Evolving risks in 2021With the pandemic still raging, 2021 looks to be much of a continuation of the last 12 months. However, there is no doubt that geopolitical risks could evolve in 2021 to produce even more unpredictable events and developments.
The US election in November saw Joe Biden elected as Donald Trump’s successor. The last 10 years of American politics has seen the near collapse of bipartisanship, and the rise of social division within the country. After four years of a Trump administration, President Biden is likely to take a hard reverse on some significant issues impacting domestic and international businesses operating in the US and abroad.
Despite most of the risk here being domestic, the rising distrust in the democratic system in a country as influential as the US may lead to negative effects for the efforts of democratisation around the world, potentially paving the way for increased authoritarianism. As geopolitical events can often provoke intense reaction and supply chains continue to grow longer and more complex, a swift change in global sentiment may leave supply chains vulnerable to geopolitical tension.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown great co-operation between countries, however it has also catalysed much of a realist international — or worse nationalist — approach as we have seen governments increasingly utilise a g-zero mindset, a concept that Ian Bremmer defined in his book Every Nation for Itself where countries are increasingly self-interested and less concerned with international order4.
As the pandemic prompted organisations to adopt new technologies at an unprecedented rate, organisations that previously did not have to protect against cyber-attacks and threats are now finding themselves in increasingly unfamiliar territory. Organisations may be at risk of geopolitically motivated cyber-attacks, with previous cases seeing trusted services such as Outlook and Linkedin being targeted.
#As cyber threats expand both through geopolitical developments and through an organisation’s growing reliance on new technologies, it has never been more important to look at cyber risk holistically through targeted risk assessment surveys and analysing risk in conjunction with other key geopolitical lenses.