By Mickey Woods, Technology Consultant, Ingram Micro
I recently had the privilege of guiding a sight-impaired citizen through the busy lobby of my local gym. This elderly man was in fine spirits but grateful for my help as he struggled to reach the exit. Although equipped with a mobility device, he needed someone to hold on to for a few steps so he could begin the next part of his journey. As we parted, I reflected how fortunate I was for the opportunity to offer my service. At that moment, I understood that even the most accomplished people may need guidance from a trusted resource when facing a new challenge.
As our connected world accesses services 24/7—and without geographical boundaries—global collaboration has led to a significant amount of new security vulnerabilities. Web browser hijacking, ransomware and targeted phishing attacks are some of the ways sensitive information can be compromised. To make matters worse, the threat landscape is changing—where stealing data has given way to the disruption of mission-critical environments. Consider the impact of losing control of early warning detection systems, or an airline in-flight navigation exploit that could jeopardize the safety of thousands. Even the encryption integrity of smartphones has become a battleground: After recent incidents of terrorism in San Bernardino and Minnesota, the FBI sought access to suspects’ locked iPhones, in one case resulting in a legal clash between the FBI and Apple.
The Greek philosopher Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” There are times when our executive-level relationships demand more of our attention, and guiding business partners toward a proven security end-state can provide tremendous value. You can help executive leaders navigate the endless amount of choices by leveraging a trusted advisor throughout the discovery process. When identifying your security gaps, make sure to use reliable methods and tools to help you filter out all the noise—and ensure the quality of your testing data. Your remediation efforts will be rewarded and will produce an effective security policy to keep access to information to only those users with a “need to know.” It will be important to embrace a continuous improvement mindset when evaluating the reliability of your people, products and processes. Remember to frequently self-audit, and avoid glossing over the security review portion at your next board meeting. Any indication of shortsightedness around your strategy and implementation of security measures may suggest you’re not prepared to deal with the dynamic nature of emerging threats.
Finding the safest path forward is never easy, especially when your available choices far outnumber viable options. It will be important to recruit subject matter experts with knowledge greater than your own—and to align your efforts with a global technology leader who can share security concepts, methodologies and industry best practices. So whether you’re extending a random act of kindness to a stranger or providing consulting services to CEOs making tough decisions, your next steps could mean the difference between reaching your ultimate destination and getting lost in a crowd.