Article

Cyber is everywhere: how are you going to deal with it?

Tomorrow is Today

From smartphones to smart thermostats: these days we’re all more connected, to the Internet and each other. All of which involves both opportunities and risks. Knowing what ‘cyber’ is and how you should deal with it is more important than ever.

Anyone who succeeds in using these new technologies in the most appropriate and secure way will definitely have a competitive edge.

The rise of the Internet and networked devices is unstoppable. “It seems that everyone has already been connected for a while and the number of connections per person is growing exponentially,” says Chris Verdonck, Cyber Leader at Deloitte Entreprise Risk Services: “Not only are our smartphones networked, but so are our televisions and games consoles – and even the devices we use to control our energy and other utilities are ‘connected’.”

We also tend to seek out services that keep us connected. “For instance, we’re quite happy to connect on platforms such as Facebook or via online shopping,” adds Verdonck. As a result, networks play an important role in every facet of our lives, both at work and at home.

Privacy

Networking may generate significant interactions, but it also brings risks. “I believe there is still a huge amount of ignorance about the information we make available via all of these channels,” says Verdonck. For example, a lot of young people like to post their photos online and visit Snapchat or Instagram several times a day to update their status. “If they indicate their location, it is fairly easy to build a picture of what these people are doing on a day-to-day basis,” points out Verdonck. “Where they’re going to, how long they’re staying there, who they’re going with, etc. People don’t always realise just how much of their privacy they are giving up.”

People don’t always realise just how much of their privacy they are giving up.

Cycling against yourself

Good awareness is needed to ensure that people deal with their privacy better. This includes the information that we post online about ourselves, as well as the data that we store on our devices. “For example, if you set up a sports gadget of some kind to compare your cycling times online with other people, this means that you are also making those details available to them.” Explains Verdonck: “We are simply not sufficiently aware of the information we are giving away. Let alone who owns it.”

We are simply not sufficiently aware of the information we are giving away.

A better connection with customers

For businesses, the new, connected world can bring all sorts of benefits. “A company can use these networks to create a strong digital connection with customers,” says Verdonck. Anyone wanting to use a service or website today often starts off by creating a profile on the site. “Companies can then use that data to reinforce the contact with their customers. But they are also obliged to protect the information securely to prevent it from falling into the hands of other parties.” Business people therefore also need to know how to correctly deal with information and digital channels.

Secure and aware

“We often look at the negative side, but new technologies certainly also offer opportunities,” points out Verdonck. “Anyone who succeeds in using these new technologies in the most appropriate and secure way will definitely have a competitive edge.”

Verdonck believes that dealing with this brave new world requires new skills and a whole new kind of awareness. “The best thing to do is to start with young people,” he says. “It’s mainly about attitude: being aware of the way you deal with social media and knowing what the protocols are for these media.” In his opinion, there is definitely a role for governments, schools and companies to play in this area. “Social media is still a very young phenomenon. There’s a lot about it that still needs to be discussed.”

Be aware of the way you deal with social media.

Risk analysis

So, what’s the best way to deal with these innovations? Verdonck has a few tips: “As a company manager, you need to pay attention to the intrinsic risks involved with these new technologies before you implement them.” Risk analysis is essential with every important decision, including when you are moving business information to a new platform.

Pay attention to the intrinsic risks involved with new technologies before you implement them.

Anti-phishing

For consumers, as well as for employees, it’s a question of being sensible, says Verdonck. “Be aware of which sites you enter information on, and always be alert to phishing.” His final tip for people who have doubts about some of the e-mails that they receive is simply not to reply. “Better that than open an attachment with a virus,” states Verdonck. “If it’s a genuine e-mail, the person who sent it will send you a reminder.”

Driving licence for the net

Finally, young people also need to be aware of what they can and can’t publish on social media. “What are the rules of conduct for these media?” asks Deloitte’s Chris Verdonck. “These days you see things like cyber-bullying. But just like you have to drive a car in a certain way, you also have to behave in a certain way on social media. It’s a particular skill that you need to cultivate and one that we must get across in schools, businesses and government.”

Just like you have to drive a car in a certain way, you also have to behave in a certain way on social media.

De Standaard

Cyber is essentieel in een connected wereld

We zijn allemaal steeds meer ‘connected’: verbonden met het internet en met elkaar. Het belang van het netwerk in ons leven brengt zowel kansen als gevaren met zich mee. Kennis over ‘cyber’ is belangrijker dan ooit.

Published: 9 March 2015
Did you find this useful?