Connectivity, The C-Suite, And The Consumer: An Evolving Cyber Landscape

There is widespread consensus that Industry 4.0 technologies have the power to create radically exciting efficiencies and growth opportunities for businesses. However, the advancement of technology is not without consequence. According to Cybercrime Magazine, the annual cost of cybercrime damages is expected to hit USD $6 trillion by 2021 globally. Advances in technology are driving progress, but also bringing new possibilities of cyber threat. And, both executives and consumers are taking notice. 


A recent Deloitte survey found that executives rank cybersecurity and other technology-related risks among the greatest challenges to their growth outlook. Furthermore, the 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey found that an overwhelming majority of respondents are concerned about privacy and cyber issues.

However, evidence shows that although executives are aware of consumer fears, they are unclear in how to respond.

As organizations double down on connected devices and data analytics, they must look beyond strictly business outcomes and assess how to take advantage of new digital opportunities while managing vulnerabilities and protecting consumer privacy.

Against this backdrop, executives must reimagine their approach to cyber. This requires leadership to redefine the role of cyber risk management while also recognizing and addressing the concerns of both internal and external stakeholders.

Rethinking the cyber ecosystem

Executives have traditionally viewed cyber as a means to protect information, and thus, control has been relegated to the IT function. However, this model is no longer sufficient in Industry 4.0 as connected products and technologies have multiplied vulnerabilities across the organizational and consumer spheres. In this era of complexity, cyber is everywhere.

Although cyber is increasingly viewed as a C-suite issue, oftentimes individuals at the board and leadership level are far removed from the day-to-day challenges of keeping an organization secure, vigilant and resilient. To be successful moving forward, leadership must be an active participant in understanding how to respond to the constantly evolving cyberthreat landscape.

Everyone within an organization holds some level of responsibility for managing cyber, starting with board and C-suite leadership. To prevent breaches and enable growth, organizations must empower leaders across functions to build cyber into their purview.

High maturity organizations prepared to address cyber employ teams of passionate and energized staff across the business who are up to date on the latest threats and have aligned their cyber strategy and overall cyber program. This makes cultivating, attracting and retaining cyber talent a critical part of the solution to tackle cyber challenges. Organizations must prioritize learning across the enterprise to allow them to effectively manage cyber and implement comprehensive cyber solutions across all levels.

The consumer challenge

According to the 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, 78 percent of respondents are worried about how organizations share personal data with each other, and a quarter of millennials have ended consumer relationships because of companies’ inability to protect data.

Furthermore, only 14 percent of millennials strongly agree that the benefits of technology outweigh the risks associated with sharing personal data, and 79 percent are concerned they will be victims of online fraud.

This presents a significant warning sign to organizations—failing to put data protection and potential vulnerabilities at the top of the corporate agenda could not only hurt the business itself, but significantly erode trust with consumers.

Heightened vulnerabilities in the consumer space underscore the importance for organizations to build cyber into their strategies from product development to customer support. When looking at the entire cyber ecosystem and considering roles and responsibilities throughout an organization, businesses that view consumer insights and concerns as motivation to refocus cyber efforts will gain a competitive edge.

How organizations can respond

Cyber truly is everywhere, and is something that must be taken into account as organizations evaluate and formulate their business strategies.

As businesses work to reposition cyber from a threat to a growth opportunity, inter-organizational collaboration is key. Spearheaded by the board and C-suite, organizations must prioritize working together throughout the organization to address these concerns. With connectivity comes responsibility and establishing trust amongst all key stakeholders, including third parties and consumers, will enable organizations to capture value from cyber and take full advantage of the technological opportunities presented by Industry 4.0.

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