Accenture: Reinvent the internet for a safe digital economy

By Janet Brice
Three-step guide for CEOs to build a trustworthy digital economy, prevent cybercrime and stimulate company growth by 2.8%, reports Accenture...

Build a trustworthy digital economy that safeguards our future prosperity, is the message to CEOs from consultants Accenture.

As malicious cybercrimes threaten the security of the digital economy, a new report from Accenture warns, “trust in our digital economy now hangs in the balance, putting significant value at risk.”

The report, Building on Trust: Reinventing the Internet to Secure the Digital Economy, points out the stakes are high -but if CEOs can develop a trusted digital economy it could stimulate 2.8% in additional growth for large organisations over the next five years – translating into $5.2 trillion in value.

A total of 79% of respondents in Accenture’s survey reported their organisation is adopting new and emerging technologies faster than they can address related security issues.

“CEOs have an opportunity to drive meaningful change today and develop a foundation of trust for tomorrow’s digital economy. Unfortunately, just one attack is all it takes to damage an organisation.

“By embracing and developing technologies that can advance their businesses and enhance digital safety, CEO engagement can drive a trust turnaround for the Internet and secure the future of the digital economy,” commented Accenture.

The research from Accenture has resulted in a three-step guide for CEOs to build a safer, more trustworthy Internet, ensuring a more secure digital economy. The survey polled 30 leading technologists, 1,700 C-level executives, 4,700 large organisations and 11,418 transcripts from S&P global were analysed.

Why target CEOs

Accenture’s research shows corporate leaders have the influence needed to collaboratively address these overarching issues. “They are in a unique position to help secure the digital economy by improving the Internet’s global governance. Data shows they have increased spending on cybersecurity and have handled some threats with markedly successful results. 

“But there have also been notable failures, with new threats constantly emerging. What is needed is a new, top-down, proactive approach. The opportunity to rebuild a trustworthy ecosystem exists -CEOs can lay the first stone,” say the report authors Omar Abbosh, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Communications, Media & Technology and Kelly Bissell, Senior Managing Director, Accenture Security.

Accenture’s three step-guide for a secure digital economy


Governance (Join forces with other companies)
1. Take the lead:

When leaders realise that prioritising a trustworthy digital economy is a win-win situation, everyone will benefit. CEOs should come together to create a code of ethical conduct for each industry and principle-based standards for Internet security.

Business Architecture (Connect and protect with a model run on digital trust)
2. Embed security into your business architecture:
When security is a foundational requirement through the company’s value chain your business partner will not become your greatest vulnerability. With this approach, security is not an “add-on” feature for products and services. That is why CEOs should articulate a vision of “security-by-design” from the earliest development stage.


Technology (Advance business and enhance safety)

3. Address the vulnerabilities of Internet technology:
To some, the technical deficiencies of Internet infrastructure are like the “elephant in the room.” But with the guidance from our research, CEOs can exert their influence to address these issues. Then the tech community can commit to strengthening not just security on devices, but also for networks and the Internet’s basic protocols.

“The actions of CEOs, driving above ground and influencing below ground, matter. By joining forces with other CEOs, public sector leaders and regulators, they can develop much-needed guidelines and oversight mechanisms. By protecting their own organisation and extending protection through its value chain, they will safeguard the business ecosystem,” comment Abbosh and Bissell.

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