13 February 2011

Digital Domains: Threats to Nation States and Corporate Board Rooms...

The last two plus weeks the planet Earth has witnessed the use of Digital Social Media to help facilitate the overthrow of the 30 year reign of Hosni Mobarak in Egypt. Is this the last example of how the use of the Internet combined with the masses of humanity can overthrow government leadership? The Operational Risk to nations states and the implications of the impact on business, commerce and political outcomes is increasingly being subjected to the new digital influence of social networking apps.

(CBS) The revolution in Egypt was historic not only for toppling President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years, but for revealing the awesome power social media had amassed - enough to be the instrument that inspired hundreds of thousands of people already staunchly opposed to the regime to rise up and act as one.

Now the questions are already being asked - can social media's power be used that way again and if so, where and when?

The protesters In Egypt were mobilized largely via the use of Facebook and Twitter, over 18 long days.

Special Section: Historic Change in Egypt

The revolt there is already being dubbed the Social Media Revolution.

It started Jan. 25, with a call-to-action -- from a Facebook page dedicated to Khalid Said, an Egyptian businessman who was beaten to death by police last summer after threatening to expose police corruption.

Millions of Egyptian youth are big users of Facebook, and saw the page.

Over time, a few prominent faces emerged from the masses. One, Google executive Wael Ghonim, identified by Mubarak's government as the creator of that first Facebook page, was detained.

But the movement had already gained momentum.

Facebook and Twitter, said one protester, "It's a very good way for communication. It has no power or control from anyone."

Now that the US State Department has established a Twitter feed in Arabic, the odds are that the strategy to more effectively communicate US policy to the muslim world will grow. The risks associated with the speed of communications via the Internet and the "Ground Truth" situational awareness have forever changed the meaning of an "Intelligence-led" enterprise. The continuous news cycles fueled by the masses will provide the Fortune 500 executives and the nations states world leaders with the sentiment of their brand, their policy or their reputation at the touch of a personal "Blackberry" or "iPhone."

What has not changed however, is the requirement for increased confidentiality, integrity and assurance of information whether that be streaming from the US State Department feed or the public relations department of a company such as Cisco. Will human behavior begin to migrate from reading the latest official press releases or the Facebook and Twitter feeds to better understand the current state of affairs on the company. The answer is both. It will just be a matter of what lens you want to look through to determine the truth about a subject or situation with the organization that you are investigating.

The information integrity conversation is ongoing from the board room to battle field. How do you continuously insure that the Intel or the digital data you are receiving is the truth and not changed along the path to the leaders decision support consoles? Monitoring the information streams within an organization is not only a strategic necessity, it is a survival requirement.

The company that runs the Nasdaq stock market said Saturday that hackers had penetrated a service that handles confidential communications between public companies and their boards.

The service run by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. carries strategic information for about 300 companies. The company said it appears no customer data was compromised.

Nasdaq OMX said the hacking attempts did not affect its trading systems. Nasdaq is the largest electronic securities trading market in the U.S. with more than 2,800 listed companies.

The targeted application, Directors Desk, is designed to make it easier for companies to share documents with directors between scheduled board meetings. It also allows online discussions and Web conferencing within a board.

Since board directors have access to information at the highest level of a company, penetrating the service could be of great value for insider trading. The application's Web page says "Directors Desk provides multiple layers of security to protect our clients' most vital corporate records."

The Digital Domains will continue to be threats to Nations States and Corporate Board Rooms for years and decades to come.

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