CRSP Part 2: Privacy, Security and How They Relate to Cyber Risk

This is one in a series of related short essays for 2015 about the unrelenting cyber stresses every person and every organization now faces. The first essay, titled Cyber Risk, Security & Privacy (CRSP) – Waterloo Region’s Vibrant New Business Cluster, was posted on this blog in March of 2015.

“Ignorance is bliss.” Thomas Gray.[i]

According to an October 2014 news item from USA Today,

“About 110 million Americans – equivalent to about 50% of U.S. adults – have had their personal data exposed in some form in the past year, said Tim Pawlenty, president of the Financial Services Roundtable and the former governor of Minnesota.”[ii]

This is just one estimate of the toll inflicted on American citizens in one year due to seemingly relentless global cyber attacks. What might this mean for Canadians, our privacy, our security, and the security of the organizations we trust?

On the global stage we Canadians are highly regarded as polite and trusting. Why on Earth would someone want to hack us? Is it just possible that we are at risk like our American cousins? I think so.

According to Wikipedia, privacy “…is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively”[iii]. In other words, privacy is a personal notion. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is just one of the things hackers are looking for when they attack our organizations.

Again, according to Wikipedia, security “…is the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm. It applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, nation, or organization”.[iv] Security is much more than just a personal notion. Security extends beyond the individual to the companies and organizations we work for and rely on. We even think of security in national terms, “the security of our nation”. Security affords us the opportunity to build confidence and grow.

So what does it mean when we start losing not only personal privacy, but also our security on a personal, organizational and national scale?

This is what is at stake, and is what the vibrant CRSP business cluster in Waterloo Region is all about.

Next month we consider how some of the CRSP organizations in Waterloo Region are helping people and businesses throughout the world manage cyber risk more effectively.

[i]An Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College, Thomas Gray, 1747.

[ii]Officials warn 500 million records hacked, Erin Kelly, USA Today, October 20, 2014.

[iii]Privacy, from Wikipedia.

[iv]Security, from Wikipedia.

By Doug Blakey, President Watsec Cyber Risk Management, & Director, Canadian Centre for Cyber Risk Management.