Experts Discuss Cybersecurity Challenges

The Center for Asian Business D.K. Kim Foundation Lecture Series, in collaboration with the Center for International Business Education, hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on Feb. 17 on cybersecurity’s geopolitical and global business challenges. Sharing insights and experiences on this topic were Robert Koepp, founder and principal of Geoeconomix and LMU management lecturer, and David Luckey, professor and senior international and defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. The discussion was moderated by Mehrdad Sharbaf, LMU professor of information systems and business analytics.

To kick off the event, Koepp introduced cybersecurity as the fourth industrial revolution – the tectonic shift wherein data will become the basis of all socio-economic activity. “We are going to be surrounded by data in ways we never thought possible,” said Koepp, stressing the fact that businesses will need to take a hard look at their cybersecurity practices and naming data espionage a “whole of society threat.” Luckey added, “The approach that we need to take to defend society also needs to be taken with the whole of society or whole of government approach.”

The panelists then discussed how the United States should establish policy in order to defend against a cyber attack. Following the “whole of society” (or in this case whole of organization) theme, Luckey stated, “Each employee of an organization is responsible for being the first link in the organization’s defense.” Koepp agreed and noted that cybersecurity can be much more reliable if we as a nation agree to work together to defend ourselves and to protect our open markets. Both Luckey and Koepp agreed that due to the interconnectedness of this digital age, organizations are much more susceptible to supply chain hacks. “A single component… could be the weak spot in the chain,” Koepp said.

Sharbaf posed interesting questions regarding ways in which nation-to-nation cyberattacks could be prevented as well as the likelihood of these attacks given our current line of defense.

“Anything can be hacked,” said Luckey. “The question is how difficult and how likely is it?” The challenge with creating a sort of global agreement to deter cyber attacks is that hacking under the guise of intelligence operations is considered legal and many nation-states choose to use intelligence operations for some economic gain. Both Luckey and Koepp agreed that a global agreement or treaty would be an excellent idea, but there is nothing of that nature currently.

The discussion came to a close with a couple questions from Dr. Yongsun Paik, director of the Center for International Business Education and Center for Asian Business. The three discussed how the White House might address cybersecurity. Koepp and Luckey agreed that the Biden Administration is taking this issue very seriously and stressed the fact that there is no need to villainize foreign nations moving forward. Koepp concluded the discussion by explaining that practicing good cybersecurity in a geopolitical context will allow the United States to act as an example on a global stage.

View webinar here.