Digitization has revolutionized business in everything from how we work, to the way information is stored and transmitted. Telecommuting is a growing trend that would be impossible without digital technology. New ways of gathering information and analyzing that data to increase efficiency and profitability are enabling exciting new business trends like autonomous agents and things. But the digital revolution presents some challenges for business as well — here’s a brief overview of some of the most important issues.
Our global society is a major contributor to piracy, which affects creators and everyone in the associated supply chains of digital media. Many of the pirate sites from which media are downloaded illegally are located in countries without adequate copyright laws, but anyone, anywhere can access these sites. Meanwhile, internet companies struggle to keep up with requests to take down links containing copyrighted material — as of 2016 Google receives more than 20 million such requests weekly.
Fraud & identity theft
Fraud and identity theft is another growing issue, affecting 6.15 percent of U.S. consumers in 2016, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Efforts to combat fraud include the switch to chip-enabled credit cards, which successfully reduced cloning, where stolen account data is used to create counterfeit cards. But other types of fraud — such as fraudulent online purchases and new account fraud, where criminals open new accounts using a stolen identity — have increased to more than compensate for this reduction.
Technological and regulatory challenges
The amount of data being created and collected is truly mindboggling. According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, which means that 90 percent of the world’s data is less than two years old. The data, known as “Big Data,” is created by Internet of Things, purchase records, digital images, GPS signals, social media posts, sensors, and more. The challenge then becomes finding ways to use Big Data in order to draw meaningful conclusions.
Interpreting Big Data is a multifaceted problem. For starters, there are not enough professionals with training in Big Data analysis. IBM has responded to this issue by launching Cognitive Class, a free set of online courses that are designed to train people for a career in the rapidly growing field of data science and cognitive computing. In fact, Information Age estimates the Big Data market to be worth $40 billion in 2016, and will reach $66.8 billion by 2021.
There are technological issues as well, including the exhaustion of IP addresses. As we’ve seen, limitations on IPv4 space are real and becoming acute. Another major issue is security and DDoS attacks – a serious and growing problem for businesses, and a potential obstacle to the growth of the IoT.
Lawmakers and regulatory agencies are challenged to keep up with technology that’s evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. Another regulatory issue is that our digital society is global. While specific digital laws govern a single country, they are hard to uphold and implement across country borders.
Individual and business privacy
Protecting individual and business privacy is a key challenge in our digital society, both in making sure data collected can’t be traced back to a single individual, and in prevention of data breaches of sensitive information. An incredible amount of personal information is transferred and stored online, notably financial data such as credit card records and bank account information.
Data breaches are not always detected or reported, so exact figures can be tough to determine — but the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that annual global losses from cybercrime fell between $375-575 billion in 2014. The problem continues to grow. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches hit a new high in 2016, and attacks on the business/financial sector were the most common. Medical records, education records, and governmental/military records are often targeted as well.
The business opportunities and challenges presented by our digital society will continue to evolve. But you can count on DQE to continue to evolve along with it, and offer scalable, customizable solutions for your business needs.