ICIT Fellow Perspective Essay: Avoid Sisyphus – Progressing Beyond the Motion(s) of Cybersecurity
In continued support of our mission to cultivate a cybersecurity renaissance that will improve the resiliency of our nation’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors, defend our democratic institutions, and empower generations of cybersecurity leaders, ICIT asked some of the brightest minds in national security, cybersecurity, and technology to author essays communicating their perspective. Our goal is to share their knowledge and insights with our community to shed light on solutions to the technology, policy, and human challenges facing the cybersecurity community. Our hope is that their words will motivate, educate, and inspire you to take on the challenges facing your organizations.
ICIT Fellow Perspective Essay Authored by Malcolm Harkins
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was burdened by an exhausting, perpetual, uphill struggle in which he could never achieve sustainable progress or momentum. He was locked in a doomed routine that drained his attention, effort, and resources. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are described as Sisyphean. In many organizations, cybersecurity leaders are self-punishing by relegating their efforts to trite solutions and tired methodologies that are too inefficient, ineffective, and inexpedient to deter modern adversarial campaigns, let alone adapt to or preempt sophisticated attack paradigms. In short, by not adopting a progressive strategy that aligns with the organization’s strategic mission, capabilities, and priorities, cybersecurity leaders are preordaining a Sisyphean task. Their resources are squandered, and the ultimate culmination of their effort is to be crushed by the burden of the task and reset at square one.
In this ICIT Fellows’ Perspective Essay, Malcolm Harkins leverages fundamental Newtonian principles to redefine corporate cybersecurity through an interdisciplinary lens.