Twenty Questions for Directors about Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a major area of concern for companies and for their Boards of Directors. So the directors need to look into the policies and procedures around cybersecurity in some depth. Directors generally conduct their work by determining how management is handling the issues, but to do that, they need to know what the issues are. In other words, they need to know what questions to ask. 

Cybersecurity issues revolve around the nature and extent of the underlying risks involved. The questions the Directors must ask address the risks and attempt to determine what safeguards are in place, where the vulnerabilities are in the organization, what assets are at risk, how management is organized to handle a breach, what insurance they have, and other similar questions.

The answers to the Directors’ questions must be complete and supported by concrete evidence.

in 2019, CPA Canada released a short guide to help. It’s titled “Twenty Questions Directors Should Ask About Cybersecurity” and is available at https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/business-and-accounting-resources/other-general-business-topics/information-management-and-technology/publications/questions-directors-should-ask-about-cybersecurity.

Something for every Director’s briefcase.

How Social Media is Changing

Recent reearch shows that people, epecially younger people, are changing their behaviour in terms of their use of social media. They are abandoning established open media like Facebook in favour of those that cater to particular interests and smaller groups. Sometimes labelled "digital campfires", these media offer more space to discuss matters openly with people having a common interest, greater safety and privacy. Examples are Facebook Messenger and What'sApp, Instagram's Threads, and Community.

So while conventional social media has plateaued or even declined with some groups, people are spending more time than ever on their phones, and the campfires are where they can be found.

This change in behaviour has important implications for marketing because it is harder for advertising to reach the campfires than it is to reach the open social media. That means it is harder to reach the younger demographic, because the older people are still going to the conventional social media like Facebook. So if you want to reach younger people, then you will have to find a way to the campfires. And if you want to reach older people, including senior citizens, you can still use conventional social media like Facebook. For more on this trend, check out this article in the Harvard Business Review.

 

 

UpSkilling is Here to Stay

Rapid technology change is causing a lot of disruption in the job market. No news there. It’s been going on for years, just not quite as fast as it is now. Also, the nature of the change going on – advanced data analysis, artificial intelligence, blockchain and others - is more disruptive. One of the reactions in the past has been to recognize that some people need retraining to be able to function in the new job market. But overall, companies have been quite sporadic in applying this principle.

In recent years, corporate management have been pointing out that many of their employees lack necessary skills as new technologies are implemented. And a common refrain has been that at the same time some people are unemployed, companies cannot fill certain jobs because they cannot find people with the necessary skills. Clearly there is a mismatch.

Some forward-thinking companies have been implementing a more comprehensive and positive approach to the problem – upskilling. This is a corporate strategy involving a range of departments, from HR to Finance including in various ways most of the operational areas of the company. It involves looking forward to the changes coming up in the company, and analyzing the workforce to determine which people are likely to be most affected and how. Then efforts are made to provide them with the training to hold their existing job (reskilling) or to get another, perhaps better, job (upskilling).

Implementation of an upskilling strategy is a significant undertaking. PwC has a good section on their website about it and has published a report on the subject as well.

CPA Founding Partner

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, has chosen to become a founding partner of ThinkTwenty20.