IT governance, privacy, Internet of Things and other issues for company directors

Cyber insurance, cyber security, cloud computing, big data – these are just some of the issues companies need to be familiar with as the year charges ahead.

The following checklist references several sources for issues that NZ company directors should consider in 2015.

Social media

Social media can be a cost-effective way to engage customers and stakeholders. The success of publishing original content, rather than placing advertisements within external outlets, creates and strengthens an authentic ecosystem experience for your audience. 

Big data

Big data analytics are infiltrating all industries, providing organisations with a new marketing mindset where targeted offers are mapped to an individual customer’s location, purchasing habits, search history and social media influences. To embrace this mass of data sets, organisations first need to understand the customer information they need to support strategic goals, and then include a focus on non-traditional data types and external data sources to identify a consumer’s social interaction, consumption patterns and buying intent.

Cloud


Cloud computing opens the doors to various software and hardware utilities, providing the ability to instantly scale up, scale down or scale out. All organisations should be looking to outsource some or all their information needs to cloud systems, freeing up IT staff for more business-focused and strategic tasks.

New technologies

With up to 100 billion uniquely identifiable objects estimated to be connected to the internet by 2020, the Internet of Things –uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an internet-like structure – will provide a disruptive technological revolution.

Privacy


Often, new technologies and applications are developed and put into use before the privacy implications are analysed.

Personal information is increasingly being recognised as a business asset, with associated commercial benefits and competitive drivers. However, the prevalence of data breaches unfortunately continues to grow in frequency and scale.  

Additionally, personal data regulation is being directly shaped by local laws and affected by the practices and policies of international companies.

IT governance

IT governance enables an organisation to engage its diverse stakeholders and establish priorities for technology investment aligned with its goals and priorities.

IT governance structures and processes also influence the development and implementation of technology within an organisation and promote transparency, accountability and dialogue about technology that facilitates effective technology adoption.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance covers liabilities that arise from unauthorised use of, or unauthorised access to, electronic data or software within an organisation’s computer network or business.

Cyber insurance policies can also provide cover for liability claims arising from network outages, the spreading of a virus or malicious code, computer theft or extortion.

A privacy infringement or data breach can severely damage your organisation’s reputation.

The market is maturing and organisations are starting to seriously assess insurance to cover business interruption from a network attack and even the cost of responding to customers and regulatory compliance in case of a breach.

When looking at policy options, organisations should consider cover that includes legal costs, recovery of lost data and the payment of regulatory fines.

I invite readers to submit additional topic or areas of focus that company directors should consider. Happy 2015!

Henri Eliot is CEO of Board Dynamics