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Category: Innovation

22 Oct 2020
Disruption Vs. Innovation

Disruption Vs. Innovation

What do you think of when you hear the word disruption? Maybe a start-up with a lofty, if not somewhat unattainable, idea. Perhaps any number of Apple product launches. Or perhaps, in these times, your home internet going out right before a Zoom call.

In the start-up and tech world, the word disrupt is often presented to delineate an innovative idea. Disruption is not synonymous with innovation. Sure, Airbnb completely changed the hospitality industry in undeniably innovative ways, but it also caused negative effects on local neighborhoods and housing markets. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, disruption exits innovation terrority and enters dysfunction territory.

Inventive Innovation or Disruptive Innovation?

But, if you are in the throes of creating something new and innovative, you must decide: do you want to be an inventive innovator or a disruptive innovator?

Despite its ubiquity in its use for products, ideas, and processes that produce fundamental change, disruption in this context does have a full name: disruptive innovation. It was first described by Clayton Christensen in 1995 and thoroughly explained in his groundbreaking 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma

What’s often overlooked is that innovation takes many forms, and it isn’t always disruptive. Just because you don’t break and remake markets doesn’t mean you’re not an innovator. That quest to completely break and rebuild often leads to failure. Oftentimes, innovation doesn’t look like disruption at all – it’s a silent hero giving us new and better ways to do things without us even realizing it. I think of my own community at SailPoint, and how our team has taken a leap into global, widespread remote work without hardly a moment of disruption in innovation, productivity or customer service.

Simply put: there are healthy and unhealthy ways to (try to) create change.

Tech at large has been under the microscope for its boundary-crossing innovations – from increasing privacy concerns to security risks. On the other hand, it has enabled us to operate more globally and efficiently.

What do you want to be known for?

So, as you shape the future of the technology or service you provide, think about the kind of innovation for which you want to be known. Are you aiming for iterative innovation or true disruption? In our case, we want to disrupt, but not leave a path of dysfuntion in our wake. It’s the old, “leave it better than you found it,” idea, which means finding better ways to deliver solutions to our customers, without, ideally, leaving a mess in our wake. After all, we strive to be the kind of parter whose customers constantly look to us to solve their problems before they know it’s even a problem for them.

So choose carefully what kind of innovator you want to be ahead of time, and hopefully, you can create real value for your community without leaving disfunction behind you.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2020/10/21/disruption-vs-innovation/#73dcf5242e6b

20 Oct 2020
Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing

Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing

Mark Hughes, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland, Epicor looks at Why disruption is now a springboard for innovation in manufacturing.

The effects of COVID-19 have rippled across every industry, but its impact on manufacturers has brought positive change, as well as disruption. Despite the difficult choices manufacturers have faced over the course of the year, digitisation has accelerated – a process which has long been challenging in the industry.

The reasons behind this vary; those with ageing workforces have sometimes been sceptical about new technology, while others have been uncertain the investment would pay off. However, the onset of lockdown saw restrictions from mandatory remote working to limits on how many people can be in one area at a time. Manufacturers had to adapt to stay in business – and now they’re in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose the best of those new processes and technologies. So, what should they be focusing on?

People power

Mark Huges, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland
Mark Huges, Regional Vice President, UK & Ireland

As a result of lockdown, businesses and factory floors had to evolve at speed. To highlight just one example of adapting to this change of pace and reacting with an innovative solution, manufacturers implemented Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on machinery to monitor performance remotely. But can those sensors compete with the good old-fashioned hands of a seasoned engineer on a long-term basis?

Both offer convenience, but the cost of ongoing high-tech maintenance, training and equipment might present a barrier to continued use. Manufacturers need to strike the balance between traditional factory set-ups and the new now, incorporating the benefits of digital acceleration while retaining the perks of having human staff on the floor.

The human vs. machine debate also affects recruitment. It might be more difficult or more expensive to find staff who are well versed in any new implemented technologies. But with remote working enabled, manufacturers are free to choose from a much wider pool of talent – something that’s especially relevant to the industry given its often isolated site locations.

