‘Knowledge Management’ was one of the most exciting buzz words of the 1990’s, fuelled by the rapid globalisation of economies and businesses. As globalisation became business as usual, so the knowledge management trend diminished to become more routine business. However, at its height, it was exciting. It was viewed as a positive thing; as being essential to keep your business competitive. Most businesses therefore implemented a knowledge management initiative of some sort as it was seen as essential to manage your valuable information to maximise business performance.
Skip forward a decade or two and today cyber, or more specifically, cyber security, is one of the latest buzz words. A new buzz word but a different story is emerging …..
Arguably an evolution of the well-established IT Security market, cyber security, if done well implements holistic capability to protect your information – governance, skills, culture, policy, processes, as well as physical, personnel and IT security. By putting in place the right measures to protect your information you are actually setting up the infrastructure required to effectively and safely manage and exploit it.
So bar the addition of the word ‘safely’ in the previous sentence and the security dimensions to the capability description, I could have been talking about knowledge management. So why has cyber security not got the momentum knowledge management had in the 90’s? Why is there not the excitement and positivity about it in the Boardroom?
In my opinion it is all down to the power of the words most commonly used in this field. Cyber Security proudly carries that word ‘security’. Many in cyber security talk about protecting information from threats or managing your information risk. Unfortunately ‘security’, ‘risk’, ‘threat’ all carry a negative stigma and investment by businesses in initiatives around these areas is as little as possible to comply with what legislation exists or to meet the rather minimal expectations of stakeholders.
But what we are talking about is actually putting in place the capability to safely exploit your information. Exploiting information means better decisions; more timely, relevant and valued delivery. Being seen as able to exploit information safely should lead to competitive advantage. All very positive. Ergo, there is nothing negative about cyber security.
So let’s stop focussing on securing our information for its protection and start talking about safely exploiting our information to take advantage of the information economy in which we live! A business that is cyber-enabled can leverage digital opportunities, maximise profitability and gain all important competitive advantage!