Digital Transformation Barometer finds better security needed to harness the positive potential of AI and mitigate risks of malicious attacks
Despite heightened interest in enterprise deployment of artificial intelligence, only 40 percent of respondents to ISACA’s second annual Digital Transformation Barometer express confidence that their organizations can accurately assess the security of systems based on AI and machine learning.
This becomes especially striking given the potential for serious consequences from maliciously trained AI; survey respondents identify social engineering, manipulated media content and data poisoning as the types of malicious AI attacks that pose the greatest threat to society within the next five years.
AI/machine learning also continued to rise toward the top of technologies considered to have the highest potential to deliver transformative value to organizations. While placing second in these rankings in the 2017 and 2018 Digital Transformation Barometers, AI/machine learning went from 18 points behind big data in 2017, to just 3 points behind big data in 2018. As the perceived value of AI continues to increase, the proportion of organizations planning to deploy AI continues to increase as well, with a 35 percent increase over the 2017 report.
“Enterprises must make the needed investments in well-trained staffs capable of putting AI safeguards in place,” said Rob Clyde, CISM, NACD Board Leadership Fellow and ISACA Board Chair. “As AI evolves—consider the likely proliferation of self-driving vehicles, or AI systems designed to reduce urban traffic—it will become imperative that enterprises can provide assurance that the AI will not take action that puts people in harm’s way.”
In addition to today’s common uses for AI, such as virtual personal assistants and fraud detection, there are high hopes that AI and machine learning have the potential to set major breakthroughs in motion across various industries, including helping to accelerate medical research, improving farmers’ crop yields and assisting law enforcement with solving difficult cases. These advancements, though, are unfolding so quickly that it often is challenging for organizations to develop the expertise needed to put the corresponding safeguards in place to account for potential security vulnerabilities and ethical implications.
While AI/machine learning—along with big data and the public cloud—lead the way in promising enterprises transformative value, these technologies also are among the top five facing organizational resistance in their deployment, with public cloud prompting the highest level of resistance (52 percent).
The more than 5,000 respondents among ISACA’s global community of business technology professionals also helped to identify which emerging technologies appear to be more hype than reality. Big data, AI/machine learning and public cloud were the top three technologies that practitioners anticipate will be deployed at their enterprises in the next year, while only 12 percent indicate their organizations will deploy blockchain, and the percentage drops to 6 percent for augmented reality/virtual reality.
Other research highlights:
Organizations overwhelmingly pursuing digital transformation
Nine in 10 enterprises (91 percent) are attempting digital transformation as they look to spark innovation and explore efficiencies, but a majority of them (64 percent) are encountering challenges in trying to integrate emerging and immature technologies.
The research findings suggest that organizations still are evaluating the worth of digital transformations and often are guided by leaders lacking digital literacy—an understanding of technology and its related risks and benefits. However, organizations that have embraced emerging technologies have been rewarded. The Digital Transformation Barometer data explores the progress that organizations have made on this frontier, the extent to which they understand and are adopting transformative technologies, the impact of digital literacy, and the state of this journey through different industries across the world.
“ISACA’s global membership shows in this research that digital transformation is by no means complete, and organizations are still struggling with fundamental questions of risk, security and return on investment,” said Clyde. “It’s impossible to guarantee results when deploying less familiar technologies, but this survey suggests that organizations that have adopted new technologies overwhelmingly consider their journeys to be worthwhile. As organizations continue to navigate uncertain territory, finding qualified leaders to help steer these journeys and instill an organizational commitment to innovation is critical.”
Familiarity breeds confidence
For emerging technologies such as AI, having digitally literate leaders correlates to lower perceived risks, which can be key when making the case for deploying technologies. In turn, the actual deployment and testing of technologies gives companies the chance to familiarize themselves with these emerging technologies, which can help companies more accurately assess risk vs. reward.
- 33 percent of companies whose leaders do not possess technological expertise perceive AI to be high-risk, while just 25 percent of companies with digitally literate leaders perceive AI to be high-risk.
- Organizations led by digitally literate leaders were almost twice as likely to deploy AI than other organizations (33 percent compared to 18 percent).
- For enterprises going hands-on with emerging technologies, the perceived benefits of deploying these technologies is clear. Using AI as an example, 76 percent of enterprises testing AI said that it was worth the risk, with just 9 percent saying that it was not worth the risk. In enterprises that are not testing AI, the confidence in AI being worth the risk drops by a third, while the proportion of respondents saying it is not worth the risk more than doubles.
While the results highlighted here are specific to AI, other emerging technologies follow similar patterns when considering how digital literacy impacts deployment, and how respondents weigh risks and rewards.
Digital Literacy Stays Consistent Year-Over-Year
Critically, the previous edition of the ISACA Digital Transformation Barometer Survey found that just 53 percent of respondents described their leadership as being digitally literate. In 2018, that number stayed consistent, with 54 percent of respondents describing their leadership as digitally literate. The lack of improvement is cause for concern, given the number of benefits organizations reap when their leaders are digitally literate:
- Digitally literate executives are far more receptive to adopting emerging technologies. 96% of companies with digitally literate executives were very or moderately receptive to trying new technologies.
- Digitally literate leadership leads to less resistance within organizations to deploying emerging technologies.
- Digitally literate leaders are more likely to be planning to deploy technologies that are key indicators of organizational digital transformation in the next year. Companies guided by these leaders are nearly twice as likely to deploy AI within the next year, and slightly more likely to deploy big data, than those without.
For the full 2018 Digital Transformation Barometer research report and to access related resources, visit www.isaca.org/digital-transformation-barometer.
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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