Why I hate the term cybersecurity

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Why I hate the term cybersecurity

Cybersecurity and Cyber

I’m going to start by saying the terms ‘cyber’ and ‘cybersecurity’ grate on me, a lot.   Seriously, it was the mid-90’s when ‘Cyberbob’ conned the rather lovely Sandra Bullock in The Net.  It was cringe worthy then – and its cringe worthy now.

Hackers may have been a bit of a cooler film of the same year and possibly in some respects a bit more realistic in respect of the dark arts of the hacker, but they have this cyber stamp over them that won’t go away.

We’re well over 22 years away from those films now, however the term cyber has stuck in the global consciousness and that of politicians to describe something that is happening now, today.  In 1995 nobody had Wi-Fi, people still used payphones and every time you accessed the internet you had to wait whilst your modem screamed into action.

The image of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity to me, conjures this image of a mid-90’s view of the world, with the dotcom bubble and a complete lack of understanding of what modern technology is capable of.

Therein lies my second point.  You probably think of cyber as some sort of intangible concept sat there on the ‘net – or cloud in today’s parlance.  I work in the industry and I’m still unsure what a ‘cyber’ is.  I remember in my youth there were the cyberkids in the nightclubs.  No idea what the concept is – Googling “define cyber” is no use either.

So, what’s my problem?  Everyone can use whatever term they like, can’t they?  Well yes, but I find what the government is doing is absolutely destroying what those of us who work in Information Technology, Information Systems and Information Security.  I’ve repeated Information to make the point that the system, the technology and how you secure it are less relevant to the actual Information.

Information, Information, Information!

I say this time and again, Information is like the forgotten part of the Information Age.  Indeed my search on Google for cyber talks about the cyber-age.  I know what Information is and why it’s important, just like Iron and Industrial, but what’s a cyber age!

The danger with a term such as cyber and technology to some extent is that we forget the important part of what we’re trying to deal with – information.  People will switch off and rely on InfoSec and IT pros to deal with it, absolving themselves of all responsibility and making it all the duties of the “cyberprofessionals”.

Ultimately, the information that any business, charity of government organisation deals with is about people, about commerce and about things that may be exploited if in the wrong hands.  It’s not just the duties of the cybersecurity professionals to deal with this, it’s in everyone’s hands.

Human vs Information Systems

Ultimately many studies show that the weakest area of Information Security is the people that are in your organisation.  Hence my opinion that the term Information Security, as boring as it is should be used in preference to cybersecurity.

Companies like mine can help you deal with the Information Security (InfoSec) risks and even the technology used to mitigate those, but ultimately the first job of any initiative in your organisation should be raise awareness in your own people without making them switch off.

There’s one thing that’s sure to switch people off is linking people’s thoughts back to some terrible mid-nineties hacking movies!

Unfortunately for the time being, Unleashed and companies like us will be helping you with Cyber Essentials and other Cyber Security projects.  But this industry pro is dreaming of a day of a day when we can call it something more contemporary…. </rant>

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By | 2017-03-01T18:30:48+00:00 March 1st, 2017|Security|0 Comments

About the Author:

Chris Rogan is the Managing Director of Unleashed. Chris is our lead IT Consultant and Systems Architect, he is a trusted advisor to many high growth businesses. Chris holds an MBA, MSc in Technology and Innovation Policy and a BSc in Computer Science. He produced some of the UK’s first research into Shared Services of large business and has an keen interest in bringing big business technology into the reach of mid-market companies. He has worked in various technical and business management roles, as a company director and non-executive director. He has a dislike for bureaucracy and inefficient processes (and people!). Much of the technology he implements is designed to improve processes, responsiveness to customers and management information. The views and comments in this blog however are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Unleashed IT, its parent, suppliers, customers or affiliates.