Strategy Magazine: Shoring Up Global Cybersecurity
May 11, 2020
Everyone wants the convenience and speed of technology, but not what comes along with it—potential security threats. Blockchain and regulations are important steps to increasing cybersecurity says Robert Herjavec.
Originally published in Strategy Magazine By Kate Rockwood
Data security, especially accountability, capability, and compliance, is increasingly keeping the c-suite up at night—and it’s going to continue to do so as business leaders are constantly dealing with how to manage cybersecurity risk.
And a lot of change in a short amount of time means that regulations are falling behind, adding to the problem. Robert Herjavec, cybersecurity expert, entrepreneur, and investor, strongly expressed that regulations need to catch up.
“Cybersecurity used to be like carbon monoxide detectors,” he said. “It was a good idea to have it, but it wasn’t regulated or legislated.” These days, cybersecurity should be more like a smoke alarm, which everyone has “because it’s the law,” Herjavec added.
A Looming Threat
As the risks associated with cyberattacks have grown and the number of connected devices multiplied, the need for robust security measures is greater than ever. A 2019 report from IBM Security found that the average cost of a data breach of an organization globally was $3.92 million— not a loss to scoff at.
Complicating this is the fact that while improving technologies increase the abilities of cybersecurity services, they also boost the tools used by hackers targeting them. New and growing technologies, such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), create more attack vectors.
“In the past, if all of our data was in one castle, we only had to protect from the threats that we could see,” Herjavec said. “If an army was coming, we could see them and build a moat. 5G and IoT expand that landscape. Now, anybody can attack anywhere in the world, and they can do it faster and through different devices.”
It’s not only large organizations and governments dealing with the implications of cyberthreats—individual consumers are grappling with these issues as well. In fact, 71 percent of households are concerned about the ability of hackers to access connected appliances or security products, according to a 2019 EY survey. But that doesn’t mean they’ll take the necessary steps to protect themselves, especially if they’re not convenient.
“Consumers live in a quandary,” Herjavec concluded. “They want things to be easy and convenient, but they also want to be secure.” It will be up to innovators to develop security options that will allow consumers to have the best of both worlds.
Searching for Solutions
The high stakes of today’s cyber landscape is part of what drove Herjavec to seek solutions. After taking an unconventional path to the cybersecurity industry—he earned undergraduate degrees in English literature and political science and worked a number of odd jobs before stumbling upon a position at a small Canadian computer retailer by promising to work for free. In 2003, he founded Herjavec Group, a global cybersecurity service provider, with security operations centers in Los Angeles (US), Toronto (CAN), Reading (UK), and Bangalore (IN).
“All information that’s available will be potentially tampered with by somebody or manipulated in some way. The integrity of data will be the biggest threat in the next three to five years.” —Robert Herjavec
He’s hopeful that with constant technological innovation rising new security darlings such as blockchain, organizations will have the tools they need to stay on top of this growing risk.
The quandary of technological security presents an opportunity for savvy marketers in the technology space that can build secure products, Herjavec said, as consumers expect suppliers to take care of security. As a result, “security is going to become a selling advantage,” he said.
One major and growing solution for improving security is blockchain, a virtual ledger that securely stores data while obscuring personal information. It got its start in the dawn of cryptocurrency, but has the potential to be used for a number of industries, from banking to messaging to voting. But despite its benefits, blockchain won’t be a silver bullet for warding off all cyberattacks.
In the absence of comprehensive industry solutions, many players, including 2020 democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are urging governments to step in to protect the cybersecurity of its constituents. In the U.S., major legislative hearings have put companies like Amazon and Facebook on the spot, challenging them on the ethics of their data practices.
Since consumers are also voters, they have the power to demand these types of reforms, according to Herjavec. But, consumers won’t regulate Amazon, but the people they elect into office will. “Through their votes,” Herjavec stressed, “they’ll force legislators to control data.”
Originally published in Strategy Magazine