cybersecurity

How To Protect Your Business In 2020

It is important that every business owner knows how to protect the company, staff, inventory, equipment, office, customers and anything or anyone attached to the business. In today’s day and age, there are many different threats and dangers to a business so it is vital that you are aware of what these are and how you can take steps to protect the business. When you protect the business, it will allow you to avoid potentially devastating problems and work with confidence each day. Read on to find out the best ways that you can protect your company in 2020 and beyond.

Form An Entity

First, you need to make sure that you have chosen a structure for your business. This is important for keeping your personal and business assets separate so that you will not suffer personally in any kind of issue or dispute.

Cybersecurity Products

Source:connectivitycenter.com

The biggest threat to businesses in today’s digital age is cybercrime. Cybercriminals are consistently developing new threats that have the potential to destroy a business and wreak havoc in many different ways. This means that this needs to be a priority area, but the good news is that there are excellent cybersecurity products that can be used to protect your company and data, including:

  • Antivirus software
  • A VPN
  • Firewall

Cybersecurity Policy & Training

Source:cyberwiser.eu

Having the right products in place is important and is the first line of defense, but you must also educate your staff and create a cybersecurity policy which outlines expected behavior. Employee negligence is one of the primary reasons that cybercriminals are successful, so you must train your staff on how to stay safe and avoid common threats. This will include:

  • Using strong, random passwords
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Using different passwords for different accounts
  • Not sharing sensitive data online or over an unsecured network
  • Avoiding suspicious links and emails
  • Backing up data to an external device

Bolster Physical Security

According to AllCopyProducts, it is not just digital crime which is an issue, and you must not overlook the importance of physical security. Since businesses are often vacant overnight and can contain expensive equipment and/or cash onsite, they are often targeted by criminals. There are many highly effective ways to bolster your physical security, such as:

  • CCTV cameras
  • Intruder alarms
  • Video doorbell
  • Keycode entry
  • Smart locks
  • Security windows
  • Perimeter fences
  • Security guards
  • Using a safe

Fire Safety

Fire is, of course, another major threat to businesses but also one which can cost lives. This is why it is another priority area, so you need to have smoke detectors throughout the building, have easy access to extinguishers and fire blankets and have an evacuation plan in place. You should also carry out a fire drill twice a year and make sure that new employees are educated on what they are supposed to do in case of a fire when they start.

Find A Suitable Law Firm

Source:freepressdirectory.com

Hopefully, you will never encounter any legal issues of any kind, but these problems can occur in the business world. It is helpful to have the contact details of an experienced law firm which you have researched ahead of time so that you can act swiftly if you encounter any kind of legal issue.

Trademarks, Patents & Copyrights

You certainly do not want another business stealing your intellectual property and benefiting from your intelligence. This is why you need to arrange trademarks, patents and copyrights for your intellectual property, which might include:

  • Products
  • Company name
  • Branding
  • Technology

Additionally, be careful not to infringe on another company’s intellectual property otherwise you could face legal action – sometimes businesses do this without even realizing, so you should always be vigilant, especially when researching competitors.

Employee Agreements

Employee agreements need to be created and signed by all employees when they start working at your business. These are agreements which forbid employees to reveal or share any intellectual property and sensitive data during and after employment.

Secure Information

Every business retains sensitive information, but you need to make sure that you find ways to protect this data so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. This might include:

  • Using a shredder for sensitive documents
  • Password protection for digital documents
  • Backing up data externally

Use Contracts For Any Agreements

Any kind of agreement that you have, whether this is with suppliers, freelancers, employees or anyone else, you should always have a contract drawn up. This puts protection in place while also clearly outlining the details of the arrangement so that both parties have a clear understanding of what is expected.

Insurance

Source:bbva.com

Insurance is one of the most important ways that you can protect the business from various threats and is particularly important for smaller companies that might struggle to afford and survive a legal dispute. There are many different types of insurance to consider and it will depend on your business, but workers compensation by Next Insurance is a type that most will benefit from as it will provide financial protection in the event of an accident, illness or death that occurs while working. There are many threats to a business and insurance is one of the smartest ways that you can protect the company.