The proposition of a truly flexible role in a field that used to be the very opposite could be a draw. Combined with manufacturing’s relative stability compared to other industries and it’s not difficult to see why the sector is reputationally bouncing back to be considered a solid place to be employed and do business – which, in turn, causes a surge in fresh blood to drive digital change.

Mind over matter

It’s not just those employed in the industry who saw the benefits of recent digitisation. Many factories pivoted almost overnight to produce completely different in-demand products – including Mercedes F1BrewDog and Dyson. While few businesses would have considered swapping from making vacuum cleaners to hospital beds pre-COVID, these organisations have witnessed their own power to pivot – and, with any luck, this inspiration will fuel further change in the near future.

The real silver lining beyond merely accelerating digitisation was a shift in mindset. With the experience of 2020 behind them (and support from recently digitised platforms), manufacturers should all feel more confident in running with new ideas and innovations.

While budgetary and practicality constraints persist, they’re no match for manufacturers having the confidence to follow their ideas and the drive to see them through to completion. As we’ve seen, small developments can have a butterfly effect. Each step towards digitisation attracts more forward-thinking people to continue the trend, as well as inspiring existing team members to think and actively reach outside the box. Change is never easy but, with the right tools in place and attitude in mind, anything is possible.

For almost 50 years, Epicor Software Corporation has specialised in helping customers grow their businesses, expand their capabilities, increase their productivity, and improve efficiencies. A leader in Enterprise Resource Planning for medium-sized businesses, Epicor serves as a trusted partner for thousands of companies worldwide across key industries such as manufacturing, distribution, and retail. 

Source: https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/disruption-now-springboard-innovation-manufacturing/

14 Oct 2020
Brain-scanning backpack brings neuroscience into the real world

Brain-scanning backpack brings neuroscience into the real world

Call it neuroscience on the go. Scientists have developed a backpack that tracks and stimulates brain activity as people go about their daily lives. The advance could allow researchers to get a sense of how the brain works outside of a laboratory—and how to monitor diseases such as Parkinson’s and post-traumatic stress disorder in real-world settings.

The technology is “an inspiring demonstration of what’s possible” with portable neuroscience equipment, says Timothy Spellman, a neurobiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved with the work. The backpack and its vast suite of tools, he says, could broaden the landscape for neuroscience research to study the brain while the body is in motion.

Typically, when scientists want to scan the brain, they need a lot of room—and a lot of money. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners, which detect activity in various regions of the brain, are about the size of a pickup truck and can cost more than $1 million. And patients must stay still in the machine for about 1 hour to ensure a clear, readable scan.

Approaches like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that zap the brain—often to treat severe depression—are also not portable; patients must sit still and upright in a lab for about 30 minutes while a large coil delivers magnetic pulses through their scalp to electrically activate neurons.

Searching for a better way, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have developed what they call the mobile deep brain recording and stimulation platform.

Here’s how it works: A wand snakes up out of a 4-kilogram backpack to rest near the top of the patient’s scalp. There, the wand can communicate with a neural implant that lies deep in the brain. Meanwhile, the backpack is filled with monitors—a setup that allows for real-time data collection from the implant. At the same time, depending on the experiment, the participant can wear additional gear for measuring brain and body activities, including a scalp electroencephalography cap with electrodes that monitor surface brain activity, a pair of virtual reality goggles that track eye movement, and other devices that track heart and breathing rates. All of this information can then be synchronized with signals from the implant.

“The beauty of this is that you have many streams of data that are coming in simultaneously,” says study author Zahra Aghajan, a UCLA neurophysicist.

In lab testing, the team was able to show that the backpack records activity and stimulates various brain regions without requiring people to stay still. It was also able to collect the same data as an fMRI machine and stimulate the brain in a way similar to TMS, the team reports this week in Neuron.

Not being tied to a lab setting could enable scientists to study how the brain functions while people are in motion and interacting with others, rather than lying still inside an fMRI machine, the researchers say.

