In today’s world, there is little distinction between your real life and your cyber life. Tor-Ståle Hansen explains how attending to your personal digital ‘twin’ also helps strengthen your organisation’s privacy and security. 

Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart once said “There is more to life than just being a passenger”

This is a nice reminder I use each day and says a lot about Amelia’s will and courage but could also show that you need to take care of yourself (before you can be able to help your surroundings). 

Cyberspace is a concept describing a widespread, interconnected digital technology. The expression dates back from the first decade of the diffusion of the internet in the 1990s. It refers to the online world as a world ‘apart’, distinct from everyday reality. 

In our IRL (in real life) physical daily doings we have various instincts and survival modes and we have learned or acquired safety and survival techniques throughout our lives. 

However, there is an almost unavoidable blend between your cyber life and your IRL because today cyber is your IRL - it must not be accepted as “something else”. 

Technology can only sort out ‘so much’ when it comes to making our cyber life secure and even less with regards to tendering for your privacy interests and rights

The best cybersecurity resilience tool an organization has is its people. Regardless of the role, whether its the service function, back office, line management, engineers, the clerks, all the way in to the boardroom, we are the best defense and resilience our organization can have. 

The weakest link in your organisation’s resilience, or your own, is you. Technology can only sort out ‘so much’ when it comes to making our cyber life secure and even less with regards to tendering for your privacy interests and rights. 

Why? - well because all cybersecurity, information security, data protection and privacy breaches are blends of bad human decisions and misperception of risk from relying on technology blindfolded.

You might have questioned and been puzzled about the safety briefings on commercial airplanes before takeoff “put on your own oxygen mask before you attempted helping others”. 

Well, the safety philosophy is quite simple, and studies have proven that this (given the limited time we have during a distress situation) is the quickest way to have all occupants breathing the lifesaving gas.

The weakest link in your organisation’s resilience, or your own, is you

And with regard to the operational situation, we all find ourselves in on a daily basis with the enormous dependence we have on cyber, we are in a daily and continuous distress situation, where we all have to wear oxygen masks. Not literally, but there is no situation where we can just surf through everyday life as comfortable numb passengers in our own lives or at work.

Here is my advice to you on how you will improve your own safety, security and privacy:

  1. Put the same amount of care for yourself when you use technology as you care for yourself in your daily life elsewhere with regard to your own safety, security and privacy

  2. Take small but many incremental steps in order to familiarize yourself with the technologies you use directly

  3. Become curious and conscious about the various technologies that have a direct or indirect impact on your daily life

  4. Be critical with what you read or listen to, be so critical and maybe have the initial reflex that what you read or listen to is fake, spend some time to fact check and relate it to real-life events

  5. Accept that a huge part of you is in the cyberspace already. Do not let ‘I don’t care’ be your default attitude, because this could be devastating with regards to the safety, security and privacy for others.

  6. Be sceptical about technology. Listen to the agent learning “put no trust in man”, and keep in mind technology is “man-made” so most of the time technology is not perfect by design, and other times your adversaries have designed the technology. 

  7. Accept that most of us are “a nobody” in the cyber domain. But as long as you have a presence online you are a threat against your own safety, security and privacy. The moment you have accepted directly or indirectly that you have some presence in the cyber domain, you also must take care of your personal digital twin. If your digital ‘you’ suffers online, remember that it is you who gets hurt.

  8. Don’t let cyberspace be overwhelming. The moment you see that you are one vertex (a node) in a web, and that this node is actually [you] -your personal digital twin that is [you] and have that universal protective rights just as your physical you, you can change your digital twin faith.

  9. Raise your voice, do not accept negligent or deliberate processes. If it’s not your data and information today that is being processes, it will be tomorrow. 

  10. Make #securitystartswithme your motto 

Tor-Ståle Hansen, Chief Information Security Officer, Itera 

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