Terms & Conditions

Terms and conditions are an agreement that outlines the rules and expectations when a consumer uses your business. The consumer must agree to the terms and conditions in order to use the services/products offered by the company, so you have protection in place if there is a discrepancy of any kind.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a legal requirement if you collect any information, such as email addresses or a web form on your website. This policy explains when you collect information, why you collect it and what you will do with the information.

These are the main steps that every business can take to protect itself. As you can see, there are many threats to all businesses in today’s day and age and it is vital that actions are taken to protect the company, staff, employees and everything associated with the organization.

Learn How Basic IP geolocation API Works: DB-IP

The Operations of IP Geolocation API

Source:pixel-forge.ca

The geolocation API is an interactive interface of communication between the device of a client, or an application. Moreover, when it comes to the geolocation API, it is an application or a service that examines the identity also returns the information about the actual client to the location geographically. However, there is an online database that specializes in the accuracy of the geolocation API, and it is known as DB IP.

Furthermore, the outer parameters of geolocation include specific details regarding the level of currency that is utilized at a particular location. Also, it takes note of the time zone and whether a country is part of the EU. Interestingly, the geolocation does not keep a record of any of the data. Instead, it provides the expertise to collect existing information from the device that is being inquired.

Uncovering the Input/Output Parameters of Geolocation API

Typically speaking, a request in connection to a particular location to a geolocation API is from a device. Moreover, this device imparts the input parameters of coordinates of a GPS, a cell tower, or a Wi-Fi position. There is a way to request more information about the location of a place and organization by its name.

A Geolocation API inquires a Location Information Server in turn. This response to the API with the various properties of location, including the precise information being passed on. After this, The API sends back the information to the client. The actual information correlates to the IP address location API, and it is transparent; however, the API itself does not store any data.

Source:iq.opengenus.org

The Level of Information in a Geolocation API

An IP address location API provides various information, and it possibly includes the physical address such as the region, the continent, country, postal code, or city. The IP address and the ISP details also includes informative facts of representative address. Furthermore, the carrier is another aspect that consists of the area code, the name of the mobile carrier, and network code. The local data language which can have multiple languages, currency, and the time zone. Another critical element is threat information, whether the IP address location API has had any malignant activity.

The Properties of Geolocation API

The Geolocation API can be retrieved using the Geolocation property, which is correlated with the navigation. The geolocation includes three distinctive methods first, the current navigation this method retrieves the location of the device, and it keeps a record of the coordinates and validity in a Position object. Second, the third watch Position, which starts with a watch operation then, it connects the actual navigation to a Positioning element. Moreover, it scans the device for any systematic events that indicate any adjustments in location. Third, a precise watch, which puts an end to an ongoing watch operation that is identified by the watch ID’s operation.

Scenarios To Use Geolocation API

As discussed above there is multiple applicability of geolocation API which you can find in the market.

In the case of Trespasser

You can identify the intruder’s locations who are having bad intentions with regards to your website. With this service you can identify the locations from where these attempts are made accordingly you can make a note of that zone and mark them for future reference, finally, if the trespasser is identified they can be eliminated. And restrictions can be implemented to stop them from more attempts.

In Case Of Customers:

You can identify the localness of the audience and provide the touch of the localness to your website to improve the engagement. You can track the experience and customize it further to cope with your audience needs

Cybersecurity – Geolocation is used to identify the intruder who can potentially harm one’s website or even modify the data of the website,
through geolocation, users can track the location from where the intruder is going into your website and stop them from future attempts.

Browser Context – Every time you do web surfing the browser attempts to find your location to provide you data which is relevant to your location
this helps eliminate any unnecessary data from the website owners’ point of view is the loss of user or bounce off of the user.

Weather Reports – When users look for retrieving the information related to its local weather they can easily be provided with the data relevant to them by identifying the location.

Employment and Business Networking – Job portals use geolocation as the data to identify the location of the user and provide searches
if the requirement matches the requested location.

Digital Maps – digital maps retrieve data with help of geolocation of user and then directs them to the location they want to move to.

