Cyber risk is a systemic challenge and cyber-resilience a public good. Without security and resilience in our networks, it will be impossible to safely take advantage of the innumerable opportunities that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is poised to offer. Responsible and innovative leaders, therefore, are seeking ways to deal with these risks.

In order to meet these challenges and be truly responsive to and responsible for the challenges of digitalization, leaders need tools and partnerships. Tools help leaders to increase their capabilities to meet these challenges, including the challenge of ensuring that the networks their organizations run or join are trusted and secure. Partnerships develop these capabilities by bringing together many struggling with the same global problems and helping them to share solutions and ideas.

The forum, as part of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on the Digital Economy and Society, has taken the first step toward delivering some of these tools. Partnering with the Boston Consulting Group and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the forum has developed an important new resource, Advancing Cyber Resilience: Principles and Tools for Boards, presented to the members of the forum and offered to all leaders at the Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos.

This report, which is the product of an extensive process of collaboration and consultation, has distilled leading practice into a framework and set of tools. These can be used by boards of directors to smoothly integrate cyber risk and resilience into business strategy, so their companies can securely and sustainably innovate and grow. We take a prospective approach in building leaders’ capabilities, ensuring that these same tools help leaders respond both to the current state of cyber risk and future technological risks, whatever they may be. This is especially important, since in the next few years, billions of new devices will connect to the internet as well as to corporate and government networks. These networked devices bring with them the threat of new risks to the enterprise and, more importantly, to networked systems that affect millions of lives. In the next few decades, artificial intelligence and quantum computing will bring new challenges as well. The principles outlined in the report will help leaders meet these expected and as-yet-unforeseen technological risks and challenges.

In support of this work, Mike Nefkens, Executive Vice President of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, has said that “new disruptive technologies, in particular IoT [the Internet of Things], are increasing both business opportunity and risk. These cyber principles and tools will help boards understand their duties and manage this risk in a more coherent way across their entire organization.”

Since the changes that represent the Fourth Industrial Revolution affect all aspects of society, these principles stand as the first part of an effort that will cross sectors and geographies, in order to support trust in a truly sustainable networked global community. The forum encourages all organizations to adopt the principles and tools described in our report and to work with us to improve and adapt them to new actors and circumstances.

Building on these tools, the forum will create partnerships among leaders who seek to improve their organizations’ security and resilience. Taking inspiration from the open source mantra that “many eyes make all bugs shallow”, this network will allow for the sharing of best practices among boards of directors and executives who govern risk across sectors as well as leaders from government and academia who seek to build more resilient networks.

These principles, tools and partnerships are necessary because they will ultimately improve the security of the internet and the networks upon which we rely to communicate, conduct business and, increasingly, engage in public debate and deliberation. Security and resilience in these digital spaces helps uphold the values that we are constantly working to protect, whether they be free expression, integrity, trust, innovation or some combination of them all.

We, the forum and our partners, ask that you help us lead responsibly into the Fourth Industrial Revolution by adopting these principles and tools, by partnering with others and by helping us to continue advancing cyber-resilience.