Information Superiority can boost cybersecurity and prevent data breaches

Published: February 14, 2013 by ofonseca

In today’s data driven world, information is king so if you are not armed with the same information as your competitor or worse, experience a data breach, an information imbalance can occur that puts you at a disadvantage.

In the public sector, an information imbalance is also known as an “asymmetric threat” and can dramatically threaten a country’s national security.  The most famous recent example of an asymmetric threat experienced by the United Statesis 9/11.  The 9/11 Commission Report found that the U.S. government had enough intelligence to reveal Al-Qaeda’s plot but due to a deficient process that prevented information to be connected and shared properly between its intelligence and national security departments, the U.S. was unable to stop Al-Qaeda’s horrific acts of terrorism.  These findings prompted the U.S. government to change how it collects, processes and analyzes information resulting in technical and behavioral modifications especially regarding cybersecurity issues.  In addition, in order to address the problems of information imbalances, theU.S. military devised a policy called “Information Superiority,” defined by The Department of Defense (DoD) as “the ability to develop and use information while denying an adversary the same capability.”  Basically, having access to more information than your enemy and possessing the ability to use that information to your advantage.

The goal of achieving Information Superiority is to gather intelligence that can then be used to execute in ways that will put you in an advantageous position.

The public sector’s adoption of Information Superiority can be duplicated in the private sector especially as businesses recognize the competitive edge of gathering information on their competition. By using the concept of Information Superiority, companies can adopt methods of gathering information and sharing it with the right people at the right time to create a competitive advantage.  Employing Information Superiority policies similar to the ones used in the public sector can also help businesses achieve important goals such as increasing profits and reducing costs because when executives have  access to consumer data and other forms of intellectual property, they can make better informed fiscal decisions.  Information Superiority can also help businesses optimize risk and reduce the impact of cyber-threats.  By identifying where their most sensitive data resides, companies can design data protection and security systems to ward off cybersecurity threats.

These are just some examples to illustrate how Information Superiority can benefit the private sector. The bottom line is companies that proactively collect and use information to ward off threats, will ultimately outperform their competitors.