Source:marketingland.com

The Digital Experience of a Geolocation API

Utilizing its global navigating, geolocation is used primarily to customize the digital experience of a user. Whether searching the internet, checking weather reports, updates on social media, networking through business, and employment, geolocation has a connection and direct bearing with all of them. Yes, employing digital maps to pinpoint the exact location, web applications through marketing, and tracking smartphone devices, geolocation correlates with each one. Finally, cybersecurity connects with geolocation to trace any intruders to the network or any distrustful login to the system. By all possible means, utilize geolocation as an interactive and navigating source. It taps into the innovation of location and peers into the future of our world.

5 Cybersecurity Trends for 2020 and How to Keep Up

In 2020, many crucial aspects of our lives will continue moving to the online sphere. For a long time, our awareness about the dangers of storing sensitive data online has been lagging behind the whirlwind development of sophisticated malware, hacking, and phishing methods.

After several large scale cybersecurity scandals, both businesses and individual users have started nurturing awareness about the importance of online safety. Staying up to date with the latest changes and upcoming trends is now a matter of survival in your respective industry – so let’s see what 2020 has in store for you.

1. Privacy regulation will continue to tighten

European Union has been a pioneer in privacy regulation efforts, creating General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This law went into effect in early 2018, and its impact on the digital landscape has been profound.

Source:insidesmallbusiness.com.au

It changed the way businesses store and handled personal information. At the same time, it changes the conversation with the customer. Cookies and targeting are no longer a given – a customer now has to be informed about the ways their information is used and has the right to deny or revoke consent. 

Some websites managed to find a loophole by denying service to customers who reject the business’ privacy policy – and European lawmakers are already working on amendments that will clarify that these loopholes are not in accordance with GDPR.

It is reasonable to expect that in 2020, government-imposed regulations will continue to tighten. While there is no consolidated set of privacy regulations in the United States, individual states have laws that protect users’ personal information. The most important one is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

CCPA regulates the way companies must store and guard user data and empowers users to seek information about personal data they store and manage the way it is used.

How can your business stay up to date with this cybersecurity trend? It’s been a while since the first government-mandated changes went into effect, and companies have had enough time to prepare. Cybersecurity is no longer a matter of prestige – nowadays, it is an essential requirement for any business. Transparency and responsibility should thus be at the core of your cybersecurity plan in 2020.

2. You will witness the battle of learning machines

We mentioned how, for years, cybersecurity has been lagging behind cyberattacks. Once the machines took over, this gap has closed. Using machine learning to gather threat intelligence has been invaluable in developing solid cybersecurity tools and systems that now work in real-time.

But one of the problems that may arise in 2020 is a counter-attack. So far, most software-based cyberattacks have been sticking to relatively simple formulas. In 2020, hackers will employ machine learning to discover system vulnerabilities and leverage more sophisticated cyber attacks.

One way to keep up with this cybersecurity trend is to make sure your threat intelligence software is up for the incoming challenge. API tools such as website-categorization-api are amazing at several things at the same time, thanks to their laser-sharp focus on gathering and analyzing threat intelligence. Such a tool can:

  • Investigate threats using nothing but a URL or domain name Identify malware, phishing, fraud, and spyware. For example, e-commerce businesses often deal with form jacking, which means implanting malicious code into forms filled by buyers. Cybersecurity teams can use website categorization to look for indicators of compromised security, identify the source of attempted attacks and blacklist those domains. 
  • You can easily block bad content within your application, appliance or company network
  • Prevent potential damage to your brand image by monitoring references in unwanted categories.
  • Examine the content of a page to determine the context in terms of brands, topics or keywords, simultaneously providing a rich data source to buyers for reaching target audiences and to publishers for monetizing their inventory.

The power of such API engines lies in a multifaceted process that takes place in real-time. This tool retrieves the website content, analyzes it based on natural language processing, and verifies results using humans – allowing you to blend the best of both worlds.

3. Security will move to clouds

Source:blog.rackspace.com

Hosting data and apps in clouds has been increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes, mid-size, and small ones in particular. This solution’s flexibility and scalability are attractive to companies who lack expertise or resources to keep their services up to date.

However, this comes with a cost – as different companies often share clouds, hackers see clouds as a valuable target for more sophisticated attacks. In case of security breaches in poorly segmented clouds, cyberattacks can easily reach several goals at the same time, affecting dozens of businesses and their customers.

