Accenture Study Suggests the Internet May Need a Refresh, as Innovation & Security are Harder To Deliver

In an eye-opening report, Accenture suggests that the rate of innovation has become so profound that the time many have come for an “Internet refresh” – from the bottom up.  Among the stats: Only 30% of companies are “very confident” in their internet security protection. IDN reviews the highlights. 

Tags: Accenture, apps, architecture, cyberattacks, Internet, security,

Given all the attention on internet security over the past year, it may be a bit surprising to hear that only 30 percent of organizations are confident in their internet security protection.


The cure lies in simply more than boosting IT security budgets. In an eye-opening report, Accenture suggests that the rate of innovation has become so profound that the time many have come for an “Internet refresh” – from the bottom up. 


Let’s look at some numbers from the Accenture study, entitled “Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust”  


According to Accenture, companies all over the world will face $5.2 trillion in loss of revenues over the next five years due to cyberattacks. The chief culprit, the report states, is the fact that companies are finding that increased dependency on complex internet-enabled business models have outpaced the ability to “adequately safeguard” against risk and protect critical assets.


These findings are based on input from 1,700 CEOs and other C-suite executives around the world. It explores the complexities of internet-related challenges facing the enterprise and outlined various ways in which CEO can overcome such challenges using technology, business architecture, and governance.


Omar Abbosh, head of Accenture’s Communications, Media & Technology operating group globally said of the study results:  


“Cybercrime from a wide range of malicious activities poses significant challenges that can threaten business operations, innovation and growth, and the expansion into new products and services, ultimately costing companies trillions of dollars. The high-tech industry faces the highest risk, with more than US$753 billion hanging in the balance, followed by the life sciences and automotive industries, with US$642 billion and US$505 billion at risk, respectively.”


Abbosh further advised that:


“Internet security is lagging behind the sophistication of cyber criminals and is leading to an erosion of trust in the digital economy. Strengthening internet security requires decisive — and, at times, unconventional — leadership by CEOs, not just CISOs. To become a cyber-resilient enterprise, companies need to start by bringing CISOs’ expertise to the board, ensuring security is built-in from the initial design stage and that all business managers are held responsible for security and data privacy.”


Is the Push to Innovate Outstripping Today’s Internet Ability to Build and Deliver? 

The Accenture report also poses this profound question:   Are a company’s pushes to innovate (or even disrupt) using Internet apps and new business models outstripping their IT staff’s ability to ensure a safe and reliable app and experience? 


The answer is quite simple: Maybe.  


Accenture’s senior managing director of security Kelly Bissell added that this drive to push-the-envelope and adopt more complicated internet-based business models and architectures may have outstripped CTOs ability to manage them safely and reliably. Today’s tools and available skilled workers can only be expected to do so much, given the internet’s foundational technologies, Bissell added.


“The internet wasn’t built with today’s level of complexity and connectivity in mind, which is why it takes just one click — whether inside or outside the company walls — to fall prey to a devastating cyberattack... No organization can tackle the challenges posed by cyber threats on its own; it’s a global challenge that needs a global response, and collaboration is key. To shape a future that thrives on a strong and trustworthy digital economy, senior executives need to look beyond the bounds of their organization, team with an ecosystem of partners, and secure their entire value chains — across every partner, supplier and customer.”


Bottom Line, Accenture’s report suggests:  Maybe Today’s Internet Needs a Refresh. 


For many innovative ideas, the internet is having a hard time keeping up.


In part, the Accenture study noted:

Initially, the internet was designed to enable high-level data sharing which requires trust, at that time researchers were more interested in building a trusted communication network that could withstand a nuclear attack; their concern was not to prevent cyberattacks.  However, the internet has evolved from being a military asset to an open source infrastructure where almost all internet protocols speak the same language which has led to the increasing rate of cyberattacks.

For instance, Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which is a protocol that has been in existence since 1994 routes traffic through cables connections among services providers, countries and continents. In 2017, traffic on and from about 80 Internet services Provides was routed to unknown Russian operators showing how easy it is to reroute information, whether intentionally or accidentally and making them very vulnerable to potential attacks.

So, at its heart, the Accenture study suggests that today’s internet is long-overdue in its need of some basic re-investments at core levels.


CEOs Should Take a New Look at a Secure, Internet Business Architecture

Accenture says it’s time for CEOs to consider taking a new look at their Internet-driven business architectures and models – so that they can connect and protect with more certainly about digital trust.  Taking this approach with foresight will help decrease the likelihood of compromising security measures and reduce cyberattacks, it said.


In specific, Accenture made these recommendations for CEOs:

  • CEOs can make the concept of a “trusted digital economy” an explicit part of their organization’s business model.
  • Commit to making security a foundational requirement within the company and ensure that protection reaches through the corporation’s entire value chain, from every partner, supplier, and customer.
  • Design and implement “multiple layers of control” to create a system that runs on digital trust where access is given only to people who need it, wherever they are.
  • To ensure a trustworthy digital economy, CEOs can embed security into their business architecture, model, and value chain - including their leadership structure.
  • Finally, CEOs must take additional measures, including articulating security by designing vision, holding the line of business leaders accountable for security, bringing CISOs to the board, and closing off areas of exposure throughout the company’s value chain. 

Meanwhile, the Accenture study found that companies are recognizing the problem and continue to invest in security – both technologies and skilled staff.


At present, CEOs are stepping up to prevent cyberattack and defend their businesses. For instance, the latest security forecast by Gartner shows that CEOs are spending millions of dollars just to ensure that their businesses are secured from cyberattack: 


“Such spending was more than US$123 billion for 2018 and will grow by 10.8 percent per year to nearly US$170.5 billion by 2022. The rising Internet security market is also a hot area for venture capital investors, attracting almost US$33 billion to 2,479 security startups since 2009, exceeding investments in the blockchain, which have surged with interest in business applications and cryptocurrencies.”