Previously I highlighted the disturbingly frequent cybersecurity failures that have plagued us in the first three months of 2018, as well as the mindset that precedes these bad ideas. Having worked with intensely personal data for over ten years, I do not see these incidences as technology failures.
The World Wide Web has existed for almost 30 years; the Internet for half a century. There is very little that is truly novel about either system now and incremental improvement has been a priority for the technical organisations behind the scenes. However, businesses that rush to capitalise on new technologies without strategic forethought or nuanced planning ultimately hit an unexpected wall - very, very hard.
Facebook's motto at one point was, "Move fast, break stuff." Even though this was changed in 2014, how can users and businesses trust a company that was willing to move fast with their data and break stuff in the process? The technology industry will be hard-pressed in its advocacy for self-regulation when Google has apparently forgotten its motto, "Don't be evil."
When I work with my clients on strategy development, we chart our destination with every stakeholder in mind. Technology changes rapidly, but we work to incorporate those new tools in a responsible, ethical manner that serves multiple interests. Lately, what we've seen is evidence of companies that have formed solely around maximizing use of a tool without regard for stakeholders or strategy. With more technological advances growing on the backbone of the Internet, more of these cybersecurity breakdowns may seem unavoidable.
After a decade of development, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Blockchains and the Internet of Things are all poised to become mundane realities. Rudderless companies have begun to latch on to the hype surrounding these developments for quick profits.
The Caribbean right now has multiple generations of tech-savvy, entrepreneurial residents that are ready, willing and able to fully integrate all these technologies to increase productivity, efficiency, social inclusion and creativity. As international businesses increasingly retreat from the region, fearing backlash around so-called tax havens, the region needs to rapidly build a tech sector par excellence to take that industry's place, yet none of us will reap any benefit if "move fast, break things," remains the order of the day.
Strategy needs to hold the reins. Companies of substance show that they are thinking of both stakeholders and a future further along than end-of-year bonuses. Directors and executives of such companies use long-term strategy when engaging employees, contractors and consultants at all levels. Technologists show how the tools work over time to fulfill the strategy, rather than display an array of inapplicable features.
That way, businesses can break this cycle of security negligence and start regaining consumers' trust and enduring profits.