Digital resilience: Building the economies of tomorrow on a foundation of cybersecurity – World Economic Forum

  • We’ve seen the unprecedented acceleration of digital innovation that is spurring productivity, driving growth and reimagining how organizations connect with key stakeholders.
  • At the core of this transformation is digital resilience, which positions an enterprise to pivot fast, adapt to fluid conditions, maintain seamless business continuity and capitalise on opportunities.
  • With increasing incentives to tackle cyber threats and digital resilience concerns, G7 nations have formally agreed to share their expertise to prevent and mitigate cyber risks.

The dramatic digital transformation underway worldwide, driven by the disruptions from COVID-19, is fueling a surge of technology innovation and sparking economic growth opportunities across global markets. Quarantine lockdowns, supply chain issues, and the transition to a remote workforce that occurred amidst the pandemic combined to radically alter the business-consumer experience and reshape economies.

Despite the societal upheavals, the pandemic brought an unexpected benefit: a seismic shift away from traditional crisis response and a new reliance on advanced technologies that help enterprises keep pace with rapid change. Over the last two years, we’ve seen the unprecedented acceleration of digital innovation that is spurring productivity, driving growth, and reimagining how organizations connect with key stakeholders.

Building digital resiliency

At the core of this transformation is digital resilience, the “next normal”. Resilient organizations leverage end-to-end, tech-driven strategies to respond rapidly to disruptive events while maintaining a firm focus on competitiveness. Digital resilience creates economic advantage through agility, positioning an enterprise to pivot fast, adapt to fluid conditions, maintain seamless business continuity, and capitalise on market opportunities.

From the local workspace to the global marketplace, digital resilience strengthens market performance and fosters economic growth, even in times of uncertainty. Whether it’s a global pandemic or rising inflation, leaders are finding that investing in the future continues to pay dividends. Technology provides leaders with the ability to manage risk and seize new opportunities. It can improve the ability to act on customer demands and provide detailed data analytics for making effective business decisions.

Digital resilience: a new window of opportunity

Throughout the pandemic, resilient industries have continually ramped up investments in digital transformation, pivoting almost overnight with emerging solutions.

Amidst new and evolving risks, leaders now have a window of opportunity to shape the future of digital transformation. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor and align the skills, strategies and solutions needed to build transition frameworks across society. Public and private sector leaders can collaborate to build practical roadmaps for collective resilience that would contribute to economic growth and global innovation.

Building global collaboration to combat cyberthreats

Already, governments around the world are focused on building digital resilience by demonstrating their commitment to international cooperation on behalf of their citizens. The looming escalation of cyber risks, malicious cyber activities and ransomware attacks are central to the discussion.

Issuing a wake-up call in its recent “Global Risks Report”, the World Economic Forum points out that global leaders identified cyber risk as a major digital challenge, with 64% of respondents expecting they will experience a disruptive event within the next year. Nearly one in five (19.5%) respondents believe cybersecurity failures will be a critical threat to the world in just the next two years, and 14.6% project a critical threat within two to five years.

With increasing incentives to tackle cyber threats and digital resilience concerns, G7 nations have formally agreed to share their expertise to prevent and mitigate cyber risks. This is an important step in protecting businesses globally as they transform at speed. In their G7 Communique, the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors agreed to work on priorities that ensure the world’s financial sector remains resilient and well-protected against the threat of cyber-attack.

Balancing innovation, resilience and defence to build trust

As global momentum builds for a safe and secure digital transformation, economic recovery and growth depend on earning the public’s confidence with a three-tiered approach. The balance of innovation, digital resilience, and the safeguard of a strong, digital defence is crucial to gaining and maintaining the trust of people and businesses across the globe.

We must work together to build a solid framework of trust. Nothing has a higher priority on that front than the protection of critical data. And the sheer volume of data being consumed and transmitted in recent years is no small challenge.

Global Data Protection Index

On average, international organizations are managing 10 times more data than five years ago, according to the Dell Technologies 2021 Global Data Protection Index survey of global IT decision-makers. Our research shows that 44% of businesses surveyed experienced more cyberattacks and data loss during this past year or so, and more than 67% lacked confidence that all business-critical data can be recovered in the event of a cyberattack. 82% of customers do not believe their current data protection product is sufficient to handle future business challenges.

Now is the time for government and business leaders to work together to enhance digital resilience and unlock the power of data for the benefit of all.

Partnerships in action

In Europe’s health care community, for example, the quest for tech innovation led to the European Health Data Space Regulation. The EHDS details a European framework for success that establishes a single market space for health data to empower individuals who seek easier access and greater control over the privacy of their personal health data.

The European Union has also staked a claim in the race for innovation, announcing its vision for a Digital Decade. The EU set a deadline goal of 2030 to address gaps in the tech revolution and advance an agenda of business transformation, secure digital infrastructure, digitalisation of public services, and cyber skills. Other countries and regions across the world are taking a similar approach with digital and cyber resilience now at the core of economic planning.

Economic opportunities from digital resilience, new tech and cyber skills

Progress on the path to digital resilience not only prepares organizations in the public and private sectors for a potential crisis, but also creates economic growth. One vital innovation that empowers economics is the adoption of emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT). These advanced tech tools can deliver new efficiencies, accelerate data-driven decisions, and help bring new products and services to market faster than ever before while also maintaining trust in a global digital economy.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for Cybersecurity is leading the global response to address systemic cybersecurity challenges and improve digital trust. The centre is an independent and impartial platform committed to fostering international dialogues and collaboration on cybersecurity in the public and private sectors.

Since its launch, the centre has driven impact throughout the cybersecurity ecosystem:

Contact us for more information on how to get involved.

But we cannot harness these opportunities without tackling cybersecurity and addressing the global shortage of qualified cybersecurity staff. The economic cost of security breaches reached a staggering $4-6 trillion in 2020, equivalent to about 4-6% of global GDP, according to the UNCDF. And we lack the trained personnel to counter the costs. Globally the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions more than tripled from 1 million in 2014 to 3.5 million in 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Organizations can make great strides in cost savings by gaining the support of company CEOs and boards of directors to champion efforts that close the cyber skills gap such as investing in educational programmes and curricula that expand access to IT and cybersecurity skills.

In this era of unparalleled technology innovations, global momentum is building for rapid digital transformation across all sectors and economies. If we commit to fostering digital resilience and ensure that robust cyber safeguards are put in place, we will see the success of an ambitious global economic agenda in the years ahead and our societies will realize the great potential of the fourth industrial revolution.


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