There’s a catch, however: Only patients who have neural implants can use the device. About 150,000 people worldwide have such implants, which doctors use to treat and monitor a wide range of conditions including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The team has released the backpack’s software and blueprints for all scientists to use, says study author Uros Topalovic, a Ph.D. student at UCLA. The hope, he says, is that other researchers can use the technology to study neurological conditions of all kinds without the constraints of a lab or hospital bed.

Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/09/brain-scanning-backpack-brings-neuroscience-real-world

13 Oct 2020
Digitalization of MSMEs needs broad support package

Digitalization of MSMEs needs broad support package

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Europe and Central Asia need an integrated package of financial and non-financial instruments to help them adapt to the twin challenges of COVID-19 and accelerated digitalization, according to the panel for the recent GMIS Digital Series webinar, “Industrial Recovery in Europe and Central Asia: Accelerating Digital Transformation for MSMEs”.

Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture – Trade Representative of Ukraine, stressed the need for “better balance” in mitigating the pandemic while preserving the economy, particularly the MSME sector. He noted the need to improve skills, and the certification of products and services, and to increase transparency. “MSMEs are the key drivers of regional economic growth but the lockdown measures put in place in every country have impacted their ability to produce, trade and serve their communities as supply chains were disrupted,” lamented Kachka.

Naira Margaryan, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Economy, noted the imperative of building capacity for women and youth, given the paucity of leadership positions they occupy. She said, “Although the crisis has been devastating for some, for other businesses it creates new employment and self-employment opportunities. In Armenia, we are seeing women embrace this as an opportunity to step up, so, to support their efforts, we in the government are working to provide better access for women to enter business networks and are supporting capacity and skill-building, particularly in the manufacturing sector.”

Milena Angelova, Vice-President of the EU’s European Economic and Social Committee, focused on the need for targeted investments to specific sectors, for digitalization of MSMEs, digital skills and financial support to MSMEs, particularly through enhanced partnerships. “The main challenge is to prevent any loss of industrial production but to do this, we need to map out the impact of the pandemic on individual sectors and countries to identify where support is needed the most. Until now, much of the business community’s response to the crisis has been on a local level. This approach will not deliver a sustainable recovery. To do so, we need to draw these efforts together, to form a network across Europe and Asia to build cohesion and a multiplier effect,” said Angelova.

Maja Tomanic-Vidovic, Director, Slovene Enterprise Fund, noted that since the outbreak of COVID-19, 75 per cent of MSMEs had lost employees, 70 per cent had falling revenues, while 40 per cent suffer from liquidity issues. In the long-run, she noted, MSEMs will have to adapt to the accelerated paradigm of digitalization. She warned, “We have to accept that nothing will be the same as before…companies that don’t accept this will have problems in the future.” Concluding, Jacek Cukrowski, Chief of UNIDO’s Regional Programme, Europe and Central Asia, noted that the MSME sector is the backbone of any national economy, and that innovation is “at the core of modern business”. He listed UNIDO’s interventions in this area, including tailored programmes for the digitalization of MSMEs, enhancing digital resilience and competitiveness, digital upskilling and training. Cukrowski stressed, “Ensuring [MSMEs’] resilience is key to creating a more inclusive and resilient, human-centered future and a thriving global economy.”

Source: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/10/11/digitalization-of-msmes-needs-broad-support-package/

12 Oct 2020
Asia's digital economy needs a clear global tax framework

Asia’s digital economy needs a clear global tax framework

Jeff Paine is managing director of the Asia Internet Coalition, an industry association comprising leading internet and technology companies including Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Over 135 countries, led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, are working hard to build a multilateral consensus around international tax issues arising from the growth of the digital economy. This consensus is sought through the OECD-Group of 20 Inclusive Framework on base erosion and profit shifting.

The evolving debate around international taxation seeks to address two primary concerns. The first is profit shifting, which relates to differences in countries’ tax laws existing in the present system. The second concern is that the present system may require a more comprehensive overhaul to suit today’s globalized and digitalized economy.


