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Cybersecurity as a Leadership Challenge Essay


Introduction

Electronic wars are increasingly becoming a common phenomenon in modern society. Developments such as the advent of computers and the Internet have greatly influenced how individuals, groups, and organizations create, store, and retrieve data. A large number of industries depend on computers for automation purposes and the initiation of various business activities. Electronic storage devices are quickly phasing out traditional filing systems. This trend has resulted in the insecurity of information. Consequently, organizations have to address the safety of their systems to minimize attacks by fraudsters. Cybercrime can lead to the leakage of important data, system interference, and the delivery of unsatisfactory services to consumers. It can also taint the reputation of individuals and organizations. In some serious cases, electronic wars have threatened communication and information systems of not only organizations but also countries. Hence, as revealed in this paper, it is crucial to examine various leadership challenges that arise from cybersecurity to provide viable solutions that can help modern organizations to deal with electronic sabotage.

Leadership Challenge of Cybersecurity

Managing information in the digital age has become one of the most demoralizing challenges encountered by managers. Creating, storing, manipulating, and retrieving information has become extremely sensitive, especially when using computer-aided devices and the Internet (Gordon, Loeb, Lucyshyn, & Zhou, 2015). As such, the protection of an organization’s system is essential to minimize the threats of cybercriminals. With the ever-increasing propagation of information and communication technologies (ICTs), the urge for instantaneous and unlimited exchange across national and international network boundaries has become irrepressible (Gordon et al., 2015). Many individuals have invested in cybercrime businesses that aim at defrauding companies and individuals millions of dollars each year. As a result, leaders are afraid of online fraud, the loss of intellectual property, and identity theft. These administrators are supposed to guide organizations to achieve goals by ensuring improved institutional performance and competitiveness. They should implement appropriate infrastructural changes to improve the achievement of shared objectives. In the context of this paper, leaders are expected to lead organizations by executing policies that protect their businesses from cyberattacks (Gordon et al., 2015). This objective can be realized by establishing plans that enhance the safety of existing organizational systems.

According to Smith (2015), the protection of businesses from electronic sabotage is an area that is currently receiving attention from world leaders. Swindlers often develop malicious software to gain access to a firm’s information systems. As such, leaders are now charged with an extra task of protecting their companies from cybercrime by adopting defensive tactics. This goal can only be achieved by using strategies aimed at preventing malicious software from intruding on an organization’s information systems (Smith, 2015). Due to the nature of modern technology and the dynamic development of electronic devices, leaders have often faced challenges when dealing with cases of online fraud. Even with the use of advanced security measures, swindlers may still compromise organizational infrastructure. In 2012, India was suspected to have been involved in interjecting the United States’ e-mail communication channels (Smith, 2015). Numerous reports prepared by media groups showed that the Indian government’s investigators hacked the U.S. systems where they gained access to military information (Smith, 2015). The main objective was to monitor the communication between China and America. This state of affairs has been a challenge to leaders in the twenty-first century since they are charged with an extra duty of ensuring the safety of information stored in electronic devices.

Guaranteeing data security demands leaders to have a clear understanding of the methods used to launch cyberattacks. According to Hennig (2018), the protection of business systems has become a primary challenge for leaders due to the continued development of malicious software by ill-motivated individuals. Such people adopt diverse strategies that aim at manipulating systems. These methods may involve incapacitation or shadowing to access data unlawfully. Hennig (2018) views cybersecurity as a politically plotted misconduct where hackers disrupt information systems to satisfy their self-interested agendas. In the due course of causing such attacks, they strive to interfere with the effective flow of information by intruding on the targeted infrastructure. This behavior makes it difficult for leaders to protect organizations from data manipulation, identify theft, and cyberwarfare. As a result, they strive to ensure a constant understanding of mechanisms deployed by cybercriminals to access their business systems. Being aware of such strategies enables leaders to execute proper security measures.

