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Agility vs security: Our thoughts from InfoSecurity Europe

The big topic from InfoSecurity Europe this year seemed to be around agility and security, asking if it is possible to have both and, if not, which should take preference?

Our Brand Experience Evangelist, Ally Mansell-Cook, was at the show exploring the latest tech experiences and looking at the trade-off between cyber security and innovation. Brands need to bring creativity and innovation together as part of a brand’s DNA to create sources for growth.

Ally spoke to Simon Whitburn, Global SVP Cybersecurity Services at Nominet, about this subject. He said that: “With increasing economic pressures and exponential growth in technological innovations, companies are increasingly relying on digital technologies to fulfill their innovation and value creation agendas.”

At the same time, based on the increasing levels of cybersecurity breaches, it is clear that the trustworthiness of many established and new technologies is not yet well addressed, or even appreciated, as a fundamental core value in the new digital economy – and this has a direct impact on a brand’s ability to innovate.

Agility in a secure environment, and brand innovation as a whole, seem to be a lot easier to achieve by either SMBs and countries which are not limited by complex legacy systems and processes. Sam Olyaei, who is part of Gartner’s Risk & Security Management Group, stated that: “By 2025, emerging digital nations that adopt AI will exploit cybersecurity initiatives in emerging digital nations, up from less than 1% today”. These countries are producing start-up brands who are not only producing top-off-the-shelf cybersecurity technology but which have innovation as the core of their brand DNA.

Businesses have realized it is no longer just about labour and capital but instead new ideas to create value. This is where brand experience partnerships come into play, to lead on new ways of communicating and becoming truly agile.

Value-driven innovation is born out of the combination of ground-breaking ideas as well as new technologies, you can find different expressions for your brand. There needs to be a match-up between brand, technology and human ambition if ‘real innovation’ is to occur.

Speaking with a former Head of Cybersecurity at an Aerospace firm (who has now joined a software provider’s Defense IT Solutions team), it became clear this question on agility vs security seems to be best answered when we take the context into consideration. He gave a couple of examples to help:

“The military, for instance, are very agile but they work in a highly secure way. We can put that down to the context of its business and also, its maturity is a major factor. Smaller and newer firms who don’t necessarily have a security-aware culture, are placed in a position where they have to retrofit it into people process. Technology in this case, will see security as inhibiting agility.”

“Agility can be achieved within confined environments but when it comes down to it, agility is obstructed by security. This doesn’t mean a company can’t still be agile”.

Based on the increasing levels of cybersecurity breaches, it is clear that the trustworthiness of many established and new technologies is not yet well addressed or appreciated as a fundamental core value in the new digital economy. Companies need to start to evaluate their own positioning on the innovation / cybersecurity matrix, understand the underlying factors that affect that position, and how to better manage these trade-offs. These companies need to communicate their brand and USPs in a more effective way to achieve these goals and create genuine relationships with their customers – something that is best achieved via brand activation projects.