The framework applies to all consumer-facing businesses. Many people assume it is aimed at technology companies. On the contrary, it is a broad framework that recognizes that digitalization has transformed businesses and economies around the world.

A large part of the current tax system was designed after World War I and includes approximately 3,000 bilateral treaties. Simplifying this complex framework is crucial. In addition, a modern global tax framework needs to reflect the interconnected and complex trade patterns that drive our globalized world. The original framework was built around single-source products and doesn’t reflect the international nature of the way goods and services are created and sold today. Global commerce has evolved, and so must our tax system.

The OECD has recognized the need for progress and has indicated that a partial framework could be presented in October 2020 for discussion. However, there remain a few obstacles to getting this deal done. A global system that is fair and simple needs consensus. A lack of consensus and potential delays means that government revenues are impacted, and increased uncertainty for businesses.

The adverse economic impact of COVID-19 has led to an acceleration in unilateral digital taxation measures by some governments, creating double-taxation and administrative hurdles for companies, and prompting the U.S. to threaten sanctions. This regressive unilateral thinking and protestations from countries large and small are threatening to undo the OECD’s global efforts and could do more harm than good.

Against this backdrop, the world is facing a digital tax deadlock that could adversely impact economic growth, innovation, and jobs unless government leaders return to the negotiating table to find a simple and equitable solution. The lack of coordination means that companies are holding back on plans to establish operations in new markets which have resulted in fewer jobs.

The digital economy has played a transformative role in the world’s response to the challenges faced during COVID-19. Emerging technologies have been developed and deployed at an extraordinary pace. Artificial intelligence and big data analytics have enabled innovative, rapid, and wide-ranging responses to public health and essential service delivery.

In addition, COVID-19 has accelerated existing trends. With the traditional shop front temporarily shut, access to customers for most businesses has been aided by the digital economy. A lack of consensus on a global tax framework could end up restricting access to the digital economy and widen the digital divide even further by restricting investments, cross-border trade, and access to innovations for many communities.

The business community wants the certainty that an agreed global framework would bring. Fiscal consensus enables better long-term planning and a level playing for companies operating across multiple markets. The cost and complexity of individual countries creating and applying their own rules ultimately hits the pockets of the consumer and could potentially dampen the ambitions of companies to invest in future growth.

This is not just an issue for established global companies. If you are a startup operating across Asia, the cost and complexity of adhering to multiple and inconsistent rules might mean that you think twice about offering services to overseas customers.

The Asia Internet Coalition believes that all companies have a responsibility to pay taxes in compliance with the law of countries in which they operate, and members make significant economic contributions in the countries and communities where they do business. However, we believe corporate tax policies should not discriminate against companies and certain sectors and should be applied consistently in accordance with internationally agreed tax systems.

At its core, the new rules being considered by the OECD are to decide how profits are divided among countries in an era of global commerce, and where the line between goods and services is increasingly blurred in an increasingly global modern economy. We believe this is for governments to decide. However, it is in everyone’s interests for new tax rules to provide long-term stability and certainty for businesses to continue to innovate and invest in the future.

Agreement built around the key principles of neutrality, efficiency, certainty, and simplicity will give governments comfort on revenues, businesses the ability to grow and invest for the future, and consumers an understanding of the impact on their wallets.

Harnessing the potential of the digital economy is essential in driving global growth. Working together to create an enabling and harmonized regulatory environment would go a long way toward achieving this. Going it alone does not lead to a more integrated digital economy for any country, it will likely lead to the opposite.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Asia-s-digital-economy-needs-a-clear-global-tax-framework

11 Oct 2020
Protecting our environment: The role technology can play

Protecting our environment: The role technology can play

There are many different approaches to lead a sustainable lifestyle and simultaneously protect nature with technology.

Extreme poverty, rapid deforestation, melting ice, and an impending novel coronavirus disaster are only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to discussing world’s most pressing problems. While economists and environmentalists are busy understanding the impact of the world’s population; scientists and engineers across the world are busy finding out ways to reduce carbon footprints and the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.

