With convergence of the ICT industry, Huawei is expanding its business beyond its traditional operator market to meet the communications needs of both enterprises and consumers. Industry convergence will also expand the complexity of cyber security challenges, and Huawei is fully committed to addressing the emerging challenges of tomorrow together with our customers.
Suffolk has a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with cyber security issues with deep insights into emerging global cyber security trends. This will enhance Huawei’s capabilities in addressing security challenges, and further support our proven track record and reputation among customers in an increasingly complex environment,” said Ken Hu, deputy chairman of the Board & chairman of Huawei’s Global Cyber Security Committee.
Prior to joining Huawei, Suffolk was the CIO of the UK Government, responsible for the development and implementation of the UK Government’s Transformational Government Strategies, the Technology Strategy, and the Information Assurance Strategy.
He has also been an adviser to the World Bank High-Level Experts group since 2010 advising governments on how ICT can be used to transform the public service sector and generate economic growth.
By Beryl M