Information Offense – How Google Plays
Google recently offered $20,000 to the first person who could hack their web browser, Chrome. Without question, a hacker will crack it and prove that their browser isn’t as mighty as they might think.
So why waste the money?
In that question, ‘why waste the money?’ lies one of the root causes of all data theft inside of organizations. Google’s $20,000 investment is far from a waste of money. Consider:
- The average breach inside of an organization costs $6.75 million in recover costs (Ponemon Study). $20,000 up front to define weak points is a minuscule investment.
- Chrome is at the center of Google’s strategic initiatives in search, cloud computing, Google Docs, Gmail, displacing Microsoft IE and mobile OS platforms – in other words, it is a very valuable asset, so Google is putting their money where their money is (protecting their profits).
- By offering up $20,000 to have it hacked IN ADVANCE of successful malicious attacks (which are certain to come), Google is spending very little to have the entire hacker community beta test the security of their product.
I would bet that there will be tens or hundreds of successful hacks into their browser, all of which will be fixed by the next time they commission a hack.
Anticipating the inevitable attacks and investing in advance to minimize the chances and resulting costs of a breach is a perfect example of Information Offense. Instead of waiting for your data to be compromised (defense), you take far less costly steps up front to deflate the risk. Only the most enlightened leaders I work with inside of corporations understand the value of spending a little bit on security now to reap huge benefits (in the form of avoided losses) down the road.
Too many leaders are so focused on the revenue side of the model (most of them are from a sales background) that they lack the depth of seeing the entire picture – the long-term health and profitability of the company. You know the saying… an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Just think of the ounce being loose change and the pound being solid gold.
Marshall Goldsmith, the executive coach, nails the behavior behind this phenomenon in his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,
“Avoiding mistakes is one of those unseen, unheralded achievements that are not allowed to take up our time and thought. And yet… many times, avoiding a bad deal can affect the bottom line more significantly than scoring a big sale… That’s the funny thing about stopping some behavior. It gets no attention, but it can be as crucial as everything else we do combined.”
Listen to Google and Mr. Goldsmith, and avoid the mistakes before you make them by asking yourself this simple question: How can I refocus my efforts and resources on playing offense rather than defense?
John Sileo’s motivational keynote speeches train organizations to play aggressive information offense before the attack, whether that is identity theft, data breach, cyber crime, social networking exposure or human fraud. Learn more at www.ThinkLikeASpy.com or call him directly on 800.258.8076.