Technological advances have helped several industries recover from recession, reduce disguised unemployment, improve quality of life and what not. If applied in the fight against climatic change, technology can help us help our future generations by:

Artificial Intelligence: AI is having an impact on agricultural practices and will soon transform how farming is done in industrialized nations, reducing our reliance on pesticides and drastically lowering water consumption. AI will make autonomous vehicles more navigate more efficiently, lowering air pollution. AI is being deployed by material scientists to develop biodegradable replacements to plastics and develop strategies to clean our oceans, which receive some eight million metric tons of plastics annually.

Eliminating waste: Today, innovation is helping eliminate food wastage, attempting to keep it out of landfills by monitoring it at all levels, from the farmland to the table. With up to 33% of the world’s food resources depleting, data analysis can significantly diminish to help reduce that figure. Data collection and analysis can assist this noble cause by connecting with supermarkets and cafés to guide surplus food items to individuals who need them the most. Advancements in biofuel digesters are putting food waste to use in producing energy. Inside our homes, smart refrigeration is helping families monitor their food wastage, including reminding them of expiry dates, some even offering ways to utilize food that is going to be expired.

Sensors: Distributed sensors as little as a dime are now observing air and water quality, distinguishing toxins, following fermentation, and catching constant information on things that are vital to our social and economic success. Wearable air quality sensors are on their way, and restricted sensor networks observing energy and water utilization in buildings help in eliminating waste. Further expansion of these sensors will drastically affect the way we live.

If we keep on producing unsustainable foods, expanding land structures and carry on with the way we do presently, our resources will breakdown. Unsustainable farming, fisheries, land projects, mining and energy are prompting remarkable biodiversity misfortune and living space debasement, misuse, contamination and environmental change. From food and water shortage to the nature of the air we inhale, the proof has never been clearer. We are, in many ways, neglecting to make the connection with nature.

There are many different approaches to lead a sustainable lifestyle and simultaneously protect nature with technology. Most of these applications are broadly utilized and have achieved critical results in the past. However, this impact could be deeper and more profitable if more people are aware of its utility, power, and impact.

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/science/protecting-our-environment-the-role-can-technology-play/2102418/

08 Oct 2020
Future reality: Triad of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain in action

Future reality: Triad of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain in action

The big questions that need solutions are with respect to quality, credibility, genuineness, safety, increase in efficiency and warranting correct distribution of revenue.

Blockchain, with promise of immutability, transparency, security, interoperability, etc., allows us to exploit otherwise unused resources, trade the un-tradable, and allow new ecosystems that were not possible before.

Blockchain today is still in its infancy, and its mainstream value is yet to be realised. While, it’s for sure that blockchain will disrupt the existing solutions, not only in industry and commerce but in almost all aspects of our day-to-day lives, it cannot do so just by itself. Same holds true for Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The underlying fact is that to get the real value new-age emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI and IoT have to work in tandem. As we begin to understand the new normal in the midst of the corona pandemic, it will be important to draw value from any digital transformation that firms undertake. Businesses will have to think beyond their domain and scope to provide services which are of actual value to consumers.

How can this happen? IoT has brought new and cheaper ways to communicate with ‘things’ which was not fathomable in the past. Blockchain, with promise of immutability, transparency, security, interoperability, etc., allows us to exploit otherwise unused resources, trade the un-tradable, and allow new ecosystems that were not possible before. The new entrant AI (inclusive of machine/deep learning, vision, NLP, robots or autonomous machines etc.) has already started to deliver great value to many industries, so much so as to reduce or even replace the human element. Further advancement in 5G communication is a positive catalyst to this ecosystem.

However, these technologies, with a disjointed ecosystem or industries’ siloed approach towards them, may not reach their full potential. In the above combination, ‘data’ becomes the common driving factor. While IoT is producing data from new sources and sensors, blockchain is safeguarding and ensuring immutability, and the AI layer on top is helping deliver new business meanings and outcomes in almost real-time. In summary, data value chain comes from new technologies enabling collection, sharing, security, immutability, analysis, and automation of decisions with minimal human involvement.