Regardless of the approaches used by leaders to solve challenges arising from cybersecurity, the continued development of technology brings about fresh gaps that make it easy for criminals to initiate cyberattacks (Hennig, 2018). Leaders often struggle to solve problems that come with advanced electronic devices and software. The increased complexity of the online environment has led to borderless interactions between individuals, groups, and organizations around the globe. This sophistication has amplified the insecurity of information systems to the extent of creating more threats to leadership (Weinstein, 2016). As a result, organizational managers and bosses have to stay updated regarding technological developments to enable them to understand the grounds on which new threats are launched. Today, some firms conduct regular checks on their systems to detect any activities that may disrupt their operations. The ever-increasing dependence on technological aids in almost every industry has heightened cyber threats. According to Mayer (2018), the reputation of individuals, organizations, and countries is often tainted through the spread of negative publicity, spying, and interference through computers.

Cybercriminals may deny services by destabilizing websites or even shutting them down. Such attacks lead to the distraction of electronically operated systems, hence affecting production and delivery processes (Hennig, 2018). Many organizations rely on electronic systems to facilitate their operations. With the increased rate of cyber threats, leaders struggle to devise new methods of ensuring the safety of their information systems. Using hacking software, individuals can maliciously gain access to an organization’s confidential information about market tactics and production methods among others. The chief reason for engaging in such activities is to interrupt an organization’s infrastructure and solicit classified data, which can help enemies to understand the way it conducts its operations (Weinstein, 2016).

Cybercriminals use unlawful methods to disrupt software and networks, thereby threatening the efficiency of companies’ activities. This situation often results in the leakage of secret details, which may even be modified remotely. Leaders face problems in ensuring the secure management of information due to the proactive development of new malicious software. According to Weinstein (2016), the legal understanding of cybercrime is a complex affair in many authorities. Commercial electronic wars are viewed as translating into the infringement of intellectual property. Leaders often face challenges when dealing with rivals who are involved in electronic sabotage. The planned interception of information systems disrupts operations, thereby resulting in reduced efficiency and the generation of undesirable results. These occurrences have caused serious leadership challenges, especially when companies’ administrators have to struggle to remain informed about developments in software technology.

The Degree of the Challenge of Cybersecurity in Organizations

Due to the amplified dependence on computer systems, organizations have shifted from outmoded communication frameworks. Many institutions interact with complex networks facilitated by the Internet. This situation has led to cyber threats that are characterized by the infringement of private information. Communication networks have been hacked in the past to the extent of compromising operations. Cybersecurity is a threat to the efficient production and provision of timely services. In particular, it may result in a great problem for the entire product development cycle. Furthermore, electronic wars can lead to the flouting of consumer confidentiality. The unrelenting interconnectedness of devices through the Internet has intensified cyber threats globally. Indeed, corporations are comprised of loads of unsecured connections that even worsen this situation. As a result, the management of the security environment becomes a complex issue for leaders. Nevertheless, companies’ bosses who initiate powerful cybersecurity measures are in a better position of controlling electronic sabotage and espionage.

According to Schaefer, Brown, Graessle, and Salzsieder (2017), the increased Internet connectivity has led to more accessibility of products and services, thanks to the existence of online business platforms. This trend has given rise to numerous security threats. A survey that was conducted to establish the security gaps between different companies in the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Germany indicated overwhelming differences in organizational readiness to deal with electronic wars (Schaefer et al., 2017). Organizations are now realizing the significance of launching secure systems to not only protect their businesses from online fraud but also maintain reputable customer loyalty. Nevertheless, in their research, Schaefer et al. (2017) find that only 20% of institutions are committed to developing or have well-structured frameworks for handling leadership challenges related to cybersecurity. Many leaders are still not fully prepared to handle the challenges and dynamism of online attacks. Inadequate vigilance and the insufficient allocation of the necessary tools for curtailing cyberwars give rise to leadership issues that can bring down businesses. As such, leaders strive to ensure caution and improved readiness protecting their organizations through the timely discovery and handling of issues related to cybersecurity.

Despite having experienced information insecurity in the past, many organizations around the world have not yet established proper strategies for dealing with cybersecurity. Research conducted by Weinstein (2016) indicates the extent to which companies have been slow in launching systems to protect their information systems. Improper planning, insufficient practical skills, and poor assignment of responsibilities are among the factors that have led to this situation (Weinstein, 2016). Such a finding shows that many leaders have failed to implement proper policies and strategies for addressing online threats. The inappropriate obligation of duties concerned with cybersecurity issues has resulted in gaps in the development of appropriate solutions. Accordingly, organizations need to ensure that leaders choose qualified individuals to deal with the protection of corporate information by ensuring the early detection and prevention of possible cybercrime.

