April 12, 2024

Celebrating the Visionaries … the Changemakers

Course-Correcting Cybersecurity Risk Management Towards a Safer Digital Future

By Saket Modi, CEO and Co-Founder, Safe Security

“A visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper and reimagines the world.”

These words by Malcolm Gladwell echo the essence of those who dare to challenge the status quo, carving new paths where none seemed feasible. Throughout history, such visionaries have been the architects of our evolution, reshaping paradigms and birthing revolutions in every facet of existence.

The human growth story is replete with tales of those who dared to dream beyond the horizon of possibility, from the audacious dreamers who first conceived the moon landing to the trailblazers of cloud computing and smartphones. Consider Artificial Intelligence, dismissed as impossible in the 1990s, it is now poised to redefine the very fabric of human existence. As we navigate the digital age, the visionaries of cybersecurity stand at the forefront of this new frontier.

The Visionaries of Cybersecurity

In Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm,” visionaries – innovators and early adopters – are those who “take a quantum leap forward in how business is conducted in their industry,” changing the future!

And, the one future I have a vested interest in is cybersecurity. This industry is at an inflection point: what was once relegated to the back offices of IT departments is now recognized as a critical business risk, demanding a paradigm shift in approach. As governance and regulatory pressures mount, enterprises are compelled to reimagine their strategies for managing cyber risk.

What does this imply? Cybersecurity vendors and service providers will need to cater a product that solves these challenges and empowers businesses to manage cyber risk more efficiently. While many are trying to crack the code, the visionaries will be the ones who take the industry forward.

How Visionaries Have Shaped the Course of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has long grappled with two opposing viewpoints: focusing solely on threats and vulnerabilities or prioritizing governance and compliance. However, there were deep fault lines in how cybersecurity risk was managed using either of these approaches. The threat-driven method was reactive, while the governance approach often resulted in mere box-ticking exercises.

Risk, which should have been at the forefront of cyber “risk” management, was overlooked, and instead, tactics and tasks took precedence. Once again, the visionaries identified this gap and pivoted to a risk-driven approach, and thus, emerged a third school of thought.

But this, too, had a long evolution ahead of it. While risk-driven cybersecurity represented progress, traditional risk categorization methods like "high-medium-low" or "red-amber-green" proved inadequate. Research has repeatedly reported the ineffectiveness of relying on subjective interpretation of risks. In fact, in the research paper “What's wrong with risk matrices?” the author Louis Anthony Cox concludes that using them is “worse than useless,” leading to worse-than-random decisions. The information provided by risk matrices propagates a false sense of security, or worse – it is misleading to the point of data breaches!

These glaring deficiencies underscored the urgent need for a more effective risk management approach.

Enter Cyber Risk Quantification and Management (CRQM)

While quantifying risk is not a novel concept in fields like healthcare and insurance, merging risk measurement with cybersecurity remained elusive until CRQM emerged. The definition of risk has remained unchanged. Extrapolated to cybersecurity, “risk” is the likelihood of a threat event combined with its potential impact. This simple concept, backed by foundational data-science algorithms, Monte Carlo simulations, and the Bayesian Networks, has altered how cyber risk should be measured, managed, and mitigated.

The FAIR Institute, founded in 2016, represents the change-maker that solidified the benefits of quantifying cyber risk in no arbitrary terms. It relied on data-science-driven first principles to standardize how cyber risk should be measured and managed. The visionaries who supported FAIR’s research groups have forever changed the course of cyber risk management. Today, FAIR is supported by a community of over 15,000 members representing the early adopters and innovators who expect to build a more robust, efficient, and effective cybersecurity risk management approach.

The visionaries, over 50% of Fortune 500, who adopted cyber risk quantification and management have already experienced the benefits of enhanced cyber risk visibility, effective cybersecurity communications and decision-making, ROI-driven prioritization of risks and controls, and an objective and scalable method to manage cybersecurity risks.

Toward the Road Less Taken

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Rober Frost

At Safe, we have had the privilege of standing shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of visionaries and change-makers whose insight and inspiration have propelled us forward on our journey. If you look at our customer list, which spans Fortune 100 companies across industries, you will see that these are the “visionaries” who have embraced the “new gods” of cyber risk management. They went from a red, amber, and green, subjective view to having an objective and real-time view of their cyber risks, communicated in a language that the business, regulators, and cyber insurance underwriters understand.

They represent the small yet growing cohort of changemakers who identified a challenge, sought a solution, and trusted an entirely new way of measuring and managing cybersecurity risk with SAFE. Their commitment to innovation has empowered us to pioneer the industry's only AI-powered Cyber Risk Quantification and Management solution that’s purpose-built on the FAIRTM model. Their feedback has been our compass, guiding us toward a future where cybersecurity is not merely a defensive measure but a strategic imperative. That is what has enabled us to continuously grow over 100% y/y every year since going live with our platform in mid-2020.

Following Geoffrey Moore’s bowling pin analogy, we have always focused on meeting the demands of the top industry leaders in each category. Why? Because some leaders bet on the future and become groundbreakers and pioneers, changing how their industry functions forever. It is a beautiful coalition that emerges when industry visionaries collide with a high-tech, high-energy, and hungry startup like us on its way to solving the most pressing challenges that make a dent in the fabric of human society.

In Gratitude of the Pioneers

It is worth reflecting on the words of Steve Jobs, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." Indeed, the skeptics of yesteryears are silenced as we stand on the brink of a revolution being shaped by the audacity of a few.

As we look to the future, we do so with gratitude to those who have illuminated our path, guiding us across the chasm and into the realm of what was once considered impossible. We carry forward their legacy as we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and shape the destiny of cybersecurity for generations to come, side by side with the visionary warriors of the cyber realm… our incredible customers.