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The importance of ethics in the era of digital transformation



In the realm of technology, you can be sure that nothing ever stays the same. The industry moves forward at lightning speed. For most businesses operating in the world today, technology is the driving force behind its progression and advancement towards less spend, more profit and better operational efficiency. Back in March 2022, Forbes declared that the era of digital transformation has arrived, offering businesses a world of ways to innovate.


One of the global key drivers of digital transformation has been the adoption and implementation of cloud technology and hybrid working. During the pandemic, technology was the fundamental glue that held companies together, enabling people to connect to the cloud from remote locations to continue working but also offering the capacity to store large amounts of data without the need for a fixed IT network. Hybrid working is now part of our day to day, and according to Forbes, is expected to increase in 2023.


With such widespread adoption of technology, the question of whether business leaders have a moral and ethical obligation to their employees and customers is becoming a bigger conversation. Basic ethical concepts with regards to privacy, property, liberties, moral responsibility and the distribution of power are only the beginning. Digital transformation has brought about an intense level of change across society, and technology has fundamentally changed the way society operates. Working, communicating, playing, resting, sharing information and managing money to name a few.


It has become more important for companies, particularly in the regulated sector, to work in a way that is considered ethically and morally sound. Firms may consider developing an ethics program and have employees in bigger firms dedicated to ethical decision making within their business as a means to promote moral conduct. This is in line with ESG policies and procedures. A key concern for businesses operating within a digital structure should be maintaining security of personal data. Transparent privacy policies are a must. Having a clear and transparent privacy policy not only protects clients, but also helps the business itself stay accountable to their own internal practices. Having a clear ethical framework for data aligns with a clear cybersecurity strategy. These are sometimes known as operating within “cyber-ethics”.


In March 2022, the FCA published a milestone policy indicating that firms participating in financial markets within the UK have until March 2025 to detail how they can operate within impact tolerances they set in order to prove their operational resilience. Hiring an ethical outsourced cybersecurity professionals to stress test a resilience can assist with the regulatory requirements.


While making sure your own business aligns with an ethical data management policy, it is also worth considering what your outsourced partners and vendors policies are. The responsibility for your people, your firm and your clients doesn’t just stop with the decisions you make within your own business. Firms should consider all their practices to ensure ethical responsibilities are fulfilled.

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