Cloud-based security solutions are the 2020’s response to this cybersecurity challenge. The cloud serves as a bridge between users and their network, constantly scanning traffic for threats and being able to stop cyberattacks before they reach either the network or the end-user. 

These clouds are an excellent solution for businesses who don’t have the expertise or resources to protect their network from increasingly sophisticated hackers and malware.

API tools like website categorization can be easily integrated into the platform to boost its security, both by individual businesses and cloud providers.

4. Cybersecurity will become a foundation stone

In the past, cybersecurity has been a mere afterthought for companies. First, there would be a website, software, or platform, and only then would the businesses add layers of protection.

In 2020, this mindset will be all but gone. Cybersecurity will be built from the ground up, integrated into every foundation stone of digital solutions.

This mindset is particularly important if you want to keep up with cybersecurity trends in 2020. You have to understand that cybersecurity is not an attachment – it is an integral part of your product. Upgrades and maintenance are no longer a periodical task – they are an ongoing process.

5. There will be a shortage of cybersecurity talent

Source:computerworld.com

While most of the cybersecurity trends in 2020 are merely challenging opportunities that enable growth, this one may develop into a serious problem.

There is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, while the demand keeps growing. The supply and demand may level out in a few years, but 2020 won’t be that year.

Apart from guarding your security talent, another solution is relying on companies and digital tools built by the greatest minds in the cybersecurity industry.

Cybersecurity trends in 2020 will emphasize the importance of prevention threats to intelligence. Make sure you’re up for this challenge – the choice of right intelligence provider may be the single most important decision you’ll make this year. 

 

How Secure is Your Business on the Cloud?

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With cybersecurity becoming an increasing concern, a number of people are beginning to wonder about the safety and security of cloud business solutions. This is largely due to some high-profile incidents where customer data was hacked and stolen, comprising the security of their accounts and personal information.

Take, for instance, the situation Yahoo found itself in back in 2016 when it experienced a data breach where 500 million users had their personal information compromised. Not only is this kind of security breach dangerous for every one of their customers, but it also significantly lowered the value of the company. 

When a business fails to protect its data it risks losing trust from both its customers and shareholders, that’s why it’s important to secure your cloud computing software from malicious outside threats. Check out IWI Group for a free consultation on how you can better protect your business from hackers and other malicious threats like malware and spyware.

Cloud Computing is Safer than You Think

Img source: medium.com

A common misconception is that on-premise business solutions are safer than those that are hosted on the cloud. It’s natural to think that when data is stored on servers not controlled or owned by the organization, then it won’t be as secure. But the truth is that the location of the server matters less than the access available and security measures that get put in place.

In fact, ERP solution providers that offer cloud-based hosting are extremely concerned about data security. That’s because their business solely relies on their customers being able to rely on their servers and cloud-based solutions. Just like any business, they want to make sure that their services are reliable and trusted.

What to Look Out For and Do

A good ERP cloud-based solution provider should use strong data security features like antivirus programs, encryption tools, and in some cases a firewall for added security. Because ERP solutions are customizable, an organization should also:

  • Set security controls on data moving back and forth between dedicated servers
  • Regularly create local backups of cloud-based data
  • Test the security of the ERP software from time to time – there are even security hackers that can be hired to check it for you
  • Create a variety of account types with different levels of access
  • For extra measure, encrypt customer passwords, that way hackers won’t be able to read them if they ever get stolen
Img source: interdynamix.com

As already mentioned, access is the most important thing you should be considering when thinking about potential weaknesses in your security. Testing for vulnerabilities will be the easiest way to determine what security measures need to be taken.

Trust a Professional

Don’t be afraid to hire a security hacker for testing, or even an ERP consultant, such as Twm,  who can help you secure your data as well as your network. Getting the expertise you need is the best way to ensure that your data is completely secure and inaccessible to outside threats.

After all, the consequences of having your data breached can be utterly devastating to your business, so why take the risk?

Top Reasons To Outsource IT Support

Each company is put under a lot of pressure to go along with the latest technological changes in order to get the most out of their business. As technology keeps advancing, the use of computer hardware and software becomes more and more important for businesses, companies, and organizations.

