The theme of the 2019 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum [WEF], colloquially known as Davos 2019, was “Globalization 4.0.”
Topics such as Industry 4.0 (or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” [4IR]), Cyber-Security and Artificial Intelligence & Automation played a big part of the conversation at Davos this year. These are topics which are at the very core of our business at Awen Collective, and so we felt compelled to talk about these particular WEF discussions.
The article on “4 myths about manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” is a good discussion on industry 4.0 technologies, and highlights that they are a good option for upgrading the factory floor to become more cost effective. It touches on the worries over replacing human workers with robotics. It discusses the need for thinking about business sustainability. It also discusses that industry 4.0 technologies are not just for large organisations, but can also be taken up by Small & Medium sized Enterprises [SMEs]. The associated whitepaper is also an interesting read (PDF).
While this is great - and detailing the uptake of industry 4.0 technologies is something that we applaud - the article fails to mention that a combination of old and new technologies, and the convergence of information technologies [IT] and operations technologies [OT] can increase vulnerabilities. Often the risk associated with these vulnerabilities will need to be managed and mitigated by different teams within an organisation, and for all levels of an organisation, from factory floor workers through to board level directors. Awen Collective can assist with asset and risk discovery through Dot, which specifically supports industrial networks – regardless of whether the network of assets are old or new, IT or OT. At Awen Collective, we want old and new, IT and OT, to be connected - it leads to great insights and increased efficiency - but we want it to be done in a way that is secure and safe.
We are pleased to hear that among the top 3 priorities for CEOs in 2019 is cyber-security. This isn’t just because of the privacy and data protection requirements in Europe (from the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]), but is also because of the increase in publicised cyber-attacks which disrupt business continuity. One of the articles conclusions is that for business owners, there is a “near certainty of a cyber attack on their business”, which combined with other challenges will “stretch them more than any previous generation of business leaders.” At Awen Collective, we delight in hearing that board level executives are knowledgeable of the problem and are actively seeking solutions to mitigate their cyber-vulnerabilities. We work with all levels of an organisation to ensure that cyber-security policies are in place, and that an organisation is ready for incident response and digital forensics.
Ken Xie, of Fortinet, highlights to the WEF, the need for more cyber-security professionals and for increasing their skill capabilities to match the increase in cyber-threats. He suggests potential paths to take to ensure that the gap is filled. This is certainly a worry of every organisation within cyber-security, and we thank Ken for raising this issue at Davos.
Awen Collective is based in just north of Cardiff in South Wales. We have great access to graduates and staff of high quality cyber-security and digital forensics departments from the University of South Wales and Cardiff University. We are also not too far from Swansea University who are making great leaps in researching and commercialising the interdisciplinary aspects of computer science and law. Also, South Wales cyber-cluster is one of the strongest cyber-security clusters in the United Kingdom, and is well-known across Europe. The cluster has a great relationship with academia and industry, public and private sector – with particular geographical closeness to large organisations in aerospace, defence and the intelligence services. With such good access to talent - we are very well placed, for the foreseeable future, to provide good quality digital forensics & incident response software and services to the entire world.
Artificial Intelligence is an interesting one, because it is increasingly powering technologies relevant to us, including robotics in assembly lines and predictive maintenance. It also includes the subject of data mining, which is one component of a future product of ours.
Davos 2019 has two particular AI related threads which are interesting to us:
Globalisation 4.0 is a great theme. Even as an SME we are international-focused. To repurpose some of the points of the WEF article on “what the world thinks of Globalization 4.0”: We strongly believe that we need collaborate with other organisations (large, small, clients, partners, competitors, governments). We see ourselves as offering one part (a subset of solutions) in a larger puzzle (the problem of cyber-security in critical infrastructure & manufacturing). We believe that we have an internationalised solution to a global problem, and so international cooperation is not just beneficial but essential – we are doing it in the UK, we’re getting traction in the EU and we are working with potential partners internationally.
Contact us now if you would like to collaborate to solve a problem with Digital Forensics & Incident Response within industrial organisations such as critical infrastructures or manufacturing.