ICYMI: Risk Management and the Paradox of Common Sense

I really enjoy reading Duncan Watts work and I was blown away by how he assailed the concept of common sense that we all rely upon so readily:

What we don’t realize, however, is that common sense often works just like mythology. By providing ready explanations for whatever particular circumstances the world throws at us, common sense explanations give us the confidence to navigate from day to day and relieve us of the burden of worrying about whether what we think we know is really true, or is just something we happen to believe.

Questioning our perception of reality is pretty heavy and you can spend a lot of time working through that. But in my article I use this idea to break out of the crutch of using common sense to manage risk.

You can read the full article on the @ISACA Newsletter site here.

 

Security Awareness and the Bystander Effect

My latest @ISACA column was posted recently. This time I tackled a hard issue in the human factors space: awareness training. Specifically, I explored the notion that having a good security team may actually impede the effectiveness of a security awareness program. I did this through the application of some concepts from the bystander effect.

You can check it out here: Security Awareness and the Bystander Effect.

Cyber Risk Cassandras

I wrote this latest bit for the @ISACA column after reading Richard Clarke’s book and trying to rationalize how it applies to cyber risk. It’s overly easy to predict failures and impending doom at a macro level, its much harder to do it at the micro level, which is infinitely more interesting and useful.

You can read more here

Lowest Common Risk Denominator

I tackle the notion of risk appetite in this month’s column using some metaphors with which you might be familiar. You don’t get to pick your auto insurance coverage by expressing the number of accidents you are willing to accept, yet that’s how a lot of organizations think about cyber risk. Fortunately, the cyber insurance industry is going to force us all into thinking about risk in dollars, the same as everyone else, because that is the lowest common risk denominator.

You can read more here.

Smart Contracts

I was interviewed for, and quoted in, this ISACA publication around Smart Contracts.

Upon reflection, what we are really seeing is just a continuation of the concept of Code = Law as pointed out by Lawrence Lessig in his 1999 book, Code and Other Law of Cyberspace.

The Smart Contracts doc is a free download (after registration) and can be found here:

http://www.isaca.org/smartcontracts

 

Interesting Times

In my latest column I wanted to call out some of the dichotomy that exists in the cyber world today. There are so many exciting new technologies in the world, and so much more risk inherent in them. Working in risk means that you can’t avoid bad things entirely (any more than you can stop the future from becoming the present), but you also have to weigh the risk of NOT participating in the latest new technology. And that is what makes working in cybersecurity and risk so interesting!

You can read my thoughts on this here.