While these changes can have a huge impact on any industry, it becomes key for the businesses in those industries to have proper IT infrastructure. In this article, we are going to discuss the top reasons to outsource IT support, so stick around as this article might prove useful to your business.

1. It Eliminates The Cost of New Staff

Instead of hiring an IT manager, who has an annual salary of around $60,000 – $70,000, companies tend to move towards the business model of outsourcing IT work. If we also add to the fact the ongoing training costs, the initial recruitment benefits, company benefits, etc, we can understand why businesses, companies, and organizations tend to favor this approach.

By outsourcing IT work to other companies, you are effectively eliminating every cost associated with hiring new staff for the job.

Img source: Assay.pl

2. It Eliminates The Costs of IT Infrastructure

Computer hardware and software are the two main ingredients of IT infrastructure. If your business doesn’t have an IT sector, you would be surprised at the costs associated with opening one. We talked about the costs of hiring new staff, but what about the cost of work equipment and workstations? On average, a solid work PC that will take care most of your IT needs comes at around $600 – $1,000.

If we add to the fact the cost of computer software, servers, websites, cloud storage, etc, the costs rank in the thousands. Instead of paying for all of this, why not have all of your IT needs outsourced? Outsourcing is proving to be an effective method of conducting business in the real world, and if you’re interested in finding the best company for your IT needs, click here.

3. Outsourcing Allows Entry to The Latest Technological Changes

Companies, businesses, and organizations must keep up with the latest technological advancements in order to stay competitive in their respective field. But acquiring these technologies can be rather expensive, so one brilliant way to stay on top of your market is to outsource your IT needs to a company that can implement these technologies into your business.

Consider hiring an IT consulting company to gain valuable access to a team of specialists who are more than capable of taking your business to the next level in your respective field.

4. Staff Productivity

It’s a well-known fact that someone in your company might have some IT knowledge. If a company doesn’t have a dedicated staff put on IT duty, chances are that they will have that guy do some of the IT work. This is far from productive as that person isn’t qualified to work in IT, despite having some knowledge.

Instead of having Mark from HR put on server monitoring, why not outsource work to a company that can dedicate real professionals on monitoring your servers? But not just that, most IT service providers have experienced people in all areas of IT such as cybersecurity, server management, front and backend web development, and more.

Tips For Finding The Best IT Support Company In Washington

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Having a solid IT infrastructure is key for any business. Nowadays, businesses, companies, and organizations, rely on IT. Your organization is as good as your IT. From various workstations to databases and servers, websites and cybersecurity, having a solid IT infrastructure will only benefit you in the long run.

You shouldn’t put up with unreliable systems, constant downtime of websites, server issues, and poor cybersecurity. Getting a proper IT infrastructure should be your top priority, and we’re going to tell you how to find the best IT support company based in Washington to do it for you.

source: multum.com.au

Choose Proactive rather than Reactive

Water is wet, the sky is blue, and digital systems will fail at some point. These are the things that are definitely certain in life. What does it mean to be reactive? It means responding to your systems failing, rather than taking the necessary steps to prevent the failure in the first place. No matter what the problem, whether is a data breach, or a server malfunction, or a bug fix, the role of reactive companies is to fix the problem.

On the other hand, a proactive IT support company will make sure that those failings never happen. Proactive support companies focus on reducing the eventualities of the systems failing as much as possible. These companies monitor your IT infrastructure at all times, and they wait for the eventuality, but they have everything ready in place to react as soon as possible when a problem emerges.

Choose Layered Cybersecurity

According to Suretec IT, cybersecurity for your business is just as important as the security for your home. While many people use cameras and locks to secure their homes from thieves, the same safety precautions should be used to protect your business from hackers and malicious attacks.

Cybersecurity is an important aspect in today’s world that every business should pay close attention to. When choosing the best IT support company, make sure that they have a proper understanding of layered cybersecurity. Having several defense lines in your IT infrastructure can be the difference maker in preventing data breaches, malware attacks, and phishing attempts.

source: nairobigarage.com

Can They Backup Your Data?

While cyber attacks are dangerous and proper measures should be taken to prevent them, having a backup of your data in the case of fire, floods, or even earthquakes is even more important. Natural disasters can occur at any moment, while fires and other hazards can also damage your systems beyond repair. That’s why the best candidate should perform backups on a weekly bases at least.

