31 December 2017

Prosperous Journey: This I Believe...

On the dusk of the last day of 2017, many people will reflect on what they have accomplished over the past year.  Others may focus on what they will change, in their daily routines for the New Year.  How many people do you know, that will pledge to do something as a resolution and never have a chance to succeed?

With 52 weeks in a year, what could you do every week at least once, for a few hours?  Or what could you do on a daily basis that changes your life forever?  There is a different opportunity for each person to choose.  Regardless of your place in life, your country, economic situation or remaining days on Earth, you can make a choice.

The choice you make is a decision.  A decision based upon experience, current conditions, future expectations or available data.  When you arrive at that point, to make a decision to rise early and take a run or a ride, or to write a blog post, or to hug your trusted loved one at least once each day, you are well on your way.
"This I Believe" are 3 powerful words when you embark on this journey ahead.  Who you are and what you believe as an individual, will have a substantial impact and influence on your future decisions.
This I Believe exists for those who have made a decision of transparency.  A way for us as individuals, to describe our essence as a human being and who we are:

"This I Believe, Inc., was founded in 2004 as an independent, not-for-profit organization that engages youth and adults from all walks of life in writing, sharing, and discussing brief essays about the core values that guide their daily lives.

This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.

In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”

Maybe this is the year, you will write your own "This I Believe" essay.  The outcomes may surprise you.  The focus for this next year may now become 20/20 in the clarity of your vision.  Yet there is an opportunity to go further.  Make a decision to share this essay with others you care about.  Ask others to share their own "This I Believe" with you.  Why?

Transparency is vital to building trust with others.  At the root of making a Decision to Trust is transparency of data, information, emotions, behavior and clarity of purpose.  Why you make a decision to write and share your "This I Believe" with others, is a TrustDecision.

Embark on your journey ahead.  Start with a clear and substantial purpose, where you have been and where you are going in life.  Open your heart to others and share your beliefs.  Forgiveness is a decision.  It is the decision to offer grace, not to demand justice.

You now have 52 weeks ahead this year, to create and to produce, according to your core beliefs.


24 December 2017

Onward: Christmas 2017 and Beyond...

As you gather this weekend with family, friends and loved ones to celebrate, what will your prayers be?  Will you shed a tear at some point, as the emotions of the holiday overwhelm your senses?  How will you focus on the real meaning of Christmas?
"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." - Matthew 1:21
Remember and reflect all that you have done.  All that you have accomplished this past year of 2017, following the faith and in the name of our savior.  Onward...

17 December 2017

2018: The Speed of Operational Risk...

As we begin to look into the rear view mirror these last few weeks of 2017 and scan the horizon of 2018, Operational Risks are ever more so present.

Whether you are a leader of a global organization or the sole bread winner of your single parent household, the management of risk is a daily priority.  Even getting enough sleep is a risk to health and well being.

So what are you going to do about 2018 and managing risk in your life? Your company. Your nation. Operational Risk Management is a discipline that can be mastered and those who will excel in the next few years understand what is at stake. Unfortunately, many people and organizations will not have the wisdom, experience or resources to survive the onslaught of new threats and to mitigate existing vulnerabilities.
"Achieving a substantial level of competence and resilience in Operational Risk Management takes decades of experience in seeing the mistakes. Witnessing the tragedy. Feeling the successful outcomes of a solid process for sense making. Using information in ways that we never dreamed about. Turning speed into your greatest ally."
Your ability to thrive in 2018 and beyond will rest with your leadership and the ability to adapt. Yet even beyond this fundamental reality is the continuous discipline to effectively accept more risks. The organizations and those individuals who rise to the 2% or even 1%, took more risks than you did. The question is, why?

Accepting a risk means that you have to think through the real potential outcomes. Both positive and negative. And you have to make the decision to accept each risk action at light speed. Otherwise, it is too late.

This is not a game of spending too much time trying to figure out odds and percentages.  It is a professional decision to act, while not knowing the exact future outcome. What you do know, is the clear result of a positive outcome and even more importantly, you know the result of a negative outcome.

Can you live with either outcome? If the answer is yes, then you should consider yourself a true Operational Risk Professional. Now make the decisions faster, before someone else makes it before you do...

The cyber offensive against ISIS, an acronym for the Islamic State, was a first and included the creation of a unit named Joint Task Force Ares. It focused on destroying or disrupting computer networks used by the militant group to recruit fighters and communicate inside the organization. Such offensive weapons are more commonly associated with U.S. intelligence agencies, but they were brought into the open in 2016... Washington Post by Dan Lamothe

We wish you an abundance of new and rapid Operational Risk decisions in 2018!

10 December 2017

Future Risk: Resilience and Competitiveness...

