27 February 2016

RSA 2016: Ascending into a Trust Mindset...

Building awareness to a vulnerability, potentially heightens ones sensitivity to defend or build resilience to minimize damage or loss.  This is one of the foundations of Operational Risk Management (ORM), understanding what your assets are and what vulnerabilities exist.  Good old fashioned Risk Management 101, tells us to mitigate risks in the enterprise and even in our personal lives.

Is traditional Risk Management dead?  We think it is and through the eyes and inspiration of others we can now see why.  Our ability to make "Trust Decisions" is far more complex than just an emotion.  As we have evolved away from small villages where the food and water and other life essential resources were shared, trust factors have become more distant.  More shallow and less personal.  Our digital lives spanning continents and countries at light speed, now has given us a new perspective.  We must find our Trust Mindset.

As the RSA Conference opens on February 29, 2016 in San Francisco, thousands of eager professionals will converge on an event that has it's foundation and it's future built on "Achieving Digital Trust".  As we walk the Moscone Exhibition Halls observing, learning, engaged in dialogue or debate we must remind ourselves of the wisdom that comes from Jeffrey Ritter:

I have always viewed the emergence of the Internet and global computing as powerful tools to increase the velocity of the next solutions that enabled greater inter-dependence, greater accessibility to commerce, and more small steps toward peace. Through my work, however, I learned those tools were vulnerable unless, as a global society, we determine how to also build across the digital dimensions of cyberspace the capacity for humans to achieve what each transaction first requires—an affirmative decision to trust.

Jeffrey's latest book has been an inspiration for so many that have researched and lived in the Venn Diagram of the Law, Digital Technology and eCommerce.  Yet what about those people who have studied and modeled the human skills and behaviors to build trust with others that have yet to read Jeffrey's' book?  What is the fusion between the factors associated with building trust human-to-human and in a world of machines-to-machines?

"Trust Decisions" are being made by humans and computers each second of each day.  And one thing is certain about the decisions to trust by people and by the machine in your pocket, brief case or purse.  It is continuously learning and sharing.

The halls of the RSA Conference will be buzzing about trust.  In all of it's manifestations, the ecosystem of the event is about "Trust Decisions" and in many cases, man and machine.  The iPhone vs. the FBI.  Security vs. Privacy.  Cloud vs. Hybrid Cloud.  Secret Clearance or Top Secret Clearance.  Pre-hire background check.  FICO.  LinkedIn profile.  You name it and the fundamental question set, comes back to a "decision to trust."

Living an ethical life of integrity and willingness to share begins at an early age.  Sharing information responsibly with your peers, director or commander, requires a process for building trust over time and with each transaction of information exchange, either building or eroding the future decision to trust.

Here is one recent example.  Sitting in a room with a dozen strangers the other day was a mini-case study.  The purpose of this particular meeting was for this group of people to establish a forum for future trusted information exchange.  We were all part of the same ISAO if you will, not the same company.

The agenda called out for each person to introduce themselves, all for the first time.  The specific rules for the introductions were not spelled out by the host and then agreed by all of the meeting participants.  What happens next is a classic example of trust erosion, when the rules are absent.  As we proceeded around the room, each person took it upon themselves to determine how much or little information they would share with the rest of the group.

Some people introduced themselves with their name, company affiliation and a "one liner" on the business they were in.  Others in addition, took the opportunity to tell us all about their entire product/service line and why the solution was something that we should be interested in.  The first impressions were already building or eroding our perceptions of trust.  Our own reality.

It should be our ambition to continuously heighten our sensitivity to behavior in an environment absent of rules and how this builds or erodes our future trust decisions.  When you share, do you always have an expectation of reciprocity?  When you boast about yourself or your organization, is it for your own ego or self-satisfaction?  Do you ever even ask the question, "How are you" or "How can I help" you?  What are the rules?

Extraordinary trust is rare these days.  True Leadership is scarce.  Courage is almost extinct.  Think about how you can stand out and at the same moment, project a feeling of care, of concern and generosity.  Giving without any expectation of return, is what is going to help you build trust in your life.  And when you achieve that with your wife, husband, children, church, business partners, employees, clients and suppliers, then you know you are well on your way to substantial well being.

If you are alone and without many true and deep relationships in your life without cyberspace, there is a good reason why.  Achieving and building trust inside your organization (company or family) has been written about for years.  Happy employees make happy customers.  You have heard this before no doubt.   Building awareness to a vulnerability, potentially heightens ones sensitivity to defend or build resilience to minimize damage or loss.  This is where we started this blog post.

As we descend on the RSA Conference with the focus on "Trust Decisions", it will be with an ascent towards a continuous mindset of sharing, of caring and of learning.

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