Throughout 2018, businesses found themselves pawns in an environment of substantial geopolitical flux, with formerly stable areas suddenly undergoing changes that affect operating environments, reputations, and profitability. 2019 promises to be no less tumultuous, as a global economic slowdown, trade negotiations and trade wars, as well as high compliance costs and regulatory hurdles present major challenges for businesses in their primary markets, while the destructive consequences of climate change, challenges to inequality, and civil unrest affect progress in lucrative new markets.
- At the global level, corporate decision-makers must contend with leadership changes, evolving trade agreements or trade wars, and the effects of climate change, as the international economy begins to slow, and inequality rises. Nations not traditionally known for offensive cyber operations are likely to employ cyber attacks to boost their conventional means of power projection, and cyberattacks will begin to result in both direct and indirect deaths and injuries, while ransomware demands will shift from declining cryptocurrency to more valuable, and possibly non-monetary physical assets.
- At the country level, labor unrest, new regulatory regimes, and dependence on aging infrastructure vulnerable to debilitating ransomware attacks and cascade failure will require placating vocal workforces and finding workarounds to ensure business continuity.
- At the local level, a growing focus on moral hazards, and the evolution of the #MeToo movement will incentivize greater scrutiny and attempts to access data that can cast light on leaders rumored to be offenders, increasing financial costs (including settlements with accusers and ransom payments) while contributing to reputational harm.
Given the increases in vulnerability to geopolitical flux for companies of all sizes and in nearly every sector, due to the interconnectedness of supply chains, source codes, and payment platforms, every company needs to develop a Corporate Geo-Cyber Strategy, to ensure their business has a firm understanding of risk tolerance, exposure, and the requisite tools available to address emerging geopolitical risk and opportunities. As the only cybersecurity company with a geopolitical risk practice, VerSprite is ideally positioned to help each client develop and implement a highly customized Corporate Geo-Cyber Strategy through a range of advisory services and interactive simulations.
The inaugural edition, VerSprite Envisions 2019, is a general framework for identifying and understanding issues at the nexus of cybersecurity and geopolitical risk which are likely to affect most, if not all, businesses in the new year. Rather than seeking to predict the future, VerSprite Envisions seeks to identify the continuation or escalation of forces that will present both challenges and opportunities for businesses throughout the year, to serve as a starting point for companies developing and refining their Corporate Geo-Cyber Strategy. In-depth analyses for specific regions and sectors are available to VerSprite clients.
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