Jeffrey J. Engle President of Conquest Cyber, U.S. Army Special Operations Veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
War is no longer just on the battlefield. Anytime, anywhere happens in a device worn on his wrist back in his pocket.
Cybersecurity was unknown 50 years ago, many years before personal computers became commonplace. With technology now everywhere, cybersecurity is essential to our daily lives and the functioning of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
But when it comes to maintaining the integrity of critical infrastructure such as energy grids, telecommunications platforms, healthcare facilities, and financial institutions, our nation is on the brink of catastrophic failure. As much of the world is connected to the Internet, including the entities that operate various parts of our infrastructure, our vulnerability to cyberattacks has increased significantly. Meanwhile, government responses to cyberattacks to date have been painfully slow and too modest to adequately address the threat that grows by the day.
Prior to working in the cybersecurity field, he spent nine years as a leader in the U.S. military’s elite Special Operations community, where he was called upon to perform some of the most sensitive and dangerous jobs in our country. Achieving mission objectives often required an unconventional approach, forcing us to forget much of what we were taught in our previous military training.
In the military, soldiers learn how to do things the traditional, proven way. They follow orders without always understanding the reasoning behind them. However, special operations encourage you to reject old thinking and follow your instincts as needed to accomplish your mission. It may sound like I’m in favor of a nonchalant attitude, but I’m not. In special ops, you’re surrounded by like-minded, highly skilled people laser-focused on the task at hand. We learn to rely on each other in some of the most stressful situations imaginable.
With devastating cyberattacks disrupting health systems and city power grids, we need to understand that we need to think outside the box and think creatively to tackle big challenges. In my own cybersecurity work, I adapted this particular operational mindset to his five set of values. I believe this applies to any organization, large or small.
have drive To prevent information from falling into the wrong hands. From transportation to financial services, our infrastructure relies on technology. All businesses, large and small, are targets of ambitious and well-funded hackers working around the clock to break into their systems. Our enemies are tireless, so we must be tireless.
do not settle for less excellenceEach aspect of our country’s infrastructure depends in some way on technology, and even the slightest omission can cripple the system. This requires around-the-clock vigilance so that organizations can constantly identify threats and respond when potential problems arise.
Predict royalty from your team. Everyone needs to understand the importance of the work they do and actively drive towards a common goal that impacts an important and integral part of the business.
the partnership is Teamwork. Effectiveness comes from mutual respect for each team member’s talents and contributions, and the confidence that they will work to the best of their ability. Team members should also hold each other accountable if they fail to meet their goals.
and always prove Adaptability. In this ever-evolving field, there is no room for complacency. When it comes to cybersecurity, meeting government compliance standards is the bare minimum. After all, your team must be that much better when the enemy is trying to maximize your security protections.
Achieving this high level of effectiveness is a challenge even for small businesses that don’t have the resources to hire a dedicated team, or large corporations that struggle to find the talented people they need to secure their systems. Of course it is difficult.
But make no mistake. There may not be missiles in the sky or bombs exploding, but this battle is happening in our homes and workplaces. There are hackers all over the world who try to break into systems, steal data and disable infrastructure.
It’s never too late to give your company the protection it needs. Start thinking about the resources you need to meet your cybersecurity goals and keep your organization’s most important information safe today.
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