Fighting Butterfly Effects with Starfish Resilience

By Sherry Harowitz

The risks of interdependence are amplified by the third category’s risks of hyperconnectivity. The report notes that while cyberbarriers to committing serious espionage and sabotage are falling rapidly, the resources devoted to countering cyberthreats are “nowhere near adequate.”

On the solution side of the ledger, the report suggests that organizations strive to be more like starfish, which can regenerate severed limbs. It lauds the Development Bank of Japan for being the first to factor a company’s business continuity plans into its credit score.

It’s all well and good to list the dangers that lie ahead, but more to the point, the report states, “decisive action is needed to design safeguards before the risks manifest themselves.”

These must be “dynamic safeguards that can evolve with the system they are safeguarding...[and be] flexible enough to be continually tightened or adapted in response to emerging risks and opportunities.”

The overarching goal is to move from reactive firefighting to anticipatory governance involving all global stakeholders. And lest there be any doubt that we’re all in this together, the report reminds us that “none of the global risks highlighted respects national boundaries.”



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