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Salle de conférence remplie de participant-e-s lors de la Swiss Digital Conference 2019.
Thursday 24 November 2022 08:30

The Institute of Informatics of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis co-organizes with Cimark SA the Swiss Digital Conference which will take place on Friday January 27, 2023 at the Swiss Digital Center in Sierre. Are resilient information systems the key to ensure the security of SMEs and the continuity of services to the population?

Information systems are omnipresent in our daily lives

Most of the services we use operate through networks of computers that collect, store, process and distribute data. This information system makes many services, such as online payments, road signs, running a gas pump, requesting an official document from a public administration or storing our vacation photos on a remote server, reliably and quickly accessible. So many things that we use every day without thinking about it because these services work perfectly.

Complexity of systems and fragility of our lifestyles

However, these information systems have become more complex over the years and have therefore also become more fragile. The computer algorithms used by our bank, our favorite social network or our mobile weather application are hosted on computer servers on the Internet. A power outage in a data center in Germany could prevent a Swiss company from making payroll payments or a transport company from having reliable enough data to avoid an accident, grounding its fleet. Such an outage could also prevent us from paying by credit card for our Christmas shopping or even accessing our money through an ATM.

Resilience to prepare

Although seemingly radical in a technologically and economically highly developed Switzerland, these hypotheses seem less unusual today. Cyberattack, power failure, disruption of raw material supply due to a conflict, absenteeism due to a pandemic or an extreme weather event: there are many factors that can affect an information system and therefore our way of life, our way of consuming, paying, enjoying our leisure time or working. Resilience, or the ability to get back on track after a shock, is a necessary concept for thinking about the resumption or continuity of our activities after they have been halted by an unexpected phenomenon. In order to answer the many questions that citizens and business leaders are asking, the 17th Swiss Digital Conference in Sierre focuses on the burning question of resilience. How to prepare yourself and your company for the inaccessibility of your information system?

SMEs facing multiple risks

SMEs, in Switzerland as elsewhere, are more and more dependent on information and communication systems to run their business and to communicate. Digitalization, which is progressing day after day within companies, reinforces this dependence. However, these information and communication systems are often not developed locally and can involve weaknesses, and therefore risks. More resilient systems, capable of anticipating shortages (energy, data, etc.) and security breaches, could be the key to meeting these challenges and enabling SMEs to maintain their ability to function at all times.

High-level speakers and concrete examples to move forward

Thanks to concrete examples, the sharing of the different speakers will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration and reflection for the population, SME managers and the economic world in general. The journalist Romain Boisset will be the moderator of the conference and will open the debate around the subject. The speakers will address topics such as the importance of resilience for Swiss SMEs, its complexity and vulnerability, the point of view of software providers, human risks and the role of ethical hacking. Understanding how an IT system continues to function in the event of an outage, incident, shortage, hacking or increase in business operations is crucial for the security of companies. Speakers from entities such as HUG, or the Federal Office for Economic Supply will share their experiences in relation to the resilience of information systems.

Program and registration