Let’s run this model on a practical consumer problem of provenance – the classic ‘Farm to Table’ use case. The big questions that need solutions are with respect to quality, credibility, genuineness, safety, increase in efficiency and warranting correct distribution of revenue. IoT takes care of conditions maintained in farms with respect to temperature, humidity, soil nutrients and growth progress, and also conditions at processing centres and logistics. All this information can be stored on blockchain-based smart contracts. AI-based engine on top of this, with feeds from weather systems, etc., can trigger and automatically execute smart contracts and take required action based on pre-agreed rules, including payments, etc. In an adverse event like an outbreak at any stage, the source could be easily traced and isolated. Next, this can be extended to insurance and forward commodity trading using a trade setup, thus bringing real value from agriculture, supply chain, financial services, insurance and other industries combined.

IoT has come a long way in improving the type of sensors, size and cost and even their usage in some industries; the real consumer centric benefits can be manifold. AI faces the challenge of accuracy, trust and confidence over replacement by the human cognitive mind. Building such ecosystems without regulatory pressure, is not easy if not impossible. This is one of the primary factors for blockchain and other similar transformative technologies not gaining mainstream acceptance or adoption.

Let’s also keep an eye on ‘Quantum Computing’ breakthroughs, as this not only threatens the key features of these emerging technologies, but will severely impact best of encryption, security and cryptography that exists today. Which means any industry, digital ecosystems, IT infrastructure will have to evolve at a rapid pace before they get negatively impacted.

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/technology/future-reality-triad-of-internet-of-things-artificial-intelligence-blockchain-in-action/2100218/

07 Oct 2020
MIT Researchers Say Their Fusion Reactor Is “Very Likely to Work”

MIT Researchers Say Their Fusion Reactor Is “Very Likely to Work”

Is fusion energy finally no longer “decades away?”

A team of researchers at MIT and other institutions say their “SPARC” compact fusion reactor should actually work — at least in theory, as they argue in a series of recently released research papers.

In a total of seven papers penned by 47 researchers from 12 institutions, the team argues that no unexpected impediments or surprises have shown up during the planning stages.

In other words, the research “confirms that the design we’re working on is very likely to work,” Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and project lead, told The New York Times.

Fusion power remains elusive, but the tech promises to one day become a safe and clean way of producing energy by fusing atomic nuclei together like the Sun. Despite almost a century of research, though, nobody has managed to pull it off yet.

SPARC, one of the largest privately funded project of its kind in the field, would be a first of its kind: a “burning plasma” reactor that fuses hydrogen isotopes to form helium, with no other input of energy needed.

Thanks to progress in the field of superconducting magnets, the team hopes to achieve the same performance as far larger reactors, such as the gigantic ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) reactor, which started assembly in July.

The magnets are used to contain the extremely hot and high pressure reactions going on inside the reactor, one of fusion’s greatest challenges.

According to the team’s calculations, SPARC should be able to produce twice as much fusion energy compared to the amount needed to generate the reaction. That would be a massive jump, since no researchers have managed to break even yet.

In fact, in the papers, the researchers note it could be theoretically possible to generate ten times the amount — though there’s plenty of work ahead before they could say that for sure.

The MIT team is hoping to construct its compact reactor over the next three to four years, with the eventual goal of generating electricity starting in 2035, the Times reports.

“What we’re trying to do is put the project on the firmest possible physics basis, so that we’re confident about how it’s going to perform, and then to provide guidance and answer questions for the engineering design as it proceeds,” Greenwald said in an official statement.

Source: https://futurism.com/strange-research-paper-black-hole-center-earth

04 Oct 2020
Balancing The Priorities Of National Security And A Digital Economy

Balancing The Priorities Of National Security And A Digital Economy

Today, just about every consumer product contains a computer or a service that uses a computer. As a result, increasing perceived cybersecurity threats.

