An estimated 1,700 private jets landed last week in Davos, Switzerland with heads of state and corporate executives for the World Economic Forum (WEF). For four days, leaders around the world discussed key issues and topics as diverse as Mindful Meditation to Insights from Andrea Bocelli, the famous tenor. The gender gap was discussed as was the economic state of many countries. How technology will impact business and life was pondered.
One much talked about subject was cyber security. Attendee Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, a leader in the antivirus software industry, was quoted in BBC News stating that cyber-attacks 25 years ago were like bicycles, 10 years ago like cars and now they are like space shuttles.
The feeling of many participants seems to be that the focus is shifting from how to prevent attacks to how to prepare for attacks. There is also dialog about whether it is acceptable to retaliate against the criminal hackers. The sense of the executives in attendance was that the cyber security issue is truly about risk, not just technology.
All agreed that cyber security is a mainstream business concern now. Alliances, information sharing about attacks, and combat measures are increasing. CEOs and world leaders are paying attention now. They are realizing that significant attacks pose an enormous threat to profitability and reputation.
Cyber risks were more than dinner talk conversation at Davos. Two of the eleven reports issued by WEF relate to cyber security:
The World Economic Forum posts many of the actual programs to their website. Most business owners and cyber security folks may not have been invited to this elite summit, but we can learn from their presentations.
2015 will be a year with strong increase in awareness at the C suite level and possibly a stronger push for legislation. Momentum is increasing and all businesses should be evaluating the cyber risks to their companies as well as the technological safeguards being championed by their technology experts.