I don’t believe there is any digital business or consumer that can be 100 percent secure 100 percent of the time, unless they opt to abandon technology and live in an obsolete analog world. It’s as simple as that.
As we continue the shift from the legacy, analog economy of the last century towards a still emerging 21st century digital economy, new opportunities abound. Brands that couldn’t have existed 20 years ago now dominate our global economy. Facebook and Google are almost totally digital, while others such as Uber, Amazon, and Apple blend the physical and digital to perfection. These are among the most recognizable, but there are countless more that make up a marketplace of brands and consumers that function in a totally different way that we did a decade ago—and the change is unlikely to stop any time in the near future. As rapidly as the human race embraced the digital wave, we’re just barely beginning the transition.
But for all the opportunity, there is tremendous risk. Our human existence has been shaped for millennia by the analog experience. It’s where we learned to live, learn, and trust the world—and the people—around us. It’s also where we learned not to trust.
For modern-world youngsters born in the ‘90s and ‘aughts, the digital world is all they know. My kids and their friends have never known a world without smart, mobile phones and online shopping, or where homework was not assigned online (and the homework dropped into a teacher’s shared Google drive), or where friends—that they’ll never meet face-to-face—are found and relationships built.
But for most others, this has been a period of transition that has brought both significant challenges and even more significant risks (from the challenges of shifting from paper to electronic bills to having your personal data stolen and sold on the open market).
The same is true for businesses. As my children are digital natives, so too are many brands, but far more are struggling to change—to reinvent themselves digitally as quickly as possible and shed old analog roots in favor of digital opportunities. But the most important, and common, issue that we all face is one of trust. It’s difficult to trust the company you can’t see, the bank you never visit, or the online contact you’ve never met. It’s even more difficult to protect, and leverage, your assets now that they’ve shifted from the mattress to the great cloud in the sky.
When we talk about protecting assets, we’re talking about employing cybersecurity to protect our digital assets against the threat-actor who would hack, steal, or destroy all that is ones and zeros. This is the dark side of digital, driven not by the greater good, but by personal, or state, gain—the world of the cyber threat.
In the analog world, we know how to counter, or at least avoid, most threats. We know how to learn to trust a friend, or a brand. Digitally, however, it’s a different story. The markers we used to look for to create bonds of friendship and trust simply don’t have direct analogues in the digital world. The business processes that we used to rely upon are also no longer the same, as technology has given us a powerful tool to rethink not just what we do, but how we do it, and why.
In this blog (In Digital We Trust?), we’ll be exploring a number of themes, primarily from an enterprise, provider, and consumer perspective—themes that share a common focal point: digital trust. As cybersecurity is core to securing our information and our brands, expect a healthy dose of that. But we’ll also be taking a hard look at the way we use digital today, from the technology to the processes that keep our corporate and our personal data both safe and accessible.
Some of the questions we’ll be discussing include:
- What is digital trust, why is it so important, and how can enterprises, partners, and providers collaborate to leverage it for greater business success?
- What are the “transformational” roles within the enterprise that are key to digital transformation?
- How can a holistic approach to security be woven into the overall business process, from product development to marketing to sales and customer support?
- How will emerging technologies, such as analytics, automation, and cognitive/AI help us secure our digital assets against ever-evolving cyber threats (both within and external to the enterprise)?
- Will nascent technologies, like blockchain, actually become mass-market viable and allow us to build a more transparent, and trusted, transactional infrastructure?
- How are mobile and cloud, and the shift away from legacy IT models, forcing enterprises to rethink the architecture of security?
- How is customer experience influenced—positively or negatively—by our ability to implement enterprise-wide holistic security?
- Who are the key providers, of both technology and services, that are reshaping the digital enterprise, and how are they promoting the ability of enterprises to achieve a state of digital trust?
We won’t shy away from controversy, and we certainly won’t shy away from sharing a strong opinion or two. Where providers and enterprises are doing it right, we’ll give them props. And when they miss the mark, we’ll let you know as well.
To help kick this blog off, here’s a link to our just-released report, The State of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust 2016. In this ground-breaking research, also published today, we discuss the challenges faced by enterprise security professionals and the steps they must take to ensure the integrity, and trustworthiness, of corporate and consumer digital assets. This report digs deep into five critical gaps—involving talent, technology, organizational parity, budget, and management—that are inhibiting digital trust across all industry verticals and geographic regions. Give it a read, and let the conversation begin.