"We are committed to delivering services online wherever it is possible in line with the concept of 'digital by default' established by Martha Lane Fox in her role as the government's digital champion," Francis Maude told attendees of the EastWest Institute's Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London.
However, while the internet is empowering and liberating, cyber threats necessitate rules and regulations to make it as safe as it can be, said Maude, who includes cyber security among his many responsibilities.
Maude said identity assurance is key to the smooth running of public services online. The UK government is working hard on standards to underpin a new approach, he said.
Tackling crime and espionage is another important government objective. "It's about building confidence that the UK is a safe place to do business online," said Maude.
But tackling cybercrime is not the task of government alone, he said. Of an estimated £27bn lost by the UK economy each year to cybercrime, £21bn of that loss is borne by business.
"Cybersecurity and tackling cybercrime should be on the agenda of business people. It should be the subject of discussion in the boardroom as well as the Cabinet Office," said Maude.
Getting it right, he said, needs the collaboration of government, business and individuals.
"We in government believe we are playing out part. I invite everyone else to join in by playing yours," Maude concluded.
Read more about the EastWest Institute's Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit:
- Cyber attack could bring nation to its knees, BT chairman tells cyber security summit >>
- Cyberweapons part of UK's national armoury, says armed forces minister Nick Harvey >>
- How cybersecurity is linked to economic security >>
- EastWest Institute pioneers internal trust in cyberspace >>