Accenture: cyber resilience in consumer goods and services
Clive Brindley, Senior Manager for Security Practice, Accenture Africa, explains how South Africa’s consumer goods and services can achieve cyber resilience.
“It is commonly understood that security – or specifically cybersecurity in the modern-day organisation – is everyone’s responsibility, but what does that mean?” contemplates Brindley, who states that security can and should be connected to the very fabric of the business.
However, in order to weave cybersecurity into corporate strategies, product design, budgeting and daily business activities, there may need to be a cultural shift within an organisation and its investments.
“Whether you are developing a new process around customer engagement, launching a new product, or creating new services, the security executive needs to be involved at every stage from vision to implementation. It is high time companies elevate the role of the security executive from an IT security leader to a trusted business enabler,” comments Brindley.
“In turn, security executives must embrace business conversations that identify security risks in a way that is easily digested by the business leaders who are responsible for making risk and funding-related decisions. The Consumer Goods and Services (CG&S) industry especially, demands this now more than ever,” he adds.
Driving security into the foundations of an organisation
In a recent Accenture study, the company explained that “after decades of mergers and acquisitions, many CG&S companies have been left with large, decentralised organisational models that emphasise individual businesses or brands.” As a result companies have become increasingly open to cyber risks due to inconsistent security maturity, with many not addressing new emerging threats across the value chain.
Traditional security priorities have focused on protecting IT services and assets such as e-mail, IT data centres, enterprise applications, and desktop environments. “However, the increased sophistication in cyber-attacks means that security executives need to now focus on infusing security mechanisms into the fabric of the organisation’s strategy. This way, CG&S organisations can build Cyber Resilience to operate effectively despite persistent threats, sophisticated attacks, and disruption,” says Brindley.
Ways to improve risk posture
1. Secure the journey to the cloud
Many CG&S companies are beginning to move applications, workloads, or whole data centres to third-party cloud providers.
“This transition offers an opportunity to re-examine the business infrastructure and operations to design security in at the heart of organisational strategy, building resilience.”
2. Build trust in direct-to-customer initiatives
CG&S companies have begun to create strategies to deepen their direct consumer relationships and harness data analytics to make informed business decisions. Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics and machine-learning enable organisations to mine large consumer data sets to better engage customers, manage promotions and understand behaviours.
“This is also useful for security to pre-emptively account for the new risks and protection obligations that come with this or any new data set.”
3. Manage operational technology (OT) risk
Advances made in operational technology (OT) have enabled organisations to use devices and services for the remote management and monitoring in factories.
However, “security is rarely a priority in comparison to the daily running of the factory. As a result, in recent times security executives have been forced to turn their attention from the IT to the OT environment, which has a unique set of challenges including: a lack of security accountability, inconsistent security processes, inconsistent technical controls, and incomplete asset visibility.”
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G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”