Business Leaders: Secure, Invest, and Leverage IT for Revenue Generation

October 22, 2013

Gopal Khanna, Principal at The Khanna Group and Senior Fellow at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, suggests a major paradigm shift among business owners is needed in how they secure, harmonize, and leverage vital proprietary information residing on their respective IT platforms – and it requires three things.

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) October 22, 2013

There has been a lot of awareness building on the crippling impact of cyber attacks on business and government information assets.

What is needed now, in addition to on-going awareness, is discussions to create strategies and action plans to mitigate business disruptions and secure the shareholder interests.

We have all heard about cyber intrusion disrupting the workings of major businesses as well as government. Publicly known cyber attacks have come from what is often referred to as insider threats, cyber theft, hacktivists a la the “Snowden Effect,” and entities abroad. The cyber attacks and thefts have been targeted mostly on commercial and public “Data Assets,” which when harnessed by businesses, creates customer information knowledge of the marketplace, competitive advantage and profits for companies. Protecting shareholder interests requires securing assets which, in the hyper-connected world, must include digitized Data and intellectual properties. It is the new imperative.

Securing commercial assets is not a new business undertaking. It has been a part of strategies to protect hard assets during the brick and mortar industrial era of the last century. However, with the commercialization of the Internet, the invisible cyber space has introduced another mode of transportation to the previously acknowledged railroad, shipping lanes, airway systems, and roads and bridges. The Internet now facilitates the spread of information and transactions within organizations, and externally without any boundaries and it has expanded the existing foundation of the transportation infrastructure of the country and the world as we know it. It needs to be recognized that we now, as a society, operate in the era of what I call ”Digital Global Public Square.” The new public square is vast and open, as compared to the mainstreet public square of the 19th and 20th century within the confines of known and well defined parameters, and has created enormous advantages for furthering the commercial interests of the nation. However, the unlimited access to open internet is like the Wild West: a lawless frontier that has rendered all organizations susceptible to crippling consequences.

Therefore, securing the workings of the nation’s critical infrastructure and protecting customers in the digital era calls for a major paradigm shift amongst business owners in how they secure, harmonize, and leverage vital proprietary information residing on their respective IT platforms. For starters, it requires three things:

1) Cyber Security is a Business Problem

Recognition on the part of business owner, corporate leaders, and elected officials that cyber security is a business problem to manage and is not just an IT problem. Therefore, it needs to be a CEOs governance responsibility, rather than CIOs and CISOs to manage.

2) A problem that cannot be Down-Sourced

There has to be a recognition that cyber security cannot be outsourced to government, as it was in the last century by letting FEMA, FBI and others to take responsibility. To secure private data and information assets, what is needed is a coordinated response and security measures that includes government, business owners and the public at large. Cyber security is a problem that cannot anymore be down-sourced to the IT department and technology professionals within the organization.

3) IT is a Profit-Center

The third recognition that needs to be made by the C-Suite and business owners is that to create a secure and reliable IT platform, investments are needed in technology capabilities, just as sales and regional distribution operations were funded in the 50’s and 60’s. This calls for a huge paradigm shift in making investments in IT platforms. We need to recognize that IT is a profit-center, not a cost-center.

Cyber threats, intrusions, and attacks have physical consequences just like floods, tornados, and hurricanes. Awareness is needed, but actions are required.

© Gopal Khanna 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Gopal Khanna is a senior fellow at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. He was chief information officer and chief financial officer of the United States Peace Corps, and the first chief information officer in the State of Minnesota. Earlier he held business leadership positions in the private sector.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013-10/GopalOpEd/prweb11257246.htm

Source: prweb

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