Debunking the cybersecurity myth

Mansur Hasib

Cybersecurity is an often-misunderstood concept.

For most of us, when we think about cybersecurity, we associate it with tools and technology. We think about hacking, computers, data centers and the latest in threatening malware. This may be true in the movies, but in real life, it’s a myth. Although it’s more exciting to imagine tools and technology powering cybersecurity, when it comes to protecting our enterprises, our data and our personal information, people, leadership and perpetual innovation carry the day.

In fact, cybersecurity is a holistic interdisciplinary field that emphasizes business ahead of technology. Consider how these three things, working in concert, form the underpinning of a successful digital strategy.

• Innovation. Cybersecurity is about perpetual innovation. Without innovation, you are a sitting duck, and this is what is happening today. Technology and machines are obsolete the day you purchase them.

• People. People innovate, not technology. The human brain is an amazing source of perpetual innovation. If you don’t have the right people, then you can’t effectively configure and use technology properly, and you can’t train others to use the technology.

• Leadership. We need the right people in charge focusing on the right thing — namely inspiring and incentivizing people to innovate, use technology properly and train others to use it properly. And in order to incentivize, we need ethical leadership, whereby the fruit of an organization’s success can be shared equitably with the people who contribute to that success.

The costs of cybersecurity keep rising. Why? Organizations are spending too much money on obsolete technology instead of investing in hiring the right people to implement sound and sustainable digital strategies.

The solution lies in the transformation of our traditional leadership roles from a finance-centered leadership model (where a chief financial officer might be the chief decision maker) to a digital strategy leadership model (where a chief digital strategist would lead a people-powered organization).

The effectiveness of a security program does not hinge on technology, rather on the confluence of creative teams building business-aligned processes under ethical leadership. The bottom line is that cyber strategy is business strategy, and the ultimate cybersecurity posture within an organization is determined by the behavior of its people.

 Learn more about the latest activities and trends in cybersecurity and information technology at HCC’s Tech @ the HUB on April 20. Visit www.hagers for more information.

Mansur Hasib is the program chair of cybersecurity technology at the Graduate School at University of Maryland, University College.