Telcos are already seeing digital disruption more as a business opportunity than a threat to their livelihood, but taking advantage of that opportunity requires putting security at the foundation of their digital transformation.
That was a key theme that emerged from a plenary panel at the CommunicAsia2016 Summit Thursday on digital disruption. When the panel was asked how to bring digital into the core or their business, the immediate answer was: security.
“The main thing is security. You can’t have a credible business dialogue without it,” said Robert Le Busque, MD of strategy and planning for APAC, EMEA and LATAM at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
And that dialogue has to happen, he added, because the threat landscape is highly fragmented, with complex motivations.
“When we talk about the IoT landscape in five or ten years, we can’t imagine what that’s going to look like, but it’s a great opportunity for the bad actors to exploit it and do harm,” Le Busque said. “It’s a difficult area to unlock, but it’s the first conversation I have with customers.”
Wing K Lee, CEO of YTL Communications, said that it’s ultimately a matter of trust.
“Once trust has been violated, you can’t go back, and it has ripple effects for the whole ecosystem,” he said. “Remember that recent video on YouTube of the people who hacked a connected car and shut it down while it was on the road? That video went viral and now everyone’s scared of connected cars.”
Lee added that this creates an opportunity for telcos, “because we know how to run secure networks, and we have a level of trust with our customers. But we always have to keep in mind that we need that secure foundation.”
Fermin Fautsch, VP of global enterprise at Telekom Malaysia, agreed but noted that telcos aren’t the only ones in the ecosystem who need that foundational approach to security.
“Security is a big concern, but we tell our customers that you have to implement it too,” he said. “We see stories of banks getting hacked and blaming it on a payment provider. Everyone has to assume they’re going to be attacked, even if they’re not the main target.”