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Why executives will be focusing on privacy and security in 2021 (Includes interview)

What will be the preoccupation of company boards in 2021 in relation to digital-related topics? It is likely that both data privacy and cybersecurity will continue to dominate as attacks become more sophisticated and more countries and states push forwards with consumer privacy and protection measures.

To gain an insight into key trends, Digital Journal caught up with Ric Longenecker, CISO at Open Systems.

Data privacy

According to Longenecker: “The General Data Protection Regulation captured headlines in 2018, when it went into effect, and again in 2019, when regulators levied the first big fines for GDPR non-compliance. With the pandemic, we haven’t heard as much lately about the European Union’s personal data protection effort.”

Data privacy issues with continue, says Longenecker: “GDPR will again capture headlines in 2021. This time a chief information security officer of a major company will be at the center of the action – and not in a good way. Look for a CISO to be held personally responsible for negligence related to a GDPR breach.”


Expect more cyberattacks, says Longenecker, noting that: “In 2021, the ransomware problem will continue to grow. Payouts will continue to rise, and law enforcement will struggle to arrest the actors. Similarly, the insurance industry is going to get smarter – raise rates and strongly favor companies who monitor their networks and implement strong incident response. Progressive companies are going to realize that partnering with someone to share the risk, and augment their teams by managing their detection and response is going to provide a better position.”

Economic impact of cybercrime

Building on the ransomware theme, Longenecker says: “Cybercrime in 2021 overall will continue to see a strong rise, as the challenging economic conditions in the “new normal” will push otherwise-employed intelligent people towards the darker side of technology.”

Executive focal point

Such is the extent of these threats, Longenecker notes that: “Security will continue to be strengthened as a Board-level topic – as global events, the continued evolution of technology as well as remote work, fueled by the pandemic, elevate the risk to a critical level for business.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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