All the experts agree – cyber security should be an organisation-wide concern. And yet, in my experience too many organisations, and too many people in those organisations think that cyber security is solely the concern of (a) the security team, or (b) the IT/digital team. In case you need convincing my favourite response is that if there is a cyber-attack (or incident) then it is not the IT team’s job that is at risk, but part of the organisation (if the HR system is compromised it is the HR team who won’t be able to work, not the IT or security teams). Who knows what the impact is of an attack? It’s not IT, that’s for sure. And who is best placed to balance off the needs of the organisation with the cyber risks? It’s not security: if you left it up to me, I’d turn everything off! That’s the only way to be sure (and I get no benefit from it being on, so…)
Sometimes I think my cybersecurity colleagues believe they are living in a spy novel. I mean, we are all guilty of trying to make our day jobs sound more interesting or trying to make them sound more ‘sexy’, but this industry in particular takes the cake. Even the name “cybersecurity” is like “oooh, I work in a William Gibson novel!” Though we can’t fault someone trying to make their job sound better than “security guard at an online shopping mall”.
There is a debate at work about what to call what we do. Actually, it’s not really a debate, more sort of a code of silence, or an agreement not to mention the subject in polite company lest it offends. When the subject comes up there is a sort of shuffling of feet, nervous laughter, “ahem”s and a subject quickly changed. But in Axenic’s spirit of transparency let’s get this out in the open: is what we do information security or cybersecurity? Certain people (I’m not naming names but they have numbered among our more beardy team members) have had such strong views that even using the word “cyber” at work is like a red rag to a bull. Actually, while I’m being honest, I have to admit that even though I am amongst the least hirsute of our team, I had strong leanings that way.