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is in the middle of substantial Operational Risk Management discussions behind closed doors, in light of new threats and new priorities. The majority of the Intelligence Community budgets are under the DoD umbrella and in a new world order, subjected to the mobile ICT revolution that is erupting before us. Does Twitter and other social media tools present the need for a new paradigm shift in the future evolution of the Intelligence Community (IC)? Consider this flashback analysis:
"This paper analyzes the role of situational information as an antecedent of terrorists’ opportunistic decision making in the volatile and extreme environment of the Mumbai terrorist attack. We especially focus on how Mumbai terrorists monitored and utilized situational information to mount attacks against civilians. Situational information which was broadcast through live media and Twitter contributed to the terrorists’ decision making process and, as a result, increased the effectiveness of hand-held weapons to accomplish their terrorist goal. By utilizing a framework drawn from Situation Awareness (SA) theory, this paper aims to (1) analyze the content of Twitter postings of the Mumbai terror incident, (2) expose the vulnerabilities of Twitter as a participatory emergency reporting system in the terrorism context, and (3), based on the content analysis of Twitter postings, we suggest a conceptual framework for analyzing information control in the context of terrorism."
The Mumbai attackers could have used open source social media even more to their advantage and this is what the Intelligence Community (IC) continues to leverage as the Arab Spring(s) continue, civil war escalates in Syria and other ICT-enabled regions of conflict emerge. The tools are becoming more optimized to the kinds of applications necessary to deal with these new Operational Risks. What may continue to be the greatest vulnerability, is the economics. The ability to invest in and provide training for the new generation of cyber warriors and HUMINT collectors. Are the Trusted Systems and Networks in place integrated with the latest Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software riding on encrypted networks?

The convergence of mobile, cloud and big data is the single IT transformation issue in governments and the private sector. The IC and DoD realize that the only way to survive and to be more resilient, is to close or converge data centers with legacy hardware and software. Simultaneously accelerating the onboarding to private sector assets, that have also been certified and accredited. The next vulnerability being discussed, is how to acquire enough of the existing energy grid to support the requirements for cooling the vast data centers under construction and getting access to dark fibre. Bluffdale has been just one example:

"Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate."

This is the kind of capability that will remain exempt from the threat of limited funding or future austerity in the new world order of mobile, cloud and big data. The introduction of tools or services such as Silent Circle, Wickr, Signal and others will only add to the Operational Risk challenges of the next decade. Privacy will become a sought after luxury, only available to those with the means or the latest set of consumer-based communications tools. Either way, the senior executives of private sector critical infrastructure companies are under the spot light. They own the majority of the ICT assets and therefore have the most to win. Unfortunately, they also have the most to lose.

The future of the DoD and the IC will be determined by the success or failure of the cooperation, coordination and collaboration of men and women with a unity of purpose. Patriots who will continue to do the right things for the right reasons. The future is now about resilience and competitiveness. Lets get to work!

02 December 2017

Situational Awareness: Battlefield to Board Room...

Creating a "Common Operational Picture" for your organization is an elusive yet attainable goal for your senior management and the Board of Directors. How at a moments notice does the organization provide leadership with the answers to Operational Risk questions such as:
  1. How many employees from our company are currently traveling outside your home country?
  2. What are their modes of transportation and where do they plan to stay each night?
  3. What employees from our "Red Zone" list have left the company in this past week?
  4. How many of these employees left suddenly without any warning?
  5. What employees were asked to resign or were fired from their position?
  6. What controls have failed in the process for closing deals within our standard time period?
  7. How much has our sales pipeline increased or decreased over the past quarter?
  8. What is the total number of network access points (Points of Presence) our company currently believes are available for employees to connect to the Internet?
  9. How many known incidents occurred over the past week related to malicious software attacks or Denial of Service attempts on our network?
  10. How many employees started work with the company who have been added to the "Red Zone?"
  11. What are the names of the local liaison officials for our water, power, telecom and data carrier suppliers? Who is their deputy?
  12. How often has the company exercised a plan for major business crisis or disruption in the past year?
  13. What is the current forecast for severe weather in the corporate headquarters region in the next week?
These questions and more should be able to be answered at a moments notice. Any senior manager or member of the Board of Directors should have an information dashboard they can view with these situational awareness questions at their finger tips.
If you don't have the latest Operational Risk Quotient in your enterprise it may be a clear indicator that the people, process, systems or external events are a severe threat.The corporate landscape or battlefield if you will requires that the commanders in the field have the intelligence they require to make split second decisions.
These Directors, Managers, Supervisors that drive the business forward each day need leadership to give them split second answers, especially in the midst of a crisis. There is not time for a Q & A session or for an extended report to give leadership the view they need to steer the enterprise out of harms way.

Operational Risk Managers rely on a combination of real-time feeds from internal sources and outside the organization to provide this level of situational awareness. CCTV feeds, access controls, intrusion detection, and many more are part of the Corporate Intelligence Unit's own Fusion Center.

Why is this a prudent business practice to assist you in "Achieving a Defensible Standard of Care" for your employees? Because without it you are flying blind and trying to operate without the awareness and predictive ability to mitigate risks as they unfold before you.

Whether it is on the battlefield or your own organization does not matter. Your people need to understand their role in providing this vital aspect of the risk management solution. Without hourly by the minute or second intelligence about your people, processes, systems and external events you are destined for a future either known or unknown. You make the choice.