Lack of Leadership in the Digital Revolution

I recently read about the airline industry being victims of insiders gone astray. This news along with continued revelations about insiders wreaking havoc across all aspects of our lives is disturbing and dangerous. Digital gains in speed and technical capabilities are overshadowed by an inability to protect ever increasing amounts of personally identifiable information (PII). In addition to the airline industry, other targeted notables include Sears, Kmart, Best Buy, Equifax, Yahoo, and Facebook, just to mention a few. The sheer volume reaches into billions of PII data sets being stolen.

This begs the question, why are corporations and government agencies seemingly unable to counter insider threats? My answer is simple. They lack leadership.

Every organization must begin by planning for desired outcomes in creating counter insider threat programs. Planning alone, however, is insufficient in detecting and deterring threats. Each organization must exercise plans, creating agility to respond as necessary.

In 1924 General George S. Patton, Jr. noted, “Victory in the next war will depend on execution, not plans.” Today we are in the middle of a digital revolution and are simultaneously at war with adversaries who are successfully attacking us. Companies who are attacked usually have planned insufficiently and lack leadership in execution. Patton’s comments are spot on in defining our time.
Too many of today’s leaders focus purely on the bottom line, ignoring digital threats. Planning is a mundane effort left to technical staffs. Leaders prefer to hope that technical solutions will stop threats. Senior leaders who do not advocate for and drive counter insider and cyber solutions are failing to lead properly.

Technology alone will not stop cyber threats. Leaders must have a clear understanding that every cyber event begins and ends with humans who use technology to achieve nefarious goals. Today’s leaders must be advocates for solid cyber plans with authority granted to professional staffs to be as agile as the threats.

Until this kind of leadership is demonstrated, we will continue to be victims of the digital revolution.

AR&O assists leaders in defining appropriate outcomes, preparing appropriate insider threat and cyber security plans, and being agile in execution and response.

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