People with different world views will unite when they have a common enemy. I believe we have major “enemies” that have the potential to unite people across the globe: Climate Change — Part I, Technological Disruption — Part II, Cybersecurity — Part III, and Economic Bifurcation — Part IV (significant and growing economic inequality).
Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyber-attacks. Pretty easy and straightforward to say — probably impossible to actually accomplish. It is said that there are two kinds of
companies in the world: those who have been hacked and know it and those who have been hacked but don’t know it.
This broad definition of cybersecurity makes one realize that the task is huge. We depend on electronics for just about everything. In some cases our lives literally depend on technology. From pacemakers to insulin pumps to military weaponry, we depend on electronic devices.
Susceptibility to natural (our Sun) or human created Electomagnetic Pulse (EMP), — yes, it’s a real thing, not just a science fiction creation — hacking, and infrastructure vulnerabilities will be growing concerns as we move to more connected devices.
Peter Pry, [at the time of publication in 2015 was] director of a bipartisan congressional commission called the EMP Task force, seems to think a large EMP blackout is plausible. He claims that “nine out of ten Americans could die from starvation, disease, and societal collapse, if the blackout lasted a year.” Pry isn’t the only one worried: In a 2014 letter to investors, billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer warned that EMPs are now the “most significant threat” to American security.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Our smart homes will be adding an incredible number of devices to the internet. Smart appliances, lighting, communication devices (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Home, Ring Doorbells, security cameras, etc.) will all be connected and interconnected.
According to my reading of where the technology is today, little to no security is being provided or required from the IoT device manufacturers or application providers. Some basic, simple things like end-to-end encryption of data is not being required, let alone tight security against hacking.
We recently purchased a new car. I turned in a thirteen-year-old vehicle. The amount of advanced semiconductor technology and related software to run everything in our new vehicle is very impressive. And far more technologically advanced than the thirteen-year-old car. And, it makes us very susceptible to hacking.
Our businesses depend on data and automation as well. That dependency is growing at an accelerating rate. And we will need to continue that trend in order to stay competitive in a global market.
Like our new vehicle, our businesses are growing more susceptible to hacking and device failures. Leaders will need to learn more, at a high level, about how cybersecurity works. We will need to outsource expertise in security and/or have specialists on our teams. We won’t be able to avoid this in the future.
So as leaders, what are we doing to make sure we, and our c-suite team members are up to speed on security, disaster recovery, crisis communication, and employee/customer privacy issues? How are we budgeting for security? How are we budgeting for employee education around Information Technology and Intelligent Machines? Times, they are a-changin’. We have no choice but to maximize our efforts to keep up!