John Suffolk, former CIO and CISO for the UK government, has revealed his appointment as global head of cyber security for Chinese telecommunications equipment and services provider Huawei.
On his blog, Suffolk explains that he will be "in charge of continuously developing Huawei’s cyber security assurance strategy and system and managing and supervising its implementation".
"My role will be to ensure that our cyber security assurance system integrates end-to-end cyber security into solutions covering our cloud computing solutions, pipes / telecommunications and all devices from mobile broadband to PDAs where appropriate, the customer-oriented business processes and the whole ICT supply chain."
This an appointment of considerable significance for Huawei, whose expansion plans in the US have been repeatedly blocked by that country’s government on security grounds.
The company’s attempted acquisition of telecommunications equipment vendor 3Com was blocked by the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), on the grounds that 3Com had military contracts that would fall into Chinese hands as a result of the acquisition.
Huawei, whose CEO served as an
officer CORRECTION engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, has challenged the US government to investigate its security practices. "The allegation that Huawei somehow poses a threat to the national security of the US has centred on a mistaken belief that our company can use our technology to steal confidential information…. or launch network attacks."
Suffolk’s appointment is a conspicuous demonstration of the company’s investment in security.
It is also the second appointment of a major UK government figure by Huawei. In May 2011, it appointed Sir Andrew Cahn, former CEO of UK Trade and Investment, as the chairman of its UK advisory council.
That appointment was announced shortly after Huawei won its first major UK deal, to replace mobile telco Everything Everywhere’s entire 2G network.