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Securing Our Future

The pandemic has highlighted the need for businesses, multilateral agencies, and society to harness the power of technology to make the world safer and more sustainable.

While the Covid-19 pandemic caught nations unprepared, the ensuing healthcare crisis has strengthened the resolve of global organizations to make the world more secure and sustainable.

The pandemic shined the spotlight on the need for technological solutions to address environmental challenges and the specter of climate change. The call to redress vulnerabilities in cybersecurity has also become urgent.

In a world beset with existing and evolving challenges of digitalization and sustainability, how companies and multilateral organizations act to enhance cybersecurity, provide universal access to digital services, and integrate green technologies will define our future.

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Shared prosperity can be the fruit of a Covid-19 world marked by shared ambition and global solidarity.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

As Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, wrote, “We need to craft an ambitious reconstruction plan while working to end the pandemic.”

How we collectively react today will define the global economy for years to come, she says, adding, “Shared prosperity can be the fruit of a Covid-19 world marked by shared ambition and global solidarity.”

Securing Digital infrastructure

Digitalization accelerated at a dizzying pace amid the pandemic. Surging demand for personal devices for every aspect of life, from work to socializing, sent the value of “stay-at-home” stocks such as Zoom, TeleDoc and Docusign surging.

Amid the global shift to digital lifestyles, cybercrime has risen, presenting new challenges to our shared security. Older adults proved to be particularly vulnerable to cyber fraud. In the US, according to a 2020 report by the Federal Trade Commission, those aged 60 and above were nearly six times as likely as younger adults to lose money on tech-support scams.

The goal should be a solution that is both secure by design and manageable at scale.

Jeff Hussey, CEO, Tempered

Today, it is clear that cybersecurity will remain a serious hurdle to overcome even when pandemic restrictions are eventually lifted. Work-from-home policies are here to stay as a key component of hybrid work formats. Without digital security infrastructure typically available at formal workplaces, home offices will remain vulnerable to cybercrime, exposing companies to ransomware attacks and hacking.

While solutions such as iris and fingerprint scanning could replace or complement passwords regardless of where employees work, cyber resilience will need to be at the forefront of every organization’s digital risk management.

“Looking forward, all organizations should re-evaluate what technologies they need to secure their networks, whether teams are in the office or remote, and how to maintain the flexibility required to ensure business continuity,” wrote Jeff Hussey, CEO of cyber risk management company Tempered. “The goal should be a solution that is both secure by design and manageable at scale.”

Click to discover how cybersecurity is managed during a remote onboarding process.

As the global workforce becomes increasingly remote, organizations must ensure reliable, secure, and effective digital onboarding for new joiners.


Cybersecurity Compliance

As part of the onboarding process, security policies are mandatory for review.


Remote Access

To ensure that connections are secured, employees are encouraged to use virtual private networks (VPNs). Accounts are set up with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.


Personnel Awareness

Virtual cybersecurity training reminds employees to avoid suspicious-looking emails and posts that may phish for confidential information.


Backup Data

Make sure to encrypt and back up all confidential information onto the company’s cloud system.


IoT Security

Many devices today can connect to virtual networks, increasing risks of cyber-attacks. A smartwatch that has been logged in to an email account may be hacked to access private data if it is connected to an unsecured public network.

Sources: VMWare, Maryville University, U.S. Small Business Administration, Taylor Wessing, US Department of Labor, Utah Gov

Digital Access

In a post-pandemic world, ensuring universal access to online services will be vital for building a secure future.

The World Wide Web (WWW) Foundation estimates that low- and middle-income countries need to bring some 2 billion new users online over the next ten years to boost the penetration rate to 95% from 40% in 2017. Beyond that, better and safer networks are needed to nurture academic development regardless of geography.

The WWW Foundation has called upon multilateral development banks as well as the private and public sectors to invest $10 billion a year over the next decade to close the universal access gap and expand digital inclusion.

Tech for Sustainability

Digitalization isn’t only about making work and life more efficient and secure. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) have a major role in making offices, factories, and even farming environmentally friendly and sustainable.

“Sustainability stole the limelight in 2020,” says Sujay Shah, Managing Director and Head of Cleantech Coverage at Standard Chartered.

Green recovery packages fueled cleantech investments as Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the global economy and more companies set net-zero targets.

Sujay Shah, Managing Director and Head of Cleantech Coverage, Standard Chartered

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs survey conducted in 2020, companies expect to restructure their workforce in response to new technologies that can support greener business models.

There is currently over 60% adoption of AI, IoT, and big data analytics in the agricultural and food and beverage industries.

“AI-powered devices and robots have been created to help reduce environmental impacts and boost productivity in the agricultural sector,” notes Bjorn Taale Sandberg, senior vice president of Norwegian telecom company Telenor.

According to the World Green Building Council, building and construction account for 39% of global carbon emissions. Hence, making construction more energy efficient is paramount for achieving sustainability goals, as is the need to equip new and existing buildings with intelligent energy-saving solutions.

We must become much more strategic in how we create and deploy new digital technologies.

Melissa Hathaway, President, Hathaway Global Strategies LLC

IoT networks can help reduce the carbon footprint of offices. Incorporating IoT sensors can help optimize the use of lighting, heating, and cooling equipment, reducing energy consumption and costs.

On solutions to strengthen digital infrastructure, Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies LLC, wrote, “The digital platforms that have unlocked our isolation by keeping us connected and that move and store our professional and personal data should be required to be well-engineered — designed with privacy, safety and security at their core. We must become much more strategic in how we create and deploy new digital technologies.”

Hathaway reminds us: “We should remember that we only recently began this digital transformation… [and] we must work together to reduce the risks and heal our digital environment as quickly as society can.”

The Shape of
Things to Come

As recovery plans kick into overdrive, human ingenuity and technology will drive insights into action and help change how the world works and lives for the better.

Learn more