Build pervasive cyber resilience now

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By Niyi Yusuf 

 The confluence of social media, mobile devices, analytics and cloud solution especially pervasive platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp, have led to remarkable advances in digital solutions that are improving the way we live and work. The digital trend is further accentuated in Nigeria by the youthful demography and increasingly affordable devices.

 Nigerian companies are racing into the digital future—adopting technology-enabled operating and business models that drive bottom- and top-line growth. These include SMEs, Startups, FInTechs, Corporate and listed companies taking advantage of the many benefits going digital is offering business. But they are not prepared for the new cyber risks that come with the connected, data-driven future enterprise.

 According to Cybint, there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Since 2013 there are 3,809,448 records stolen from breaches every day while some industry conservative estimates indicate Cybercrime will generate at least $1.5 trillion in 2018 on a global level, and Nigeria is not immune.

 To be cyber resilient, companies need to infuse security into everything they do—and every new thing they are preparing to do. Future business relies upon constant, intimate digital connections with suppliers, partners, virtual workforce and customers to stay relevant and competitive. It uses intelligent technologies and big data in all facets of business operations—from C-suite decision making to crafting custom offers for internet shoppers in pursuit of profitable growth.

“Nigerian companies are racing into the digital future…. But they are not prepared for the new cyber risks that come with the connected, data-driven future enterprise.”

 Accenture, asked 1,400 C-suite executives, including Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), how they prioritize security in new business initiatives, whether their security plans address future business needs, what security capabilities they have, and their level of internal and external collaboration on security. We found that 38% of the companies bring the CISO into all discussions at the beginning stage of considering new business opportunities. Additionally, half of the CISOs admit that their responsibilities are growing faster than their ability to address them.

Business will continue to have more intimate digital connections with suppliers, partners, virtual workforce and customers to stay relevant and competitive. This comes with additional cyber risk. All that sensitive data, connectivity and automation multiplies the opportunities for hackers by expanding the “surface area” exposed to cyber-attack. And, because digital systems are so embedded in daily operations, the potential damage from even a single security incident is magnified.

You do not need to roll back your digital agenda as there are ways to build the cyber resilience you need to grow confidently. To do this there are three key things you need to build into your business. The first is to develop a “bend, but don’t break” approach to securing the enterprise that combines the disciplines of cybersecurity, business continuity and enterprise resilience. The second is the ability to operate while under persistent threats and sophisticated attacks. This will enable your business embrace disruption safely, strengthen customer trust and boost shareholder value. Lastly, you must elevate the role of security in your organization and this requires leaders to communicate its importance and manage its application. Additionally, the organization can do 5 things to build cyber resilience

1.    Make your business leaders Resilience Leaders – by including the security team in strategy sessions and extending expertise and accountability for cybersecurity to the front-line of the business.

2.    Support the security leader as a trusted business enabler – by helping the CISO to be more “business-savvy,” and creating new security roles within business units to bridge the gap between security and the business.

3.    Make employees part of the solution – by ensuring all employees are trained in the basics and engaged to act as advocates for cybersecurity, and potentially using technology to track suspicious behaviors.

4.    Be an advocate for protecting customers – by educating customers about how to protect themselves while securing consumer data to meet new regulation (such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation).

5.    Think beyond your enterprise to your ecosystem – by collaborating with partners, suppliers and other third parties to share cybersecurity knowledge, products and services.

You can win the war.  Corporate security experts have made great progress in the war against cybercrime. But winning the next war will require both new strategies and new weapons. Top leaders can ensure the success of the connected, intelligent, autonomous business by making sure that security is a core competency across the organization. If they do this, companies will not only keep the enemy at bay, they will also build trust with customers and partners and develop the bulletproof business processes that will make them stronger competitors. With pervasive cyber resilience, the future business can grow with confidence.

 

Niyi Yusuf, Country Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria
Niyi Yusuf is Country Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria


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