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January 18, 2019
Why CEOs should get ready to fix the Internet
By: Kelly Bissell

Which one of us can imagine a world without the Internet—personally or professionally? It’s not only been the answer to speed and scale for most businesses, but also formed the cornerstone of the digital economy. But at what cost? As Internet use has grown and its complexity intensified, so, too, has the incidence of cyberattacks. This constant barrage of threats, that expose every vulnerability going, is gradually eroding the Internet’s infrastructure.

Today’s security strategies are often geared toward yesterday’s challenges. From reports of exposed personal information to data misuse, trust incidents are becoming increasingly visible to the public—and the public is voicing its concerns, often on the global stage through social media. Trust is the ultimate currency of the digital economy and, as every business leader knows, regaining lost trust is an uphill battle. As the familiar lyrics “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” remind us, CEOs may indeed be unaware of the full value of trust until it’s too late—when their share price, brand, and even personal reputation has hit the skids.

Our latest research “Securing the digital economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust” reveals that businesses can quantify the impact of a trusted digital economy on the bottom line. In fact, there are potential savings of more than US$5 trillion in otherwise lost value creation opportunities over the next five years, the equivalent to 2.8 percent in revenue growth for a large global company. It’s an attractive prospect and our respondents certainly think the time is ripe to take advantage of that opportunity—a massive 90 percent say a trustworthy digital economy is very or extremely critical to their organization’s future growth.

CEOs actions always matter. But when it comes to the digital economy, through their operational decisions “above ground” on industry-wide standards and best practices, and investments “below ground” in everything from devices to cables and networks, CEOs can enable their organizations to innovate and grow confidently.

Here are some of the actions CEOs can take:

  • Actively collaborate: Join forces with other CEOs, public sector leaders and regulators to drive more secure information technologies.
  • Connect and protect: Look at their own organization and add experts to the management team; hold line of business managers responsible for security (not just IT), and extend protection through the organization’s value chain to safeguard the business ecosystem.
  • Innovate: Embrace and develop technologies that can advance their businesses and enhance digital safety. CEO engagement can drive a trust turnaround for the Internet and secure the future of the digital economy.

Accenture is working today with CEOs to pave the way for a trustworthy digital economy. Are you ready to get involved?

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