Cyber Security

Is Your Business Quantum Safe?

QA's Director of Cyber Security, Richard Beck, looks into the impact that quantum science and technologies will have on businesses.

Quantum science and technologies will have a dramatic impact on the way we communicate and exchange information. Quantum computers will have the potential to disrupt modern methods of encryption, including the most-secure communications, and can leave confidential and sensitive information vulnerable.   

What is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing operates in a fundamentally distinct manner from conventional computers. Instead of relying on classical bits for data storage and processing, quantum computing harnesses quantum bits, known as qubits, governed by the principles of quantum mechanics. 

A pivotal disparity between qubits and classical bits lies in their capacity to exist in multiple states concurrently, in contrast to classical bits, which can only assume either a 0 or 1 state at any given moment. With qubits capable of representing 0, 1, or both states simultaneously, quantum processors can execute numerous calculations simultaneously, substantially enhancing their computational capabilities and enabling them to address intricate problems much faster than traditional computers. 

Another vital facet is the phenomenon of entanglement, wherein qubits can be interconnected to the extent that their states become interrelated. This implies that measuring the state of one qubit impacts the state of the other qubit. This entanglement property empowers quantum computing to undertake specific types of computations that would be beyond the reach of classical computers. 

Collaboration Drives Strategic Quantum Advantage 

National quantum strategy provides a 10-year vision published by DSIT in March 2023, setting out the UK’s long-term plans for the sector, covering areas such as, regulatory framework to support growth in quantum and infrastructure needed to support its increased rollout. Including priorities for skills development and the procurement of the technologies needed in the UK’s international position in the sector. The Government committed up to £3.5bn to future of tech and science, when it announced earlier in the year it was  targeting five areas with particular potential for boosting the UK’s economy and solidifying its position as a tech superpower. Upskilling early in Quantum offers a unique and valuable opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the quantum era. As the field of quantum computing continues to evolve and advance, there is a growing need for professionals with the knowledge and skills to tackle the complex challenges and opportunities it presents. 

We can see industry, government and military collaboration in the areas of quantum and announced by the UK Government strengthen Japanese ties, with a focus on quantum as defined as part of the five critical technologies in the UK framework. Innovation continues at pace with Imperial College London, who have partnered with the Royal Navy to test out a prototype ‘quantum compass’. Industry isn’t slow to reactive to emerging threats and opportunities, as we see with HSBC and Quantinuum teaming up on quantum computing, reported by Verdict, with the partnership to focus on a series of projects that explore the potential short and long-term benefits of quantum computing for the banking industry, especially cybersecurity, fraud detection, and natural language processing (NLP). 

Ready to address business critical quantum questions? 

Dust off your quantum strategy, if you have one, if you are a CIO / CTO / CISO struggling to create a Quantum strategy, a researcher, enterprise architect, security practitioner, engineer, developer or simply interested in this exciting and rapidly evolving field.  

The World Economic Forum asks six brilliant questions to challenge, and support you in your quantum strategy. 

  1. How would you ‘discover’ which data and systems to migrate to new algorithms? 
  2. How do you ‘observe your organisations data and systems priorities? 
  3. How long will the quantum-safe ‘transformation’ take? 
  4. Can the transformation be done in the background of your normal operations? 
  5. What are the new NIST algorithms, and how do we know they are more secure? 
  6. Why should you invest in this migration now when quantum computers are not yet fully practical? 

Do you have a quantum skills strategy? 

The fundamental concepts of quantum communication, including the properties of qubits and quantum registers, the manipulation of quantum states through quantum gates, and the principles and implementations of quantum key distribution. These skills shouldn’t be just for the academic community. Post-quantum cryptography is no longer just a futuristic concept, but a necessity in the present day. Anyone who works in the field and ignores its principles and techniques could be left at a severe disadvantage.  

It's estimated that 20 billion digital devices will have to be upgraded or replaced with new quantum-safe encrypted communications. Are you all ready at risk from this edge-of-the-radar scenario. Many organisations are watching and waiting, after all quantum doesn’t offer tangible ROI today. Notwithstanding the lack of credible applications outside of academia, although realistically the real value will be within quantum security. Finding skilled talent and building capability takes time, are you prepared for the potential disruption post AI hype? 

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