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Cyber Security lessons from the Allies success in WW2

Series Introduction

I have always felt that we have as much to gain from looking at how other industries operate as we do from looking within the bubble of our own. When we look within the bubble it's easy to just follow the same path as everyone else. Even if this means doing it better than the competition it doesn't necessarily mean doing it differently which can be 10x better.

There are many examples of this. One example is the founders of Air B'nB who did not have a hospitality background. So they looked at the industry through a new lens from those already operating in the hospitality bubble.

"In the spirit of our recent ANZAC Day commemoration and the importance of learning from the past to create a better future..."

With this in mind I'm writing a series of Lessons from a variety of pursuits, activities or industries for the world of Cyber Security. Of course inevitably there will be many similarities in lesson topics across these however the value is not just in the difference. It is also in how they approach addressing these topics and the challenges they each address.

In the last Episode I covered the world of Competitive Gaming. This episode we look at things lessons from a very different perspective. In the spirit of April's ANZAC Day commemoration and the importance of learning from the past to create a better future let's look at Cyber Security lessons from the military, specifically lessons from the allies success in world war 2.

Six Cyber Security lessons from the allies success in world war 2.

The worlds of the military and technology are less distant that they would have once been and there and some valuable lessons to be learned from the Allies success in world war 2 for those in Cyber Security.

1. Collaboration

During World War II, the Allies recognised that collaboration between different countries and branches of the military was critical to their success. For example, the United States, Great Britain, and other allies worked closely together to develop and implement military strategies.

Similarly, businesses can benefit from collaboration between different departments and stakeholders to create a unified defence against cyber attacks. This should involve bringing together IT, security, legal and other relevant departments to share information and expertise, as well as working with external partners such as Cyber Security vendors, cyber security resourcing partners and industry associations.

2. Intelligence gathering

The Allies gained a significant advantage during the war by gathering intelligence on enemy plans and capabilities. This involved everything from intercepting enemy communications to sending spies behind enemy lines.

Businesses can benefit from gathering intelligence on potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities. This can involve using threat intelligence services to monitor for potential threats, conducting regular vulnerability assessments and analysing past incidents to identify patterns and trends.

3. Innovation

During World War II, the Allies were able to innovate and develop new technologies and tactics to gain an advantage in the war. For example, the development of radar and other advanced technologies helped the Allies gain an edge in battles.

Similarly, businesses can benefit from innovation in their approach to cyber security. This can involve using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to identify and respond to threats, adopting new security technologies such as blockchain and zero-trust architectures and implementing security controls that are designed to be flexible and adaptive.

4. Preparation

The Allies spent years preparing for the war (and individual battles) and building up their military capabilities. They recognised the importance of training, resource allocation and strategic planning. Similarly, businesses should take a proactive approach to cyber security, investing in training, resources, and technology to prepare for potential cyber attacks. This can involve conducting regular security audits, implementing security controls such as firewalls and antivirus software, building powerful, cohesive security teams and ensuring that all employees are trained on security best practices.

5. Flexibility

The Allies had to adapt to changing circumstances and adjust their tactics as the war progressed. They recognised that the enemy was constantly evolving and they needed to be flexible and agile in response.

Businesses should be prepared to be flexible and agile in responding to evolving cyber threats. This can involve regularly reviewing and updating security policies and procedures, implementing security controls that can be easily adjusted and conducting regular incident response drills to test and refine their response plans. Security roadmaps should be regularly reviewed and tactical implementation modified as required.

6. Resilience

Finally, the Allies were able to withstand significant losses and setbacks and continue fighting until they achieved victory. Similarly, businesses should be prepared to bounce back from cyber attacks and quickly resume normal operations. This requires having effective incident response plans in place and regularly testing and refining them. It also involves building resilience into IT systems by implementing robust backup and recovery systems, ensuring redundancy for critical systems and using other measures to ensure that the business can continue to operate in the face of a cyber attack.

By applying these lessons to the field of cybersecurity, security professionals can better protect their organisations against cyber threats. They can develop more effective security strategies, stay ahead of emerging threats, and improve their overall security posture.

Please provide feedback and if you haven't already please subscribe to this newsletter and share it with a friend. The next lesson for Cyber Security will be from the field of emerging technology, stay tuned!

Mark Williams - Founder -



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