As the digital world expands, its need for careful governance grows. Policies need to be established that foster a secure and innovative space without restricting growth. As the world settles in to a digital reality, your business has the power to inform the policy that governs it—here’s how and why you should care.
A network becomes a world
Cyberspace, or "the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs,” has its origins in science fiction of the 1980s. The computer industry adopted the term in the 1990s during the rise of the Internet, networking, and digital communication.
Today—with more people, devices, connectivity, and data—the digital world is more elaborate and expansive than ever. Just like any physical space, its organization must be carefully planned to create a safe environment in which governments, businesses, and other societal organizations can be productive and flourish.
What will cyberspace look like in 25 years?
The Cybersecurity 2025 report considers what the digital world will look like 25 years into the new millennium. Beyond big numbers, the real story involves how the Internet ought to be shaped by the public and private sectors to yield economic and technological growth and improved global cybersecurity.
The report outlines 3 different future scenarios that countries/regions could experience:
Peak. The key here is collaboration and transparency. The peak scenario is characterized by widespread access to technology and cooperation among governments and stakeholders. The result is a growing knowledge-based economy that places a premium on security.
Plateau. In this scenario, the digital world is stable but stalled. A series of political and economic advances and setbacks encourage then discourage technological progress, stagnating growth. The plateau scenario suffers from a digital divide much like today’s where societies struggle with security challenges and mostly focus on compliance.
Canyon. This scenario represents an isolated digital world. It’s characterized by unclear and ineffective government policies/standards. This creates an environment of mistrust that leads to a lack of cooperation. In this scenario, economic and technological growth is slower, with limited tech adoption and deep failures in cybersecurity.
The report concludes that “cyberspace 2025 will not be a homogenous world of one terrain…. Like physical terrain, cyberspace will be a topographical mix. The question is what will the proportions be and how will the mix of high-performing, stalled, or declining countries impact the broader landscape in cyberspace.”
How today’s businesses will design our cyber fate
Although it may seem that our cyber-fate is solely dependent on policy makers and the current state of international affairs, businesses also lend a hand in the shaping our future. The decisions your business makes now can better prepare not just your company but society for the technological changes ahead—and you do so by setting an example.
The number one thing your business can do is invest in research and development to create transformative technologies. Or, at the very least, use technology as a means to reduce costs. The point is, by proactively supporting the development of technology to increase productivity, you raise the bar for government policy.
The time for building
Start by building the digital world you’d like to see within your own company; invest in new technology and continue to push the envelope. The greater your technological edge is, the greater input you’ll have constructing our future cyberspace. Your input is important—after all, the well-being and growth of your business depends on a secure and innovative digital world.