Webinar: Navigating The Pandemic - Cybersecurity


(Senior Trade & Policy Specialist- AMCHAM T&T)
(Tuesday, May 12th, 2020)

Good Morning everyone and thank you for your participation today. I am Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist at AMCHAM T&T, and it is indeed a pleasure to welcome you to this webinar.

Today’s Webinar deals with the all-important topic of Cyber Security – an issue I am sure you will be hearing a lot more as companies begin the process of adjusting to this new normal.

As some of you know we have done quite a few of these webinars since our first in March, but today’s webinar speaks to the core of what we have been doing at AMCHAM T&T for a number of years, through our two flagship conferences i.e. HSSE Conference and Exhibition and our Tech Hubs Islands Summit (t.h.i.s.) Last year at t.h.i.s. we focused on embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution, and this year we will be looking for innovative ways to continue the engagement, dialogue, and information sharing. Therefore, this webinar is part of our Digital Transformation Series which is a series of Webinars we will be having over the next couple of weeks to continue the dialogue, we started one year ago.

Before COVID-19, we all knew telecommuting was an option however very few persons or companies were willing to make it the preferred method for conducting meetings, far less hosting seminars and possibly even conferences. Then we had the pandemic and many of our employees are working remotely simply to keep themselves safe.

Webinars have now become the usual occurrence. Just think about how many webinars you have participated in this week... this month. Today companies are now asking themselves- if we were to return to work, do we really need everyone to physically be in the office? Do we even need an office space?

We already know that opportunistic criminals and other malicious actors have been using the internet and other rapidly evolving technology such as apps and mobile smart devices to compromise an individual or company’s financial and digital assets. Meanwhile, hacktivists have been flooding websites with traffic, effectively shutting them down, and spies have stolen intellectual property and government secrets. Amidst a pandemic where social distancing, economic disruption, and remote working have now become the norm – this has created the perfect setting for these criminals to induce further shocks and disruptions to both our economic and health systems.

It was just a matter of time before hackers took advantage of a remote workforce, or an unsuspecting customer plugging in company credit card details or other important company information on an unsecured network. That is why we at AMCHAM T&T believe it is important that companies start investing more in cybersecurity tools and policies to protect their digital assets and their workforce.

It is also important that individuals take responsibility for their actions. Companies should have policies to educate their workforces on cyber threats and practice retraining if phishing schemes allow data to be leaked, but we also expect employees to take note of suspicious websites, emails, and apps that may pose risks for downloading. That means each of us needs to be vigilant.

However, not all news is bad news in this pandemic. There are many lessons to be learned here. For starters, it is good that we are all once more talking about cybersecurity. We should not have to wait for another once-in-a-lifetime pandemic to get us to invest more and start developing policies to protect our assets and will ensure business continuity in times of disasters.

Also, consideration must be given to remote working not just as a disruption caused by a disaster but as the widely accepted norm of the future. The truth is: natural or man-made disasters will always be there. Are we going to simply “close shop” and wait for things to get back to normal? Or are we going to realise that even in a disaster, work and life, can continue once we have the necessary resources and policies implemented to make it happen?

These are just a couple of the reasons why we are bringing you this session today. The road to recovery is going to be a long one from COVID-19 but we must ensure that we find a safe and responsible way to continue to work and operate our businesses. Remember in a pandemic, safety and protection aren’t just about wearing a face mask and adhering to social distancing rules. That’s important but we also have to protect and secure our digital assets so that there are minimal disruptions to our life and work even in a disaster.

In closing, I would like to thank our sponsors Republic Bank, PwC, Digicel, and our partners at Trinidad Systems Limited (TSL) for their support to host this Webinar. I want to reiterate, AMCHAM is here to support you. We are open to initiatives and ideas from you, so just simply reach out to us. If you have suggestions for webinars, topics or speakers let us know.

Thank you.

UN World Environment Day - President's Speech