Boardroom briefing: COVID-19 data security risks, oil price goes negative and China’s digital future


The COVID-19 risks business may not be thinking about, the US oil price is negative for the first time ever and COVID-19 accelerates China’s digital future. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

Are you COVID-19 risk ready?

Credit: Pixabay

A report on Entrepreneur Asia looks at some of the risks of COVID-19 that businesses might not have thought of.

For example, now that a lot more of your business is taking place online, have you thought about the risks to data security? You need to be aware of things like backing up your data if it is on the hard drives of individuals who are working from home or making sure your data sharing is restricted.

How is your cybersecurity? Have you checked the security controls on your data sharing? Are all your security patches up to date?

COVID-19 is not just about the health of employees, but the health of your business practices as a whole.

Will gas stations pay me to fill up now?

US oil price goes negative. Credit: CNN

For the first time ever the oil price has been driven below $0, and CNN takes a look at what this historic price war means for the industry.

The inaugural negative crude oil price – the price fell to minus US$37 before ‘recovering’ to zero – relates to contracts to sell, known as futures. Speculators found themselves unable to resell the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract, because there was no storage available in Cushing, Oklahoma, where delivery is specified under the contract.

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About 90 per cent of the drop in the oil price can be attributed to the drop in demand because of the worldwide lockdown, according to Bob McNally, President, Rapidan Energy Group. There has been thin trading of US oil futures amid concerns over where to store the excess barrels come May.

And no, it is very unlikely, as the playful headline of the article suggests, that the negative oil price means you are about to get paid for filling up your car.

A snapshot of China’s digital economy

Chinese New Year decorations. Credit: pxfuel

Like many countries, China has been forced to move much of its business online and the result gives us an interesting view of the future, with high user rates and a range of new online business models, according to Asialink Business.

The think piece says that China can provide a useful digital role model due to the high connectivity of the population, with 854.5 million fixed internet and 846.8 million mobile internet users.

In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, during the Chinese New Year period, mobile internet traffic surged 36.4 per cent, producing a huge rise in online consumption and home deliveries.

There were also major demographic shifts in purchasing behaviour. Those aged over 60 increased their online shopping frequency and more than 90 per cent of those aged over 40 placed fresh food orders online. Online retailer Miss Fresh reported a 237 per cent rise in middle-aged shoppers.

Perhaps the current move online is one that will stick long after the shops have reopened.

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