The Viewfinder

Cybersecurity In The Digital Age: When Rubber Meets The Sky And The Road

Last year a report from North Carolina State University found that concerns regarding the risks associated with the advancement of technology were of greater concern to company leadership in 2018 than both economic uncertainty and regulation. Specifically that the “rapid speed” of disruptive innovations and new technologies would “outpace” an organization’s ability to manage risk effectively.

Concern among the board members and executives who participated in the University’s study, was so great that managing the risks associated with technological advancement, was number one on their list of the top ten risks they would face.

As the Managing Director, Cybersecurity at Cisco, such revelations do not surprise me. I would be surprised if concerns regarding security weren’t one of the top ones for companies, and not just large organizations but small and medium enterprises as well. Managing risk in the digital age as I had indicated in my October 11th, 2018 blog post –Small and Mighty: Cybersecurity for small and midsize businesses, is “a shared risk for all of us,” and “will require a shared effort by all of us to control.”

Racing Ahead

Of course, the issue of technological advancement racing ahead of our ability to both harness and manage it effectively towards the desired outcome is nothing new. Every innovation whether it be the telephone through to the first PC and now the digital age has faced its challenges and obstacles starting with understanding and managing the risks.

A favorite analogy of mine when discussing the need to manage risk in the face of inevitable progression is my teenage son being legally allowed to drive at the age of 16. The question is not whether he can or should drive – after all being able to drive is part of growing up and gaining personal independence as you enter adulthood. The real question is, does he have the experience to drive from point A to point B safely? This concern regarding safety is where I come in as I ride shotgun with him whenever he takes the car on the road.

Rubber Meets The Sky

I remember reading about how an engineer at a large organization’s future technologies lab was talking about the difference between  rubber “meeting the sky” and rubber “meeting the road.” With the former, he was referring to the need to come up with creative new ideas, while with the latter he was emphasizing the fact that you then have to bring those new ideas to market.

The engineer’s insight is on the mark in that the tremendous opportunities afforded us through digital technology advancement is incredible. However, the rubber can only meet the road if you can provide a sure and safe pathway to realizing the full digital promise. In this regard, all organizations need to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy focused on prevention, detection, response and recovery to address the pervasive threats that are inherent in this exciting new world.

Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where you will gain additional insights into developing and implementing a dynamic cybersecurity framework that will enable you to clear the road to digital transformation success.

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