The World Economic Forum (WEF) on May 26 launched its 'Cybersecurity Leadership Principles: Lessons learned during the Covid-19 pandemic to prepare for the new normal' report to support business leaders to reinforce the cyber resilience of their organisations.
In a matter of weeks, the pandemic forced the global economy and society, organisations and individuals to become more reliant than ever on the Internet and the digital economy.
According to the WEF's 'Covid-19 Risks Outlook: A Preliminary Mapping and its Implications report', cyberattacks and data fraud are considered the most likely technological risks for the world at this time, and the third-greatest concern overall owing to abrupt adoption of new working patterns.
"All leaders and organisations are pressured to adapt business models faster than anyone was prepared for to ensure existential survival. The Cybersecurity Leadership Principles provide a framework for responsible decision-making and action in this crucial period to help organisations balance short-term goals with medium- to longer-term imperatives," the economic body said.
“Due to Covid-19, businesses must accelerate their digital transformation to harness the benefits, while striking a balance between agility, scalability, efficiency, profitability and cybersecurity. The confluence of these disruptive forces is impacting critical functions and industry ecosystems globally,” said WEF Centre for Cybersecurity industry solutions head Georges De Moura.
The five Cybersecurity Leadership Principles were developed to help global leaders reinforce the cyber resilience and cybersecurity of their organisations in a context of rampant global change and uncertainty.
With the instantaneous shift to the digital realm, cyber resilience and cybersecurity are no longer theoretical nice-to-haves. Companies and countries have become painfully conscious of the fragility of critical systems upon which they vitally depend and that must be secure and resilient.
“In the urgent management of near-term challenges, responsible business leaders must incorporate cyber resilience in the business operating model and invest in capabilities to anticipate, withstand, recover from and adapt to adverse conditions and cyberattacks, to position the business for its success beyond the pandemic conditions,” De Moura said.
To bolster cyber resilience and secure operations, leaders are urged to foster a culture of cyber resilience and focus on protecting an organisation’s critical assets and services. Additionally, they must strive to balance risk-informed decisions during the crisis and beyond.
Business leader should update and practice response and business continuity plans as the business transitions to the “new normal”, and strengthen ecosystem-wide collaboration.
According to the report, this approach and the rigorous application of the principles will help organisations earn the trust of employees, customers and business partners, and help to successfully adapt in an increasingly ambiguous and fast-moving world.
While these principles and imperatives were known before the pandemic, their relevance and benefit are underscored by the new reality, its pace and scale, said De Moura.
Covid-19 is confronting every organisation with the limits of its ability to learn and change in an environment where speed is everything and where delaying key decisions can have a dramatic impact on business operations, he added.