/Cybersecurity lessons from Star Trek (via Qpute.com)
Cybersecurity lessons from Star Trek

Cybersecurity lessons from Star Trek (via Qpute.com)


Credit: Divina Paredes

I learned from Star Trek it is not the size of the enterprise that defines success. It is the leaders, the crew, who do

Brig Gen (ret) Greg Touhill, ISACA and Cyxtera Federal Group

“Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.”

Spock expressed doubts over the M-5 Multitronic system, a revolutionary tactical and control computer on board the Starship Enterprise.

He was right, as the M-5 eventually attacked four sister ships of the Enterprise, and had to be shut down.

That episode of Star Trek aired 51 years ago, but its message around careful considerations on deploying disruptive technologies resonates still.

So much so that Brig Gen Admiral (ret) Touhilll, appointed by President Obama as the US government’s first chief information and security officer, calls NBC’s cancellation of Star Trek 50 years ago “a terrible tragedy”.

Touhill, now president of Cyxtera Federal Group, says however that the sci-fi series, movies, and subsequent spinoffs, continue to deliver great lessons on cybersecurity for networked enterprises today.

Plus, as he points out at the ISACA Oceania CACS conference in Auckland last week, he has been getting cyber lessons throughout his career “from looking at the box – of television.”

“I take a lot of different TV shows with risk discussions, but I don’t think you will be able to do better than Star Trek.”

Credit: ID 153455706 © Anna Gawlik | Dreamstime.com

Your risk exposure is more than your server room and desktops. It is time for us to start thinking like the Star Trek folks and look beyond the horizon

Brig Gen (ret) Greg Touhill, ISACA and Cyxtera Federal Group

Touhill’s career allowed him to have an unmatched view of cybersecurity across government and private sectors.

He joined Cyxtera Technologies after his CISO stint with the Obama administration.

Prior to this, he was a military officer, a diplomat, and also held civilian government roles. Such include Deputy Assistant Secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications at the United States Department of Homeland Security; and Director of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, where he led national programmes to protect the United States and its critical infrastructure.

He is also a board member of ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance.

At the ISACA conference and in an interview with CIO New Zealand, Touhilll stresses that his views on ‘cybersecurity lessons from Star Trek’ (the title of his presentation) are his alone.

“I was not consulted or contributed during the creation, production, editing, or advertisement of any of the Star Trek television series or movies…but I wish I had,” he says, smiling.

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