"Every successful and untreated data breach takes away people's trust in digitalization,” says Janne Viskari, the Director General of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

Decision maker: Give your customers reasons to trust in digitalization

Digitalization is an answer to many of those challenges we will face as a society. It can ensure a company's responsible development by alleviating the labor force shortage and eliminating unnecessary travel in our country of long distances. Finland is still one of the leading countries in digitalization.* We can be proud of many things, but we also have work to do regarding digitalization. Business leaders play a key role in helping digitalization to succeed.  

People need to trust digital services, and they need to want to use them so that digitalization has a chance to succeed, say DNA's SVP of Corporate Business, Anna-Mari Ylihurula, and the Director General of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Janne Viskari.  

“Customer’s trust is won with strong competence. You need to know how to serve customers and keep their information secure. People already have a lot of experience with very good international online stores, and online scams worry many, so the bar is high,” says Viskari.  

The latest Digital Skills Report of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency shows that Finnish companies are doing well in international comparison when assessing their performance level in cyber security, data security, and data protection. Ylihurula, however, sees room for improvement. She challenges technology companies to learn to use the same wavelength with customers.  

"In our industry, the companies have much to learn about speaking the same language with the customer. We still ask the customer for technical details even if the customer should be helped by asking him familiar things. As service providers, it is crucial for us, as industry experts, to be able to recommend and provide user-friendly and high-quality technical solutions that are appropriately validated."  

Business leaders as key players in digitalization  

Business decision-makers have a key role in promoting digitalization. They need to understand the importance of good online services and enable their development, for example, by providing sufficient resources. Understanding the importance of cyber security is also essential for everyone in the industry.  

"Every successful and untreated data breach takes away people's trust in digitalization. Those breaches that can be prevented must be prevented, and mistakes like leaving default passwords on the network, unfortunately, have been seen recently, cannot happen," Viskari emphasizes.  

“Exactly: a lot can be achieved by taking care of the basics. However, cybercrime is a vast industry, and we might have to see attacks that are not prevented by not making basic mistakes. Cybersecurity, like all aspects of continuity management, requires careful planning. What is done when something inevitably happens? How do we ensure business continuity, and what recovery plans are effective in different scenarios?” Ylihurula states.  

Service provider: Consider data security in layers, like an onion  

Ylihurula and Viskari talk about the layering of data security. This means that data security is taken care of at every organizational level and in all of the company’s operations.  

"Own network must be secured, and the operations of partners with interfaces to our network or data must also be secure. Have they been ensured sufficiently, for example, through competent audits? Even our internal systems must be secured so that the attacker is halted at the latest when attempting to breach the company's network," says Ylihurula.  

"We have witnessed unfortunate cases where an attacker stealing invaluable information didn't have to be a formidable cyber expert. Theft becomes easy if a criminal simply walks in through an open door. Each such case severely damages trust in all digital services. On the other hand, in the digital world, preventing all threats in advance is impossible. In addition to technical preparedness, planning and practicing for different scenarios are necessary. This way, the response is quick, and the consequences can be contained if an attack occurs," notes Viskari.  

Management should take care of the competence of their staff as much as the protection of various production layers.  

"Digital business can continue only as long as the company has the trust of its customers. Understanding cybersecurity and data protection requirements must be the staff's core competence. This is an important socially responsible act and a basic requirement of the modern era."  

And what digital preparations still need to be done?  

Everyday life is busy, and planning digital continuity might have yet to reach the top of the to-do list. However, everything is preserved if important data is still safe. You can get off to a good start in improving your digital security with the following tips:  

  • First, consider what is most important to you, your family, and your business. Then, contact your service provider, asking for advice. Service providers have checklists on how to ensure one's digital security. For a company, the core issue may be keeping the online store operational. For a private individual, the most important thing might be keeping online banking credentials and health information confidential.  
  • If you have a computer, domain name, or a work phone, it is highly recommended to keep them separated from the accounts, devices, and services you use in your private life. At the very least, the passwords must be unique in each service.  
  • Remember device security. What device do you use to access digital services? For many, it’s a smartphone. Contact your service provider and ask for a checklist to ensure its security level.  

The latest Digital skills report examines digitalization and digital skills 

The Digital and Population Data Services Agency published the latest Digital skills report on 15.12.2023. It examines the general digitalization of society, businesses, other organizations, and individual digital skills. In 2023, the report's theme revolved around the importance of digitalization: digital-first, but not alone. The report specifically focuses on experiences related to digitization and digital competence. The report provides an overview of the state of Finnish digital skills and the types of digital support needs among the Finnish population. 



Read also: 10 essential tips to strengthen your company’s cyber resilience