Political campaigns, companies, security agencies, government departments, serious hardware and software failures. By 2017, the media and the general population finally woke up to a hidden reality – cybersecurity.
Today, the real reward for hackers is user information. Our data, such as passwords, financial or medical information, addresses and purchase history is all at risk. This information is valuable and it ultimately ends up being sold on the internet’s black market, the “dark web.”
What is the relevance of this to a professional working in the communication sector?
My interest in this subject matter has been sparked by my professional experience in e-commerce and brand construction within a digital environment.
Trust is the most valuable aspect for e-commerce companies. This is because without it customers are less likely to order a product they have never seen, from people they have never met, through an online store.
Cyber attacks destroy consumer trust in companies, brands and businesses. There is no marketing plan, promotional strategy, or discount campaign that works when the consumer does not feel safe and protected.
THREATS TO COMPANIES
Modern companies operate based on digital processes and rely on technology for communication, billing and logistics. With the increasing expansion of IoT (“Internet of Things”) it is understood that the more intertwined links you have the more you are prone to digital invasion and computer hacking.
A lack of trust continues to be one of the main factors preventing consumers from buying or using online services. However, if a loyal customer was to find their data exposed or potentially compromised, this would destroy their trust in that particular online business.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMPANIES
“There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked”.Robert S. Mueller, former FBI director
This famous statement by Robert S. Mueller, a former FBI director, serves as a wake-up call for all businesses who need to prepare for contingency communication plans. These plans should be designed to respond to different scenarios of security breaches. The speed and the way you react to a cyber attack is determined by the amount of damage done and ultimately the public’s opinion.
There is an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from competition. This can be achieved through an integrated plan to combat potential threats, and make this process one of the company’s values. Thus, increasing the trust a customer has in that business.
THREATS TO THE GOVERNMENT
Slow Adoption of New Technologies
The government tends to be slow in adopting new technologies and computer processes. While using new technology carries its risks, relying on outdated technology – with well-known weaknesses – also poses serious challenges to the systems sustainability.
Fragmentation of Adopted Solutions
Different departments that are ran by people who depend on electoral cycles, lead to a fragmentation of adopted solutions. This tends to lead to integration problems as they usually require consistency to function properly. The more links a system has, the more it is prone to attacks.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GOVERNMENT
Lack of Critical Infrastructures
Portugal, for instance, does not have nuclear facilities or military infrastructure (when compared to other countries). Typically, these amenities consume many resources and require constant monitoring.
A smaller, cohesive, geographically focused network is easier to manage and maintain.
Capitalize on the Sense of Security
Portugal is viewed, internationally, as a stable country with low crime rates as well as being able to positively react to crisis scenarios. Our country ranks third in the “Global Peace Index 2017” and it is also included in the list of less dangerous countries for travelers from the United States Department of State. This, together with the excellent quality of our software and IT professionals, could be a good launching base for making Portugal a country with above-average levels of cybersecurity, attracting foreign investment and positioning it at the forefront of an industry that will define the future of our society.