Changes in the digital world also have an impact on corporate risk management and present many risk managers with new challenges, but at the same time also offer new opportunities.
An interview with Martin Cerny and Jörg Schönenborn, Telecommunication Executives, and Andreas Schmitt, Insurance Professional.
What were the main develop ments in the last 24 months in your business sector?
Cerny: Covid-19 has pushed digitisa- tion in nearly every area of life and therefore the demand for a stable and fully developed, high speed network has surged. We expected that long before Covid-19 but, for example, on the day of the first lockdown, the data traffic volume doubled from one day to another.
Still, our network worked perfectly.
Has the new work environment with more people working from home or remotely also pushed this demand?
Cerny: Definitely. And people expect high speed internet everywhere in Austria, not only in urban areas. As more and more people want to live outside of cities, this is becoming ever more important.
Network expansion is also a big topic in Germany. Which challenges is Deutsche Telekom facing in
Schönenborn: As Martin mentioned, network reliability is a key success factor for digitisation. Therefore, we are pushing ahead to further develop the network. But there are still a lot of hurdles to take. I give you an example: everybody is talking about 5G. But, to prepare the network for 5G we need much more transmitters with less distance between them.
We are dealing with the same barriers as renewable energy. Everybody wants to have clean electricity but nobody wants to have a wind turbine close to his or her home. However, without a
close network of transmitters a 5G network is impossible.
How will you overcome these barriers?
Schönenborn: Intensified communi- cation is key to convincing people to support this expansion. You have to destroy their fears and doubts.
What happened to the risk landscape? Any new developments there?
Schönenborn: With growing digitisation, cyber-attacks, especially ransomware attacks, present an even greater challenge to companies, with hackers trying to steal business-critical data or digital identities and manipulating companies’ production facilities. The rising, all-encompassing connectivity and cloud transformation require up-to- date security measures. This is why Telekom Security, for example, offers all customers the same professional high-quality solutions that we use to protect Deutsche Telekom around the world. As you can see, the demand and need for cyber consulting and prevention is constantly increasing.
Besides risk management and prevention, the possibility exists to insure companies against such cyberattacks. Insurers have been trying to push cyber insurance for years. Does this help to build up
a new and big insurance line?
Schmitt: Yes, and no. On the one hand, the demand for cyber insurance is increasing and therefore boosting the growth of this line. On the other hand, we see a lot of claims. As a result, prices are rising and capacities are declining. Sometimes, it is even impossible to get a cyber insurance or an offer with the required insurance limits.
On top of that, insurers’ underwriting guidelines are getting stricter. That is why cyber insurance often goes hand in hand with a risk dialogue. Risk evaluation, risk transparency and risk management are becoming much more important than in the past. And, if you already have a cyber insurance you will have to brace yourself against price increases and lower capacities as more claims are dealt with at the same time.
Any other developments beside cyber crime?
Cerny: Of course. Our main supplier, for example, is electricity. At the beginning of the year we nearly
had a blackout in Austria. This is something we have to prepare for. Several studies predict a blackout in Austria within the next five years.
How can this happen?
Schmitt: There are a lot of potential triggers such as cyber-attacks, terror attacks, natural hazards, insufficient network stability, and so on.
How can you prepare for a blackout?
Cerny: Well, the easiest way are emergency generators. However, they only uphold communication for a short period of time and only in critical areas. That is why every company – not only in our industry – should also develop an emergency blackout plan and define what to do, and what is critical to keep up and running and for how long. Imagine a day without electricity, internet, phone calls, emails, etc. – no communication at all. We would be back in the Stone Age.
Which other topics are keeping you busy?
Schönenborn: As mentioned before, our main supplier is electricity and therefore ESG is getting more and more important. We must ask where the electricity comes from, what happens with the hardware when it is no longer needed or working, can it be recycled? What will the future workplace in our tech-driven business look like,
how much remote working from home is good for our employees in the future, and what can we do to support them at home?
How do you handle this?
Cerny: The A1 Telekom Austria Group is aware of this responsibility and has set specific goals for the environment, society, and its people. As ESG is one of the company’s strategy enablers, the topic is strongly embedded in strategic decisions. That way, we aim to achieve more efficient, resource-conserving and thus more sustaina-
ble ways of working and living. In addition, the company considers these initiatives as long-term value drivers with not only environmental and social benefits, but also economic advantages.
Managing Director Dt.Telekom AssekuranzGmbH
Finance Insurance Manager A1 Telekom Austria AG
Vorstand Risiko- und Versicherungstechnik
T +43 664 962 40 11
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