Speaking at the launch of his new book, the Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar shared his views on India’s place in a dynamic world. Importantly, the Minister spoke about the change in the nature of power, which now lies in trade and technology. This shift is illustrated by the digitalization of the global economy. According to the United Nations, e-commerce sales reached 25 trillion dollars in 2018, making it equivalent to 30 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) that year. 

That said, cross-border e-commerce, or digital trade, has also engendered national security risks and threat perceptions. These are exemplified in concerns of surveillance by bad actors in telecom, which led to limitations or bans on Chinese companies that provide 5G equipment in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.   

The datafication of the global and Indian economy has exacerbated these concerns. Today, just about every consumer product contains a computer or a service that uses a computer. As a result, increasing perceived cybersecurity threats. A lot of data in digital markets is personal, linked to individuals and their identities, and protected in several countries by privacy laws. 

The Supreme Court of India has also recognized privacy, including information or data privacy, as a fundamental right. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 therefore seeks to provide a statutory framework for the same. This includes rules on cross-border transfers of data. Similarly, privacy is now an important part of international discussions on commerce, between advanced jurisdictions in particular. For instance, the EU-US Privacy Shield is a framework which regulates exchanges of personal data for commercial purposes between the two. This Shield was recently declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in July 2020. The Court made this decision on the basis that the Privacy Shield did not adequately safeguard EU citizens from US surveillance, in an illustration of the growing links between national security assessments and privacy. The future of digital trade will therefore rest on nations’ ability to agree on common frameworks for national security. 

Digital trade will grow only if national security concerns don’t stymie markets. As per a study by the Harvard Business Review, in the past 20 years, more than 31 countries have taken regulatory actions over perceived security concerns. A significant portion of such action has occurred in the past five years. Such events risk creating an uncertain business environment for Indian and global players alike. More importantly, they create a domino effect and evoke retaliation by trading partners. 

India can leverage its soft power to drive global consensus on the ways and means to address national security concerns in the digital economy.  For instance, the country recently banned close to 200 Chinese applications based on national security concerns. While there is no denying the potential security threats from Chinese applications, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) may have to devise a nuanced, interoperable and graded framework to foster digital trade in the future. 

A framework based on common standards can enhance security by facilitating interoperability and systems integration, and simultaneously improve cyber-defense. While the existing Sensitive Personal Data (SPD) Rules under India’s two-decade-old Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 recognize an international standard (IS/ISO/IEC 27001) for data security, compliance rates are sub-optimal. India can consider adopting ISO/IEC 27701, a recent international standard that deals with the glaring problem of data privacy. It helps an organization in establishing a framework for the protection of privacy, provides guidance on how institutions should handle sensitive personal data, and also helps in demonstrating compliance with different privacy regulations across the world. It also specifies a Privacy Information Management System (PIMS) and provides a framework for managing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

The use of the Common Criteria Certification Scheme is another alternative, widely adopted in jurisdictions such as the US, Singapore, and the EU. The Common Criteria for Technology Security Evaluation is based on an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408), providing a holistic framework for testing and evaluation of common IT systems. Participating organizations can specify functional and assurance requirements, businesses can develop and claim specific product qualities, and testing facilities can examine products to determine whether they meet those claims. 

There is a need for a renewed vigor towards the adoption and enforcement of international standards. Domestic regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India have already embraced the Common Criteria Scheme, and it’s time for the MeitY to consider a similar approach for public-facing common IT systems such as mobile apps. An advantage of mandating Common Criteria or other international Certifications in the event of a national security linked threat perception is the relative ease in rolling out such obligations. This is because the MeitY has already established the Indian Common Criteria Certification Scheme (IC3S). The Scheme evaluates and certifies IT Security Products and Protection Profiles against the requirements of Common Criteria Standards. 

Organizations can simply get their IT systems evaluated and certified either by government-owned Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) labs or private labs across India and the world. Since India is already a member of a mutual recognition arrangement for this certification, of which over 30 countries are apart, the certification will be mutually recognized globally. The country is taking the right steps towards ensuring data privacy through the Personal Data Protection legislation. It’s time to ensure that associated national security considerations are comprehensively addressed in an internationally acceptable transparent and standardized manner, to foster digital trade and mutual trust among nations. 

