MBA Research

Trend #26: National Security

Business Trend

As the 14th anniversary of 9/11 just passed, our September trend appropriately focuses on national security and its impact on the business community.

Workplace Implications

The well-being of the U.S. economy rides on the shoulders of national security, an ever-present issue given technological and environmental issues. Cyber attacks and acts of terrorism threaten and can disrupt economic activity. Unfortunately, businesses are experiencing rising costs associated with cyber attacks from domestic and international sources, including governments, other businesses, and individuals. U.S. data breaches in 2015 average almost $1.6 million in lost-business costs per occurrence. Professionals must consider the impact of terrorist acts on their companies, including human loss of life, disruption of operations, and lost profits.

These security risks impact brand management. A single breach can become a PR nightmare if not handled quickly and to the satisfaction of those affected by it. Companies must be positioned through advanced planning to respond as soon as a breach is identified.

Companies in certain industry sectors are expected to have robust security measures in place given their role in the food-supply chain, pharmaceutical-supply chain, etc. For these companies, employees must have a heightened awareness of contingency operations, in-depth knowledge of their supply chain and disruption risk, and sensitive risk-detection systems.

Employees must be vigilant in their use of mobile devices and social media. In essence, they need to understand the potentially crippling effects of sharing company or customer information. They need to know and adhere to company policies related to cyber security. For a younger workforce, this is an even more difficult challenge as they must counter the “invincibility” mindset that is normal.

Classroom Implications

Teachers can institute classroom cyber policies, providing a rationale for them. At the same time, teachers need to explain that employers have policies related to social media, email, mobile devices, BYOD, and unauthorized software use. Encourage students to ask about cyber security policies when on the job so that they do not unknowingly violate company policy. Provide students with up-to-date statistics about the frequency and costs associated with cyber attacks so that they understand the magnitude of the issue. Educate students as to the ways businesses protect their data. Teachers can have students examine the school’s emergency response plan and identify ways that the plan would differ in business settings.