Fear or Desire: Take Your Choice

In cybersecurity do you operate out of fear or desire? It is said that logic makes people think but emotion makes people act. I believe this and I think it is born out of thousands of years of evolution that taught humans that in order for something to be really compelling there is a human emotion behind this. I would like to think that logic is all we need that we are more evolved than that. That we can analytically and coldly sit back and weigh all of the facts and look at the bottom line and at the end of the day we will make the right decision.

But reality paints a whole different picture. Before I was a cybersecurity expert, writer, and public speaker, I was an engineer dealing in the cold hard facts of the real world. I wanted to believe it was all facts and numbers. But even then what I encountered were decisions by everyone around me that were emotional before they were logical. For example, people will choose a product based on a company image, their comfort level with it, and how much they liked the look of its interface. Then after all that, they will justify it with some numbers or ratings.

Who We Are

It is simply a matter of who we are. Take for instance a threat to your physical safety. If for instance, you were walking down your neighborhood street and all of a sudden a huge vicious lion came running out of nowhere teeth snarling, roaring, with rage in his eyes what are you going to do? You are going to act, and act quickly. In fact, you are going to use something called the amygdala the oldest parts of your brain and you will not even be able to think. Your feet will just start moving. Just like your ancestors would have done a million years ago.

Well not quite as extreme and to a lesser level that is how you will react when there is a major cybersecurity breach on your company.Should it be fear or desire? Logic will be out the window, emotion will take over. Don’t believe me? I have seen managers buy equipment to stop a cyberattack they were currently under with no questions asked. Not even knowing if the equipment will help them. I have seen companies pay three four or 10 times the normal fair market rate for cybersecurity services to make the pain go away. That is fear.  And sadly it is a warranted fear. It is the choice left to an executive after all other choices are passed.

What’s Your Choice

Fear or desire? That is your two choices. Both emotional but one will get you to a position of safety and security a lot easier and less costly and even more effectively. I talk extensively in my upcoming book about the difference in cost between making these decisions before the breach occurs rather than after in the panic of your company dealing with its dirty laundry as it plays out on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. How you can make the decisions based on desire instead of fear.

You can make these decisions based on desire in a measured time appropriate manner. With the proper trusted advisors and management team at your side. You can decide based on your desire for a stronger more effective security posture, or your desire to save your board of directors the huge cost of a major breach. Or maybe your own personal desire to be a leader in your field to be held up as an example of a company that is ready for what may come. So that you can be looked up to by your peers desire rather than fear that is the choice.

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