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Heightened cybersecurity seen as necessary accompaniment to broader tech adoption


UPGRADED CYBER-DEFENSES need to accompany greater adoption of the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and financial technology, extending the blanket of security to other entities that a company deals with, an association of technology security officers said.

“Before, we only protected our castle. Now, we have to go beyond that and protect even those even outside of it,” according to Archieval B. Tolentino, president of the Information Security Officers Group, speaking on Tuesday at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum.

Mr. Tolentino added that companies need to be wise to the risks associated with social media use.

“The ugly truth about social media is that it can make or break a company, based on information and misinformation online,” he said. 

Nevertheless, companies must press on with technology adoption because of the new generations’ comfort level with the new ways of doing things.

“These are opportunities for us to see where things are going for the next generation. They are digital natives. As banks, it challenges us to see how we can participate in this development,” Fitzgerald S. Chee, vice-president and head of consumer platforms at Bank of the Philippine Islands said at the forum.

Mr. Chee said that while investing in cybersecurity is important, digital literacy is just as critical.

Marvin P. Germo, Stock Smarts chief executive officer, noted that the pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, including online banking applications.

“These opportunities continue to play today,” he said.

Mr. Germo, who has been investing in the crypto market, also said interest in digital assets will continue.

“Bitcoin is a decentralized asset. When you store it can never be shut down. When you have something that is decentralized, no one can put it down, and you’ll have something perpetually,” he said.

“It’s easy to lump cryptocurrency as one thing. The failure of one exchange is not a failure of crypto. It does not change the use cases of bitcoin, ethereum, etc.,” he added.

Kristoffer Eduard M. Rada, head of public policy at TikTok Philippines, said social media platforms like TikTok have been creating opportunities for online businesses.

He said that TikTok has evolved from an entertainment platform to an informational and now entrepreneurial one, with many users now engaging in “live selling.”

According to a recent report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Co., the Philippines’ digital economy is expected to hit a gross merchandise value of $35 billion by 2025, posting a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from $20 billion currently. The main driver will be the e-commerce sector, which is expected to grow to $22 billion by 2025, suggesting a CAGR of 17%.

“(Digital media now) gives you the freedom to pursue your passions and form communities based on those passions,” Mr. Rada said, adding that social media platforms now also contribute to economic growth by supporting and enabling e-commerce.

Mr. Rada proposed a multisectoral approach to misinformation or disinformation. He said that TikTok Philippines is partnering with media organizations and the academic community to address the problem. He added that the presence of credible sources of information, such as media organizations on TikTok, will help counter and eliminate the spread of false information. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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