This blog was written by Allison Cerra, McAfee’s former CMO.
One could argue the last thing the world needs is another book on cybersecurity. A simple search of the term on Amazon yields nearly 1,700 results. A Google search of the same renders nearly 27 million hits. In fact, one could argue that cybersecurity is dangerously close to suffering the same overexposure plaguing so many once-interesting, now-irritating celebrities clinging to their proverbial fifteen minutes of fame.
So, why write another book on an already saturated topic? Quite simply, because one is needed. There are more than enough cybersecurity books that cover the technical aspects of the field. These are worthy of any cybersecurity professional’s bookshelf. But, there simply isn’t a cybersecurity book that clearly articulates why the layperson should care about a war that many are unaware is even occurring.
When we speak of the layperson, we’re not discussing the average consumer and his or her need for widely available and equally understood antivirus protection. We’re speaking of employees and executives who play a very important role, whether they realize it or not, in a cybersecurity battle that has much higher stakes. One where noble cybersecurity professionals stand on the right side of a fight too important to lose and are the unsung heroes of their organizations, seeking no glory, knowing the cause is bigger than themselves. These defenders toil in virtual anonymity, protecting all that is sacred to their organizations, while many of their colleagues play the role of unwitting participant, directly or indirectly doing the bidding of enemies seeking to undo their employers.
And, because motivated adversaries who aim to weaken an organization’s defenses know that these unwitting participants are most useful when they are also most ignorant, cybersecurity is simply too important to remain a dialogue within technical hallways. We must expand the conversation to include employees, whose ignorance is a bullet in the enemy’s gun. We must engage business leaders, including CXOs and board members, who directly or indirectly guide their organizations’ cybersecurity agenda, even if they do so not always understanding the ramifications of their decisions.
We realize it’s not these laypersons’ fault that they don’t understand our world. We’ve never invited them in. Enter “The Second Economy.” Think of it as a veritable Rosetta Stone that converts technical speak into business language. Does this mean that technologists shouldn’t give it a read? Absolutely not! If there is one enemy greater than the adversary seeking to destroy a cybersecurity professional’s organization, it’s the preconceived cybersecurity notion that has outlived its relevance all while it guides a defensive strategy built on faulty assumptions. For these technologists, you’ll gain a different perspective on your mission, even understanding how conventional cybersecurity “wisdom” is anything but.
Whether you are a technologist or a layperson, a cybersecurity professional or a business leader, open this book and open your mind to a fascinating topic that is simply too important to ignore. This is a war that can only be won when we all understand what is at stake and the role we play as defenders, attackers, victims or unwitting participants. The first step to action is understanding. “The Second Economy” seeks to initiate the dialogue between cybersecurity professionals and their non-technical peers that, despite the thousands of books and millions of search results on the topic, is conspicuous by its absence.
Learn more about the book, “The Second Economy: The Race for Trust, Treasure and Time.”