Backups are very important as dangers such as these can occur at any moment. If your company has loads of data coming in, then the optimal candidate will know how to backup all of your data to prevent any loss. This will allow you to have a fast recovery plan that will get you up and running in no time, in the case of any of these disasters occurring.

Tackling issues such as these can be a hard task for a company that doesn’t have the proper experience in IT infrastructure. That’s why more and more business, companies, and organizations, employ IT support companies to take care of all of their IT needs.

Cybersecurity: Are we there yet?

A good old-fashioned bank robbery isn’t very popular nowadays. The bad guys don’t even need guns. They commit crimes from home with the help of the computer. Welcome to the world of technology where everything can get hacked.

Thirty years ago people were not thinking of cybersecurity. There were no wireless computers, mobile banking apps, Facebook, the cryptocurrency market, etc. An interesting fact is that the first virus, named Brain, was released a few years after International business machines corporation had introduced the first personal computer. The virus was written by two brothers from Pakistan. At that time, people from the United States and the United Kingdom were so shocked that their computers had a virus that they were calling directly to Pakistan demanding to disinfect their machines.

source: itsecurityguru.org

Nowadays users have different kinds of antivirus software. No one keeps track of the number of computer viruses. The world would be a great place if a random Internet virus was the only cybersecurity problem. At this point, there are a lot of cyber dangers such as crypto jacking, data breaches, and ransomware attacks. Hackers can steal users’ passwords and go through personal information including photos, emails, chats on WhatsApp, and bank details. More than that, they can attack the government, hack Tesla cars and home automation system. There is no safe place.

source: curt-rice.com

Even large corporations such as Google, Facebook, FedEx, Amazon or Wikipedia experience cyber attacks. Despite the amount of financial and human resources, they still can’t fully protect themselves. For instance, Sony’s PlayStation Network was attacked in 2011. The company was going through hell – the team of hackers stole the personal data of 77 million users. The list of data included customers’ names, passwords, credit cards numbers, and expiration dates. Needless to say, the users’ bank accounts had been illegally used. To appease disappointed customers the company paid compensation of 15 million dollars in total. Plus, they were in charge of refunding money that was stolen from all their customers. The experts call it the world’s largest cyber attack. Another important fact is that it was possible to avoid this incident. Sony decided to ignore a well-known network vulnerability and paid the price for it.

source: com.ng

Hackers can also be different. Not everyone will go to attack government or political parties. Some hackers target celebrities and their Instagram profiles by using a flaw in the Instagram security system. In 2016, Selena Gomez’s Instagram was hacked. Unknown posted nude photos of Justin Bieber from her profile. The American singer had 125 million followers at that time.

source: the20.com

Everyone can become a victim of a cyber attack. History shows that the consequences can be terrible. That’s why it is so important to spread the message about cybersecurity and what to do in order to avoid getting hacked. Hackers are evolving at the same speed as technology, so users should become more careful both online and offline. No one knows what can be worse – showing your nude pictures to the millions of people or pay off 15 million dollar debt.

If you want to learn more about cybersecurity and how to protect yourself, check out the infographic below, according to ServerMania:

From Policy to Reality: Planning Ahead to Improve Global Development

“No policy – no matter how ingenious – has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.”–Henry Kissinger

Policies, laws, and regulations are the foundation upon which every society is built. They bring order to chaos and enumerate the values of the people. But what happens when policies lack foresight? A foundation needs to fit the building above it, after all. In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s more important than ever that lawmakers keep one eye to the future or they risk implementing legislation for a world that no longer exists.

The question is particularly pertinent with regard to two key issues facing us in the twenty-first century: climate change and cybersecurity. In both cases, experts explain, lawmakers should be looking to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach. Just as regular cancer screenings can reduce the ultimate cost of treatment, preventative policies on energy and cybersecurity will save society money in the long run.

Img source: youtube.com

From the student climate strikes spearheaded by sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg to the Global Engagement Summit led by United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, and Ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen, Acting Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, the growing threat of climate change and the urgent need to adapt efficiently, renewable energy sources are dominating conversations worldwide.