Source: http://www.businessworld.in/article/Balancing-The-Priorities-Of-National-Security-And-A-Digital-Economy/04-10-2020-327126/

03 Oct 2020
How to Innovate Securely with Emerging IT

How to Innovate Securely with Emerging IT

Future growth depends on continuous innovation with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, quantum computing and extended reality (XR). But how can organizations adopt these technologies securely and reduce risk?

Accenture’s Security Technology Vision 2020, “Innovating at Speed and Scale with Implicit Security,” provides important answers. The cybersecurity study spanned 500 business and security executives at companies across multiple industries with $5 billion+ in revenues.

Based on Accenture’s pioneering cyber research, the report identifies an elite set of global enterprises—what we call the “alpha innovators”—and the differentiating actions they’re taking to achieve continuous innovation securely.

How the alpha innovators differentiate
First and foremost, the report provides data-driven insights into how these alpha innovators are differentiating for competitive advantage. Their approach and security acumen to do innovation in a risk-managed way takes deep preparation, bold action and ongoing commitment.

Specifically, we looked at how the alpha innovators:

Bring innovation into their lifecycle to drive business growth and scale their approaches
Engage across the organization to innovate and behave collaboratively
Demonstrate agility and apply Security practices to de-risk adoption
Build trust in the process with customers, employees, ecosystem partners and governments.
Two overarching data points resonate loud and clear:

1) Alpha innovators are investing heavily and simultaneously in three or more emerging technologies—AI, 5G, Quantum and XR.

2) At the same time, they are collaborating with security executives from Day 1 and throughout the journey for secure innovation.

In fact, this theme of collaboration runs through many of the data results.

Not only are the alpha innovators integrating multiple emerging technologies across the enterprise, but they also have more maturity and a better understanding of how to secure these technologies. This is not a fluke. It takes regular engagement and collaboration between business and security executives to achieve their innovation objectives.

To help users better understand the alpha innovators’ differentiating actions, we condensed them into five power plays—multi-pronged strategy, risk mindset, borderless collaboration, culture of innovation and defense in depth. You can learn more about how to apply these traits into your organization by downloading the report.

Why it’s critical to secure emerging tech now

There is a second core theme revealed by the data that is concerning: underestimation. It’s no secret that AI, 5G, quantum and XR pose a major paradigm shift in security challenges. Even though most C-suite executives are assessing the security risk of these new technologies, they are underestimating the challenges they pose.

The data shows that as companies get further along in the adoption journey, CISOs have a better risk IQ around what it takes to protect the organization; for example, across the expanded attack surface introduced by AI. In time, we would expect this better understanding of the risks to continue across 5G, quantum and XR.

But continuous innovation does not wait for bystanders. Underestimating what it takes to secure these technologies could have profound effects on both the initiative’s success and business growth potential.

That is why you are encouraged to jumpstart your understanding now of the power plays and of the emerging technologies, themselves. To help make sure your security approach is future-ready, we dedicated four sections of the report to Accenture viewpoints on the challenges to securing these technologies. Highlights include:

  • AI: Learn how to defend the new attack surface that AI presents, including expanded approaches for making machine learning models resilient to attacks.
  • 5G: Security challenges are escalated by 5G features such as virtualization, hyper-accurate location tracking and increased volume and speed of the network.
  • Quantum: This new computing paradigm presents numerous threats to organizations and data. Discover ways to safeguard against novel attack vectors, secure “transpilers” and prepare now for post-quantum cryptography.
  • XR: A variety of XR modalities present related vulnerabilities, especially when XR content is transferred over the cloud and AI recognition capabilities are on the cloud-as-a-service as well.

These emerging technology viewpoints are based on the combined knowledge and experience of our Security R&D group at Accenture Labs and experts across Accenture.

Source: https://www.eweek.com/innovation/how-to-innovate-securely-with-emerging-it