Businesses must join forces to combat cyber threats

Alongside Brexit, Trump and China, one of the recurring themes at Davos this year was technology. Many of the sessions on the agenda focused on how technological change is altering the global economy and our day-to-day lives, and considered how we ought to respond to the threats that emerge from these developments.

Skills gap could hold back AI development

One of the most interesting and thought-provoking sessions I attended was a panel discussion on the future of urban mobility. It centred around the growing trend of automation and considered the ways in which driverless cars and automated aircrafts might come to change productivity and the notion of ownership in the future.

It was also revealed that the resources spent on developing driverless cars has led to a brain drain in other areas of the AI industry, which could set back research in the field. There is clearly an urgent need to close the skills gap in order to further the development of AI and big data technologies.

A safe harbour arrangement is needed to share intelligence on cyber security

Another recurring theme was cyber security. I attended a panel discussion in which businesses were recommended to store a backup of their data in a different continent from the one in which they are based, and that they keep a hard copy – interesting considering the widespread move away from hard copy filing in recent years.

On the topic of intelligence sharing, the panel highlighted that businesses are often unwilling to discuss their experiences of being hacked due to the potential liability risk. This is becoming a problem as the lack of insight is preventing us from developing and strengthening our defence tools. There is clearly a need for a safe space in which businesses can talk openly about their experiences without the threat of litigation, so that we can learn from each other and thereby strengthen our immune system.

ICAEW has done a lot of work around cybercrime in recent years and the topic continues to be an important one for us. If there is interest, I am willing to host a discussion with key players in the financial industry so we can explore better ways of working together when it comes to cyber security.

Please do get in touch if you think your business would benefit from such a discussion and you would be interested in taking part.