I’m sure you noticed our ‘magnificent 7’ (plus one) on the front cover this month. The topic (cyber security) is generating a huge amount of attention currently, as we grapple with the fear that what we have gained through IT efficiencies and innovations, we might have lost in security vulnerabilities. After all, the thought of having to pay someone a ransom just to release vital company data – one of the contributors resolved exactly this problem for local clients four times in the first week of last month alone – is enough to send even the most sanguine executive scuttling for the crisis management plan.
It’s our disease of the day; we use our IT systems continually – laptops, desktops, personal devices – with only a superficial understanding of how they work..they just do! Yet a global industry is growing amongst those who have a far better understanding, and use our relative ignorance to cheat and steal. We give the issue our main focus in this month’s Connect, but we will be returning to it frequently this year as businesses devote bigger budgets to closing loopholes, locking down systems and pulling together accessible cracks in their security.
Of course we don’t yet know the root cause of the leak which has become known as the Panama Papers. IT security hole or disgruntled employee are the current favourite guesses – whichever it was, the effect for Jersey has begun, and no one knows for sure where it will end. It’s a battle which is no more than Groundhog Day to the Island’s representatives, so on that simple test, you might assume the effect will be minimal. Possibly. But at the very least, it makes telling the good stories that bit harder (in news, context is all) and with a largely favourable Moneyval report soon to emerge, the terrain just got much more challenging.
With an appetite for change which should make the States e-Gov team blush, run for cover and hide with shame, Visit Jersey are our tech champions this month. On page 20, Keith Beecham sets out how they are planning to tackle a long-term trend, and achieve growth in our visitor numbers. The target is 1,000,000 a year by 2030, which is distinctly modest when compared to UK tourist hot-spots; but when you factor in travel costs, and the fact that it represents 42% growth on current numbers, it seems just a little more stretching. Being savvy and creative with digital marketing is the main weapon in their armoury – they have made the shift from big budget traditional TV advertising to targeted and measurable digital spend. Given that each visitor reportedly brings in about £330, their success is really important for the wide economy.
So I hope you enjoy Connect this month – in the language of cyber security, may it leak information to the parts of your brain which need it, hack away the areas of ignorance, and infiltrate the parts other magazines cannot reach.