Accenture: Cyber resilience for the future

By Janet Brice
Five-point plan to protect data-driven enterprises against hackers from Accenture who call on companies to instil a “security-first mind-set...

 Companies must prepare against future attacks from hackers by becoming cyber resilient, warn Accenture who have produced a five-point protection plan.

Connected data-driven future enterprises come with added cyber risk, reports Accenture in their Build Persuasive Cyber Resilience Now report which outlines how to safeguard businesses now and in the future.

Sensitive data, connectivity and automation multiplies the opportunities for hackers. Expanding the “surface area” exposes companies to cyber-attacks. Digital systems are so embedded in daily operations, the potential damage from even a single security incident is magnified, outlines the report.

How to outwit the hackers

Accenture stress companies must prepare for the risks that come with new business models and intelligent technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Machines are now attacking machines. Companies not only need to link security with the business, they also need to use the same intelligent technologies (AI and ML)) that the business, and the hackers, are using. 

“Three-quarters of C-suite respondents in our survey expect cybersecurity risks to diminish in the next few years, thanks to new cybersecurity technologies.” Accenture polled 1,400 executives and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) on how they prioritise security in new business initiatives.

Half of the CISOs said their responsibilities are growing faster than their ability to address them and 38% of companies said they brought the CISOs into discussions at the beginning of new business opportunities.

The report highlights that if companies want to grow safely then will need to embed security in everything they do. “Companies must instil a “security-first” mind-set - connecting security to the business, making security everybody’s job, and extending protection beyond the boundaries of the enterprise,” reports Accenture.

A changing enterprise brings risk

Accenture reports the future enterprise will be faster and more agile. But this data-driven, real-time action creates more risks from:

  • Connectivity - the internal digital networks and the internet connections that link the company to an ever-expanding universe of suppliers, partners, customers and virtual workforce
  • The “intelligent” corporation - employs voluminous and complex data sets and advanced technologies to guide decision making and discover new opportunities
  • Autonomous machines and processes - from robots to self-driving warehouse equipment to computer systems that automatically carry out work with outsiders

Cybersecurity must be woven into corporate strategy, product design, budgets, and permeate down to daily business activities, highlights the report. Today, it remains separated from the business. To adjust this will need organisational changes and investments directed by top leadership.

Five ways to build cyber resilience

  1. Create Resilience Leaders—by including the security team in strategy sessions and extending accountability for cybersecurity.
  2. Support the security leader by helping the CISO to be “business-savvy,” and create new security roles to bridge the gap between security and the business.
  3. Make employees part of the solution and engaged to act as advocates for cybersecurity and using technology to track suspicious behaviours.
  4. Be an advocate for protecting customers by educating them about how to protect themselves while securing consumer data to meet new regulation (such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation).
  5. Think beyond your enterprise by collaborating with partners and suppliers to share cybersecurity knowledge, products and services.

Corporate security experts have made great progress in the war against cybercrime. But winning the next war will need new strategies and new weapons. 

Top leaders can ensure the success of the connected, intelligent, autonomous business by making sure that security is a core competency across the organisation. 

“If they do this, companies will not only keep the enemy at bay, they will also build trust with customers and partners and develop the bulletproof business processes that will make them stronger competitors,” concludes the report.

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