Future growth depends on continuous innovation with emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, Quantum Computing and Extended Reality (XR). But how can organizations adopt these technologies securely and reduce risk?

Our Security Technology Vision 2020, “Innovating at Speed and Scale with Implicit Security,” provides important answers.

Based on Accenture’s pioneering cyber research,[i] the report identifies an elite set of global enterprises—what we call the “alpha innovators”—and the differentiating actions they’re taking to achieve continuous innovation securely.

How the alpha innovators differentiate


First and foremost, our report provides data-driven insights into how these alpha innovators are differentiating for competitive advantage. Their approach and security acumen to do innovation in a risk-managed way takes deep preparation, bold action and ongoing commitment.

Specifically, we looked at how the alpha innovators:

  • Bring innovation into their lifecycle to drive business growth and scale their approaches
  • Engage across the organization to innovate and behave collaboratively
  • Demonstrate agility and apply Security practices to de-risk adoption
  • Build trust in the process with customers, employees, ecosystem partners and governments.

Two overarching data points resonate loud and clear. 1) Alpha innovators are investing heavily and simultaneously in three or more emerging technologies—AI, 5G, Quantum and XR. 2) At the same time, they are collaborating with Security executives from day one and throughout the journey for secure innovation.

In fact, this theme of collaboration runs through many of the data results.

Not only are the alpha innovators integrating multiple emerging technologies across the enterprise, but they also have more maturity and a better understanding of how to secure these technologies. This is not a fluke. It takes regular engagement and collaboration between Business and Security executives to achieve their innovation objectives.

To help our clients better understand the alpha innovators’ differentiating actions, we condensed them into five power playsmulti-pronged strategy, risk mindset, borderless collaboration, culture of innovation and defense in depth. You can learn more about how to apply these traits into your organization by downloading the report.  

Why it's critical to secure emerging tech now

There is a second core theme revealed by the data that is concerning: underestimation. It’s no secret that AI, 5G, Quantum and XR pose a major paradigm shift in Security challenges. Even though most C-suite executives are assessing the Security risk of these new technologies, they are underestimating the challenges they pose.

Continuous innovation does not wait for bystanders.

Our data shows that as companies get farther along in the adoption journey, CISOs have a better risk IQ around what it takes to protect the organization, for example, across the expanded attack surface introduced by AI. In time, we would expect this better understanding of the risks to continue across 5G, Quantum and XR.

But continuous innovation does not wait for bystanders. Underestimating what it takes to secure these technologies could have profound effects on both the initiative’s success and business growth potential.

That is why I encourage you to jumpstart your understanding now of the power plays and of the emerging technologies, themselves. To help make sure your security approach is future-ready, we dedicated four sections of the report to Accenture viewpoints on the challenges to securing these technologies. Highlights include:

  • AI—Learn how to defend the new attack surface that AI presents, including expanded approaches for making machine learning models resilient to attacks.

  • 5G— Security challenges are escalated by 5G features such as virtualization, hyper-accurate location tracking and increased volume and speed of the network.

  • Quantum—This new computing paradigm presents numerous threats to organizations and data. Discover ways to safeguard against novel attack vectors, secure “transpilers” and prepare now for post-Quantum cryptography.

  • XR—A variety of XR modalities present related vulnerabilities, especially when XR content is transferred over the cloud and AI recognition capabilities are on the cloud-as-a-service as well.

These emerging technology viewpoints are based on the combined knowledge and experience of our Security R&D group at Accenture Labs and experts across Accenture. Explore them in our Security Technology Vision 2020: Innovating at Speed and Scale with Implicit Security. To discuss your company’s security and innovation plans for these technologies, contact me at lisa.oconnor@accenture.com.

[i] The Accenture cybersecurity study spanned 500 Business and Security executives at companies across multiple industries with $5 billion+ in revenues.

Lisa O'Connor

Managing Director – Accenture Security, Cybersecurity R&D, Accenture Labs

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