A new classic pairing: Technology and cybersecurity

We live in a time of accelerating change and ongoing uncertainty. These times create new opportunities and new dichotomies. Most pairings flow together naturally — peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, cardinal and white. Some, like the new pairing of technology and cybersecurity fit together uneasily. The former pairings complement each other while technology and cybersecurity tend to pull in opposite directions. These forces and the uncertainty they create can cause us to freeze in place rather than move aggressively into the future.

Cybersecurity and technology pull companies in opposite directions. Criminals’ efficiency improvements make cybercrime ubiquitous, victimizing more — and smaller — organizations every day. These crimes moved from solo actors targeting specific opportunities to sophisticated organizations with the ability to launch effective generic attacks. Even simple generic offensives use artificial intelligence to reach undifferentiated targets efficiently and effectively. These crimes and the forces behind them naturally cause companies to shrink their exposure and slow their implementation of new technologies and connectivity.

Contrast those forces with the pervasiveness of new technology and the benefits it can offer — the explosion in accessible computing power, new approaches to connected systems, and the ability to use large amounts of data to define, understand, and change our world. We see these developments transforming relationships between customers and suppliers, the ability to reach and create value in the marketplace, and companies’ competitiveness. These transformations drive companies to engage employees in new ways, improve productivity and flexibility, and remove costs. Leading companies do more and explore the possible.

Laggards see these competing forces — the drive of new technology and the danger of cybercrime — as insurmountable threats and freeze in place because they see overwhelming risk and uncertainty. To these companies, cyberthreats are hard to understand and neutralize. New technology involves effort to understand and investment risk to implement. For these organizations, it becomes very easy to wait and do nothing.

Just because waiting is easier doesn’t make it the right path to follow. Change accelerates every single day, making it harder and harder for laggards to catch up. Ongoing learning is critical to succeed in this environment and requires time and effort. Fast-moving trends will punish the laggards as demographics limit the number of available workers, requiring companies to lean into new approaches to support their growth. Technology changes the game. Take no action and cybercrime will get you. The combination of the two forces a choice — act or be left behind.

It’s time to act. Put yourself in position to take advantage of the opportunities change creates. Complicated issues face your business, including the conflict between multiple technologies that could improve your position and cyberattacks from various sources that could destroy your business. Engage with partners to accelerate your learning and reduce your risk. Great partners will help you focus on the proper technology for your business and prevent you from chasing shiny objects. The right partner will also set you on a course of practical actions to set an effective cyber defense.

The current environment makes it critical to lean into change to take advantage of new opportunities, strengthening your organization. A new surge of opportunity and prosperity is upon us. Those leaning into change and taking action will be the winners in this new world.

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