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Technology Risks

5 Critical Risks Facing the Technology Industry

The technology industry is one of the fastest-growing industries today. And with high-speed innovation comes numerous emerging risks.
By: | July 10, 2018 • 3 min read
Topics: Technology

Risks are always emerging for the technology industry.

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As one of the fastest-growing industries, the tech sector is constantly developing brand-new solutions and opening its doors to the dangers that come with untested innovation.

Artificial intelligence, cyber threats, a workforce shortage and more. Which challenges should the tech industry be keeping an eye on?

1) Cyber Security

Awareness of cyber risk increases every day as more and more businesses are threatened with some form of cyber attack. Yet companies still neglect to prepare for such threats. The technology industry is working hard to combat these attacks, but it can still be vulnerable to hackers.

Cyber crime damages are estimated to reach a total of $6 trillion annually by 2021. And with old, inconsistent hardware being more prone to an attack than newer equipment, delaying upgrades may seem like a great way to save some money short term. However, that kind of thinking can lead to long-term costs for IT support and downtime after an attack.

When an attack is set in motion, tech experts have to be on top of the breach now. Technology industry companies have to be in contact with the right partners and vendors that will find the source of the attack and resolve it in time to protect the business.

2) Robots and Artificial Intelligence

If a robot malfunctions, who is at fault? The user or the manufacturer? Or maybe it’s the person who created the technology in the first place?

Tech companies are beginning to see this dilemma crop up more frequently. Just this year, a driverless car struck a pedestrian on the road and killed her. The technology within the car was examined, and investigators determined that the car did see the woman before impact. So why didn’t it stop? What was wrong with the tech inside?

Robots and other artificial intelligent devices (like the driverless car) are gaining in numbers in every industry, from manufacturing to hospitality. The technology needed for these creations to perform has to be fail proof or else the tech industry will continue to face liability lawsuits for both personal injury and property damage.

3) Steep Pressure to Innovate

Thirty years ago, it was hard to imagine every home in the U.S. housing a computer, which, at the time, could take up a whole wall. Now, every single person has access to a computer in the palm of their hands. And with the instant, easy-access tool that is the cell phone, anyone can create the next “big thing” in technology.

That’s why so many in the technology industry are feeling pressure to invent. To stay on top and to stay relevant, tech geniuses have to create devices, applications and inventions that will outlast and outshine the competition. This need to create can lead to mishaps and overlooked details while techies are working — which in turn can become a huge can of virtual worms if the wrong thing is overlooked and people get hurt.

4) Workforce Shortage 

The Center for Cyber Safety and Education (the Center) published a study that shows there is a serious talent shortage looming for the information security workforce.

This gap in talent can exacerbate other emerging risks for the sector.

How? With less workers comes more strain on those who are available. More cyber threats can slip through the cracks when a tech employee is stretched thin. And mistakes will be made if there aren’t well-trained employees monitoring devices, robots, AI and other tech products. Weak tech support can also hinder a technology consultancy’s reputation.

The Center’s survey and analysis, which includes feedback from over 19,000 information security professionals worldwide, suggests employers look to millennials to fill the projected 1.8 million information security workforce gap estimated to exist by 2022.

5) Lacking in Diversity

And with a workforce shortage already looming, the technology industry needs to be aware that its existing workforce might be keeping them from success.

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The tech workforce is predominantly male. Five percent of the entire technology industry workforce is Latino or black, and women make up around 11 percent of globally employed cyber security professionals. In the U.S., only 14 percent of the tech-based workforce is female.

Millennials are a leading force behind the push for tech diversity. And countless studies have shown the benefits of have a diverse workforce, from increases in productivity and creativity, to growing networks (and clients) in different languages and cultures. &

Autumn Heisler is the digital producer and a staff writer at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

The Profession

Curt Gross

This director of risk management sees cyber, IP and reputation risks as evolving threats, but more formal education may make emerging risk professionals better prepared.
By: | June 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

My first non-professional job was working at Burger King in high school. I learned some valuable life lessons there.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

After taking some accounting classes in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be an accountant. After working on a few Widgets Inc. projects in college, I figured out that wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Risk management found me. The rest is history. Looking back, I am pleased with how things worked out.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I think we do a nice job on post graduate education. I think the ARM and CPCU designations give credibility to the profession. Plus, formal college risk management degrees are becoming more popular these days. I know The University of Akron just launched a new risk management bachelor’s program in the fall of 2017 within the business school.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

I think we could do a better job with streamlining certificates of insurance or, better yet, evaluating if they are even necessary. It just seems to me that there is a significant amount of time and expense around generating certificates. There has to be a more efficient way.

R&I: What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?

Selfishly, I prefer a destination with a direct flight when possible. RIMS does a nice job of selecting various locations throughout the country. It is a big job to successfully pull off a conference of that size.

Curt Gross, Director of Risk Management, Parker Hannifin Corp.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Definitely the change in nontraditional property & casualty exposures such as intellectual property and reputational risk. Those exposures existed way back when but in different ways. As computer networks become more and more connected and news travels at a more rapid pace, it just amplifies these types of exposures. Sometimes we have to think like the perpetrator, which can be difficult to do.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

I hate to sound cliché — it’s quite the buzz these days — but I would have to say cyber. It’s such a complex risk involving nontraditional players and motives. Definitely a challenging exposure to get your arms around. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll really know the true exposure until there is more claim development.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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Our captive insurance company. I’ve been fortunate to work for several companies with a captive, each one with a different operating objective. I view a captive as an essential tool for a successful risk management program.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I can’t point to just one. I have and continue to be lucky to work for really good managers throughout my career. Each one has taken the time and interest to develop me as a professional. I certainly haven’t arrived yet and welcome feedback to continue to try to be the best I can be every day.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

I would like to think I have and continue to bring meaningful value to my company. However, I would have to say my family is my proudest accomplishment.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Favorite movie is definitely “Good Will Hunting.”

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Tough question to narrow down. If my wife ran a restaurant, it would be hers. We try to have dinner as a family as much as possible. If I had to pick one restaurant though, I would say Fire Food & Drink in Cleveland, Ohio. Chef Katz is a culinary genius.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Grand Canyon. It is just so vast. A close second is Stonehenge.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

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A few, actually. Up until a few years ago, I owned a sport bike (motorcycle). Of course, I wore the proper gear, took a safety course and read a motorcycle safety book. Also, I have taken a few laps in a NASCAR [race car] around Daytona International Speedway at 180 mph. Most recently, trying to ride my daughter’s skateboard.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The Dalai Lama. A world full of compassion, tolerance and patience and free of discrimination, racism and violence, while perhaps idealistic, sounds like a wonderful place to me.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

I really enjoy the company I work for and my role, because I get the opportunity to work with various functions. For example, while mostly finance, I get to interact with legal, human resources, employee health and safety, to name a few.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

I asked my son. He said, “Risk management and insurance.” (He’s had the benefit of bring-your-kid-to-work day.)

Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]