09 May 2017
Richard Higgs, Innovation leader and CEO of Scotland’s recommended cloud and data partner, brightsolid, welcomes the Scottish Government’s new Digital Strategy and its refreshingly positive tone.
He opposes the underlying themes of scaremongering surrounding cyber resilience and believes it is hindering the country’s ambitions to be “world-class” in digital preparedness against cyber-attacks.
Here, Richard Higgs, CEO of Scotland’s ethical data guardian, brightsolid, explains why:
Cyber resilience is not just a Scottish Government issue; it is a global issue that affects every single member of every society. Many organisations across Scotland and the rest of the UK are not prepared for an attack on their data despite over 87% of Scottish businesses now operating a website which collates and collects data.
It is my belief that the reason for this is not because organisations do not know that they are open to an attack, rather there is a sense of denial in relation to global cyber-attacks and they therefore are less inclined to prepare properly for such events.
The Scottish Government has set out its plan to give people and public services access to the knowledge and tools required to safeguard Scotland’s digital economic future.
By safeguarding the public sector against a cyber-attack or breach of data, Scotland will continue to increase the quality of services, improve the efficiency of public administration and ensure cost effectiveness across all areas of business, forecasting accurate budgets and reducing economic instability.
This can only be seen as a brilliant result for public services.
But, how does this translate to the lifeblood of the Scottish economy – Small and Medium Enterprises?
For the Scottish Government to achieve its ambition of making Scotland a world leader in cyber resilience, it needs small and medium enterprises (SME’s), the lifeblood of all local economies, to be front runners and ambassadors in the quest to safeguard data. This is required now more than ever as we prepare to welcome the internet of things into our homes and businesses as ongoing fibre infrastructure and mobile upgrades make this possible.
A report commissioned by Scottish Futures Trust found that becoming a world leader in digitalisation could increase GDP in Scotland by £13 billion by 2030 – a large proportion of which must come from SMEs.
It has been proven that organisations who have invested in cyber resilience have increased consumer confidence and profitability. However research conducted by KPMG and Cyber Streetwise showed that Scottish SMEs were the least likely out of any in the UK to have taken steps to protect their data, with one in five small Scottish businesses admitting to failing in taking any steps to protect their data. Why is this?
For Scotland to add £13 billion to its GDP, organisations like brightsolid, must have a powerful voice in the digital realm, and must assume responsibility of sharing knowledge on the ‘how to’ steps and benefits of protecting data.
Yes, cyber security is among one of Scotland’s biggest threats, but as a country, Scotland can be rest-assured that there are ethical data guardians out there who see it as their duty of care to inspire organisations to protect customer data – because without them, there is no data to guard.
Best practice is enabling, educating and inspiring people to do it the right way.