Addressing an analyst briefing yesterday, a senior executive of a local company described cyber hacking as an "unfortunate reality" for businesses anywhere in the world.
The executive posed the "unfortunate reality" of cyber hacking in the context of the evolution of business from the physical space to the digital space, and also consumers' desire and need to interact digitally.
The executive then outlined the "material" investment the group has made in the three years since it was subjected to a cyberattack.
Several entities in T&T have acknowledged that they suffered the "unfortunate reality" of being hacked. Among these are the ANSA McAL Group, the Massy Group, Beacon Insurance, the Office of the Attorney General and the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).
And just last week, the American aerospace giant, Boeing, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of the largest banks in the world, were hacked.
In none of these cases, some of which are ongoing, did the boards of these entities or the Cabinet of this country, in the case of the Attorney General and the SWRHA, embark on the drastic step of terminating the chief executive officer, without even acknowledging her service, as the board of majority state-owned Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) did on Tuesday.
Given the rarity of CEOs being dismissed for hacking incidents, it behooves the board of TSTT to provide full disclosure of the facts surrounding the dismissal of its former CEO Lisa Agard to the T&T population.
An explanation from the TSTT board would stop the speculation that has abounded, most of which has centred on the communication by the telecommunications company to its various publics.
At a virtual meeting of TSTT's bondholders and analysts last Friday, Ms Agard apologised to its stakeholders for its communication of the breach to them.
"We were so busily focused on identifying the problem, containing it and restoring full capability to serve our customers that we neglected, perhaps, to communicate effectively with them," Agard said.
It is clear that the TSTT board did not feel the apology was enough to redress what it may have perceived as a stain on the trust the public has in the telecommunications company. If that is so, the company should come out and say so.
But it is clear that the TSTT executive management erred in not alerting the public about the data breach before it was disclosed by a local journalist.
And it is also clear the company attempted to downplay the impact of the data breach on the population.
There were also issues in the statements made by Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales in Parliament, and in news releases that were targetted for consumption by the public.
Mr Gonzales may feel that he was misled and embarrased by the executive management of TSTT and this may have been the cause of Ms Agard's fall.
But the public does not know and it should, given the fact that TSTT is 51 per cent owned by National Enterprises Ltd on behalf of the people of this country.