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Kim Loane on Cyber Security and the Future of Technology

It’s hard to write about technology and not fall into the trap of using the well-worn cliche.  Since modern electronic technology first started making an impact on our mainstream lives, commentators and forecasters have dissected and described just about every aspect of its development, progress, impact and future.

For most of us reading this, we know of no other world than the one we have been rushing headlong through.  Into our digital future.  Most of us have grown used to, and comfortable with, the pace of change.  We are accepting of, and in many cases working hard be a part of, the challenge and disruption of ageing, reliable and trusted business models.  We are, for the most part, benefiting greatly from the spoils of this process of renewal.  Despite the pain, to some, caused by this disruption, it is only because of the greater benefit to many that collectively we firstly accept and then enthusiastically embrace each element of our new digital future as it arrives.  I have become trusting of this process of technological-driven change.  As a technologist, it is exciting to be a part of enabling this change.  I am confident in the easier and better future that is emerging and confident that any new problems that arise can be solved.  I would not want to go back to the world before i-phone, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Uber, or the hundreds of other technological innovations and digital business models I enjoy today.

The futurists point to more of the same. Thankfully in my opinion.  We have clearly embraced the mobile, interconnected, social, big data-driven world, and with increased automation and artificial intelligence already arriving there is no shortage of change ahead of us.  The cost of failure has shrunk materially in recent years.  The length of time it takes to build and deploy technology – be it an application, a website, a mobile app or the technical infrastructure to support them, has shrunk to fractions of what it was only a few short years ago.  With this, the costs have shrunk as well.  The cost of a failed innovation attempt is possibly at the lowest point it has ever been and it is likely to fall even further.  This is obviously good in a world where many innovation attempts are needed before a successful one is found.

One of the biggest challenges to the speed of technology driven change – the speed of innovation and adoption – is the level of trust we hold.  I would submit this is the biggest risk to the pace of change – the less trust we place in our digital future, the more cautious, and slowly, we will take the journey.  The headlines on Cyber Security we read daily are real and, unfortunately, only represent a fraction of the volume of incidents that occur.  This is well understood but still, there is a debate about the level of effort that needs to be spent on proactive prevention, detection and recovery.  An investment in Cyber Security will have very material dividends.  Firstly the costs associated with lost data, recovery, damaged brands will be avoided.  Secondly, the confidence to continue innovating and driving toward our new digital future will be maintained – the pace of innovation or the rate of adoption will not slow.  Thirdly the skills and products developed to prevent, detect and recover from Cyber related incidents will be usable in the ready-made global Cyber Security market place.

I could not be more enthusiastic about where we find ourselves today.  The conditions are near perfect for our transformation to a digital future.  Technology has reached a level of maturity that can easily support new digital business models at a global scale; the time and cost of innovation have reached a point where multiple failures are possible in a short time frame and for an affordable price.  The challenge of maintaining the level of trust needed to support or increase the pace of innovation is understood and any return on an investment in Cyber Security will come from at least three sources.

Whether it is a large company attempting to pivot to a digital future and seeking ways to inject innovation into a staid culture and head off disruption, or a smart, passionate startup with an innovative, disruptive idea and a vision of the new world, technology will be critical in underpinning our new digital future.
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