“We need greater initiatives,” says Oksana Prysyazhnyuk, an international business strategist and policy consultant. “Capturing emissions instead of switching to alternative sources of energy, such as solar and wind, is essential today. Due to the increasing levels of pollution and the low current rate of penetration of renewables, questions about the huge land footprint, transmission infrastructure, and intermittent nature of solar/wind resources need to be addressed.”While long-term promises are inspiring, they must be supported by practical, short-term policies that incentivize weaning off environmentally harmful energy sources and developing more efficient renewable energy sources.

The process is not without its challenges. Prysyazhnyuk notes that “in 2017, despite governmental support, wind and solar accounted for only 3.1% of total U.S. energy supply.” Part of the problem is infrastructure: “To replace a typical gas power plant of around 1000MW capacity with solar power, three to four thousand acres of land would are needed, an increase of 100 to 200 times the land requirement of a gas plant,” Prysyazhnyuk explains.

Img source: renewableenergyworld.com

And then there is the matter of getting the energy produced to the consumers who will use it. Although countries like Costa Rica and Portugal have made headlines for producing nearly all of their power from renewable sources, the United States faces unique challenges, in part because of its immense physical size. The windiest or sunniest areas in the U.S.are located far from electric load centers (e.g., the windiest areas of the U.S. are in the Great Plains of North/South Dakota and Montana, while the highest insolation regions are typically in the Nevada/Arizona high deserts). These areas need to be connected to population load centers via thousands of miles of high voltage transmission lines, which in turn require a plethora of environmental permits that can surpass similar issues for hydrocarbon pipelines.

Nonetheless, supplying all of America’s electricity with renewable energy is not only possible but urgently necessary. Prysyazhnyuk clarifies that solar and wind do not provide 100% reliable energy nowadays and a full switch to these sources will take a long time. In the meantime, policies must also focus on limiting the impact of the most harmful energy sources, such as coal. Within the power sector, coal accounts for 98% of Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 94% of mercury emissions, 86% of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions—while only accounting for 14% of all energy sources in the U.S. There is a great need to reduce energy produced from coal and ensure more efficient emissions capture from existing coal plants.

“Effective policymaking will have far-reaching effects and will bring innovative solutions to the most pressing environmental issues of our time,” Prysyazhnyuk says.  She points to the improved success of the 1990 Clean Air Act when compared with the 1960 version as proof that well-designed policies can have profound effects on the ground. “For the first time, the 1990 Act gave businesses the ability to bank and trade emissions quotas. This new policy paradigm enabled environmentally friendly businesses to monetize their existing best practices, as well as to encourage other enterprises to adopt eco-friendly measures based on the market-based incentives”.

Img source: rackspace.com

In addition to climate change, cybersecurity poses a novel and growing threat to American society. According to Ross Den, Security and Defense Solutions Consultant with Security Intel Inc. “We are facing an ongoing and increasing environment of Cyber Security attacks against the international affairs, energy, banking, and intellectual property sectors.”Most of the attacks are thought to come from countries who stand to make money off the incursions—Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other developing countries. Already, stealth attacks of Western infrastructure is a benchmark of many states’ policies. Although direct and expeditious responses to such attacks are a daily staple in the American security machine, there is a more sophisticated option available: prevention, via proper monitoring and proactive measures. Security controls can detect, avoid, and minimize risk to nearly every imaginable sphere, including physical property, information, computer systems, and other assets.

So what’s the hold-up? “While these ideas all have a nice ring to them, companies and governments rarely develop and revise their long-term policies. Pure bureaucracy is the main enemy of each entire system, from energy source diversifications to cybersecurity. We have the invariable problem of policies and regulations that cannot grasp the speed of the modern world,” Prysyazhnyuk contends. “When all these broader technical factors are considered, the complete switch to renewable energy and secure society might take longer to occur. A strict, one-size-fits-all policy to unilaterally reduce the use of fossil fuels, such as higher taxes on petroleum, can provoke chaos, as we have observed in France. Instead, a more nuanced approach that reflects a sound understanding by policymakers of the contributions and challenges of the diverse energy sources would be far more effective. It will play its advantage in preserving the long-term health of the global environment while simultaneously nurturing critical economic development for the world’s most vulnerable people in a responsible manner.”