Humans have always had to provide for their own security to protect themselves from impending threats and dangers by investing in energy and capital. Over the centuries, the concept of security has evolved with the times: if the ancient Romans protected themselves with fortifications and weapons, today the battlefield has expanded into the technological sphere, as digitization systems are advancing and now involve every area of human activity.

In fact, the Internet allows organizing business production processes of (just about) any kind, to administer government, institutional and professional platforms and manage financial flows globally. The imperative now is: “saving time to be more efficient” by speeding up all the management and production processes.

However, every digital process, resource, database or virtual platform is vulnerable to cyberattacks, such as Ransomware, Phishing, Malware, Social engineering viruses, Adware, Spyware and Worms.

The damage caused each year by these attacks is extensive, ranging from theft or loss of sensitive data to extortion, identity theft, intrusion into critical infrastructure or government processes and breaching banking systems. According to estimates by Canalys, a leading technology industry analytics company, approximately 30 billion data points were stolen in 2020 alone, more than from the past 15 years combined.

The problem has global significance. The World Economic Forum has recently defined cybersecurity as a priority activity on the agenda of the leaders of all nations, not only for the economic implications, but also for social impact. Cyber defense includes various types of countermeasures. These include a new generation response proving to be very effective, Artificial Intelligence which, by using specific algorithms, recognizes the “normalcy” of a digital environment, detecting any alteration caused by possible attacks, immediately protecting the area of relevance assigned to it. This intelligent system, which is likely to be used increasingly by governments and large corporations in the future, is estimated to act at least nine times faster than a team of people assigned to the same task.

Thus, cyber risk has become an issue that CEOs must make a top priority. Without international security protocols for reference, it is crucial to provide training that adequately prepares leaders and their collaborators in the basic principles of cyber security in order to provide companies with adequate defensive tools.

In today’s connected world, digital transformation is a crucial challenge for today’s leaders tasked with reviewing their business models and operational architectures to adapt for security in their information infrastructures. Awareness of this subject is growing steadily, as shown also in a Canalys report “Now and Next for the cybersecurity industry,” attesting a 10% growth in cybersecurity investments in 2020, at 45.2 billion euros.

Technology, pervasive and eclectic, has allowed us to create operations that we thought impossible until recently. The net has “shortened the distances”; it has given us speed and efficiency and, as a function of this, our way of doing business has radically changed.

Cyber space is therefore a “great virtual crossroads” full of opportunities that every leader should be able to seize, with the awareness, however, that there are significant risks, which must be addressed with the same attention as financial and operational risks.

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