Why is this important?
Ethics and transparency
The impact of technology on people and society is increasing. We consider it our role as a technology industry to reflect on that impact. For example, new technologies can create new ethical dilemmas and issues. A case in point: as healthcare becomes increasingly digital, decisions about human health are made on the basis of data. Or: how do we ensure access to digital technology for all?
Doing business in an honest and ethical way is also increasingly important for our stakeholders: customers, investors, suppliers, employees, job applicants, consumers, the general public ... Organizations and people rightly expect business to give them insight into their environmental and social impacts and their contribution to society. A study by temporary employment agency Tempo Team* shows that today one out of three employees takes corporate social responsibility into account when choosing his or her future employer. In the war for talent, social responsibility and sustainability communication are therefore becoming decisive for companies.
Spurred by (the revision of) the European Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the importance of transparency in business is growing. From 2023 onwards, all large companies and listed SMEs will be required to publish information on their non-financial performance and risks on an annual basis. The revision, together with the Taxonomy Regulation, is part of the package of measures that Europe is introducing to channel more money towards sustainable activities and businesses and thus bring the ambitions of the Green Deal to fruition.
New European regulations on due diligence have also come into force since the beginning of 2022. As a result, large companies and SMEs from high-risk sectors are required to address human rights and environmental risks throughout their business operations, including their supply chains. Companies are also required to involve their stakeholders in the preparation of these due diligence plans.
* Good intentions for 2020: 53% of Belgian employees want to work in a more climate-friendly way
Cybercrime can have major consequences for companies and their customers. It can lead to large financial losses and damage the image of a company and the trust of customers, especially if valuable information is stolen. Proper protection is therefore indispensable.
In a nutshell, data protection is about confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA): information must be seen by the right people, it must be reliable and it must be available at the right time to protect the continuity of the company. Companies must comply with European and other regulations on data security, such as the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the new Cyber Security Directive (NIS 2.0).
Protecting digital information - cybersecurity - has technological, process and human aspects. For example, IT systems must not have any weaknesses, but employees must also be made aware of the risks. The technology industry therefore pays a lot of attention to raising awareness about cyber security. This is necessary, because many Belgian companies are potentially vulnerable. Small companies run just as much or even more risk than large companies. This is because they have limited knowledge and resources to implement cyber security.
Moreover, many companies underestimate the risks. Recent research shows that about half of all companies in the manufacturing industry do not consider themselves a potential target. They also consider Belgium to be a relatively safe country in terms of data, in contrast to the US, for example. Nevertheless, Belgium is also suffering from cyberattacks, and these are also targeting small, less well-protected companies. In 2021, more than a thousand Belgian companies fell victim to a cyber-attack, in most cases by their own staff or subcontractors.
In the short and medium term, we want to work mainly on raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, recruitment (attracting and training enough talent to guarantee cybersecurity) and mapping the Belgian cybersecurity sector.
Cybersecurity solutions developed by the technology industry
The technology industry offers numerous security solutions to contain the risks of information leaks and cyberattacks. For example, companies can store data in the cloud to create more capacity, and they can install firewalls or intrusion prevention systems. There are also a variety of intelligent monitoring tools, such as AIs that detect unusual, inappropriate or inadequate data activity. Other IT security controls include certificates that guarantee the authenticity of a website, Threat Intelligence platforms that allow anticipation of cyber threats, Zero Trust models that require validation for every digital step, and so on. Companies from our sector help other companies to implement these systems and build a secure IT environment.
- We are committed, as a technology industry, to be at the forefront of proper compliance with the legal obligations of non-financial reporting (CSRD). We encourage all our members to report on their sustainability impact by 2030.
- By 2025, 95% of member companies have and implement a cybersecurity plan* that, among other things, makes employees aware of their obligations regarding digital technologies.
- Number of members reporting on their sustainability impact and strategy
- Number of members with a cybersecurity plan
Where are we today?
* A cybersecurity plan is a self-assessment of the business impact in terms of finance, risk, operations and compliance.