Why organizations continue to fail to protect their business information

The following article is from a guest on TheBookDistrict.com Podcast, Ideas That Make An Impact, with David Cruz. Enjoy…

Why organizations continue to fail to protect their business information

“Why organizations continue to fail to protect their information?”  While I’m paraphrasing the question, it is one I encounter frequently. Although the answer requires an entire book (and I wrote it), I present to you three big ideas for you to consider: Information is abundant, business leaders ought to recognize it as a corporate matter, and technology is not the only solution. Note, these ideas are further explored in my interview with Jeremy Jones. Distinctively, for those of you who are serious about protecting your information, you can pre-order a copy of my book, Exposed, in my website.

  • Information navigates thru every aspect of our organization, like blood circulates in our body.

An organization is like the human body, information is its blood and the people are its heart. When you condition your body, the goal is NOT to prevent every possible disease; you can’t. The objective is to reduce the impact so that you can control the illness. Consequently, you work out every day, eat healthy, visit your doctor frequently, take medicine as prescribed, condition your house and office to avoid bad stuff, stay away from ill-intend habits like smoking and unsafe sex. You drink gallons of water and sleep at least eight hours.

You are fully aware, however, that none of these activities are going to prevent you or anyone from getting sick. A similar approach is to be taken in business. You need to implement proactive measures to detect early warning signs to protect the health of your organization.

Am I telling you that no matter what you do, where you reside, what industry you are in, what technology you’ve acquired, who you hired, how much capital you allocated to protection, or how big or small is company, you are still vulnerable to data exposure? Statistics continue show that whether your business is a barbershop on the street or a corporation on Wall Street; you will be compromised. No organization is immune to a cyber-attack, there is no panacea available to protect your business information.

Everyone is vulnerable! Everyone is a target! Everyone is Exposed!

  • Business leaders must recognize information protection as a corporate wide matter, and actively address the issue.

“…. whether it’s a multibillion-dollar company or it’s an army of three from a dentist’s office. How do you turn them around? How do you get them to grow 30% or 130% within each year when they haven’t even grown 5% prior? I do that by realizing that the chokehold on the growth of any business is always the leader. It’s their psychology and their skills.” ~Anthony Robbins

The key principle of any business endeavor, is great leadership. This philosophy is no different when it comes to protecting your information assets. It requires the active support from the leaders of the organization. With this support, measures and ideas are implemented comprehensively and due diligently.

Information encompasses all areas of the business as it is omnipresent. Theoretically, we can say that information is more valuable to the business than humans. Recognizing that there is a high probability that you can find someone of similar skills of even your best employee. Comparatively, if you lose trade secret or other intellectual property, the likelihood of you remaining in business is next to zero.

I had the honor to interview Dr. Ron Ross, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Dr. Ross  said the following regarding leadership “If you look at all the breaches, in almost every case, you can trace the adverse consequences to a failure at some level, in leadership, governance, or accountability.

Most people will say, well they didn’t have their firewall configured properly or they weren’t using two factor authentication, but those are all symptoms of the other larger problems that are institutional in nature . . . you’re going to have grave damage to the organization if those three things—strong leadership, good governance, and accountability aren’t in place today.” 

  • While technological safeguards can minimize the possibility of an attack, it is not the whole solution.

Every individual in your organization affectsbusiness information, either directly or indirectly. In due course, information is shared with entities outside of your organization. Sharing information can be conducted without the use of technology, so before dedicating resources to technology there are things you need to understand.

Predominantly, you need to know:

  • Where is your sensitive information? Information is located in three places: human brain, technical systems, and on paper.
  • Who has access to this information? Consider those outside the organization.
  • What is the risk to this information? In comparison to the other risks the organization is facing, is this the highest risk?
  • What is the likelihood of the identified risk materializing? The likelihood considers the adversary intent and capability.

Threats can emerge from a technological, neurological, or physical source. Whether you are using your computer (technology) to send information (residing in your brain) or to later file it in your desk drawer (paper), information is everywhere. However, how people perceive the value of this information to the organization is instrumental for the overall business strategy. You can implement the best technology in the world, ultimately is about people.

The individuals who interact with information each and every day. Those that you have instilled trust to your most valuable assets. They are the ones who can cause the most damage: inadvertently or deliberately. You may have heard some experts utter “people are the weakest link”, that is remarkably wrong. People are the strongest link in your organization, but you must allocate the appropriate resources to educate them.

Everyone recognizes that blood is essential for our survival, the same thinking must be applied to your business information. You, as the leader, ought to guide your organization on this principle. Just as our body doesn’t rely on one mechanism to protect our blood, we must never put forth all our effort in one layer of protection. In today’s information age, business leaders have the unique opportunities to take advantage of many opportunities. Consequently, every opportunity comes with risk. Balancing risk and opportunity is part of business resilience. Realizing that, whether your venture is a barbershop on the street or a corporation on Wall Street, computer-enable crimes are part of

Consequently, every opportunity comes with risk. Balancing risk and opportunity is part of business resilience. Realizing that, whether your venture is a barbershop on the street or a corporation on Wall Street, computer-enable crimes are part of business risk, showcases the reality that information is the new business frontier. If you want a sustainable, prosperous, competitive, and resilient business, you ought to protect your business information.

You can find out more how to protect your information and the resources to you available by reading my book. This book is full of great ideas and strategies, you can preorder copies on my website: or you can reach out to me personally.

 

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