Managing this Challenge in Today’s Business Settings

Many electronic devices are interlinked through complicated software and Internet platforms. This trend continues to expose organizations to cyber threats. As a leader, I should bear the responsibility of ensuring the development of cybersecurity skills by encouraging employees’ preparedness and understanding of electronic wars in the digital era (Latham, 2014). With the continued interconnection of devices through online platforms, cybersecurity is now becoming an important area of concern among leaders. The need for protecting information, especially intellectual property, is growing fast. Thus, I should conduct capacity building to minimize the chances of exposing corporate data to cybercriminals (Morgan, 2016). However, this activity should be undertaken through skillful training to make sure that all targeted groups receive the most appropriate information about online attacks, which may affect my organization’s operations.

The power of information technology cannot be underestimated in this era of digitization. Morgan (2016) asserts that it offers leaders an unlimited potential to develop their organizations through improved efficiency, which brings about increased performance and the optimization of profits. Also, it ensures improved services and products using automated processes that are guided by sophisticated software programs. However, as a leader, I need to be aware that such systems are susceptible to online attacks that may lead to information sabotage targeting individuals or my organization as a whole. According to Latham (2014), the disruption of electronic information can occur in any software-managed system. In the past, cyberattacks targeted credit card information, communication channels, electric power grids, and the stock market among others. In an organizational setup, online attacks can result in the malfunctioning of production systems through the remote manipulation of data sequences. Malicious software such as Stuxnet can interrupt microcontrollers. This virus can infiltrate interlinked computer systems to the extent of intercepting instructions issued to perform a specific function in a production line. This knowledge should help me to establish proper strategies for avoiding any disruption of activities due to cybercrime.

Due to the fear of being held liable for any organizational inconveniences, many leaders exhibit laxity in their development and execution of regulations governing the safety of corporate information (Morgan, 2016). Although almost every company has patent rights, some of them have not passed comprehensive policies to safeguard them from cyberattacks. Furthermore, complexities of the online environment in which these crimes occur provide minimal room for seizure and the prosecution of any perpetrators. Therefore, the only effective way for me to deal with cybercrime is to establish forthright and vibrant roles and responsibilities for individuals in my organization. The division of labor emerges. One individual cannot handle issues related to cybersecurity. Therefore, I find it important to recruit a professional team to develop effective strategies for ensuring the timely prevention, detection, and handling of such vices.

However, vague debates related to producers and suppliers regarding who should lead in the protection of corporate information often arise (Banham, 2017). This situation results in controversies among organizations. Although many leaders feel that the IT department is solely responsible for insecurities arising from online attacks, it should be noted that not all information technology professionals are qualified for ensuring the safety of electronic data. Also, managers have inadequate knowledge regarding the nature of cyberattacks (Banham, 2017). Therefore, I should demonstrate an understanding of the organizational framework by defining clear responsibilities for individuals and groups within my firm. Every organizational unit has several experts who are competent in specific duties. Likewise, I should ensure that the IT department recruits a team of experts who have the required technical skills to address any threats related to cybercrime.

From a leadership viewpoint, I can execute practical solutions for preventing, detecting, and handling cyberattacks, including installing firewalls, attack recognition, and invasion inhibition systems. For instance, the execution of advanced antimalware security software can play a great role in detecting possible online threats. Activating firewall systems also help in discovering malicious applications that can intrude on a computer system. This operation is important in stopping dangerous invasions that can even halt or misguide an electronic machine. Also, it is crucial to install intrusion detection structures (IDSs) to identify, analyze, and create awareness of harmful system interference. Upon the discovery and identification of potential threats, this software alerts all responsible administrators to take appropriate actions to avoid malicious system disturbance. To prevent invasion, organizations are advised to deploy intrusion prevention system (IPS) to inhibit harmful viruses from attacking their corporate information frameworks (Kose, Cankaya, & Deperlioglu, 2018). I recommend the installation of this software, which functions in a way that switches off instructions issued by unknown programs via interlinked networks. Such a strategy can prevent an enemy from gaining access to my organization’s information systems.

In addition to the above areas of ensuring Internet security, I should invest in understanding the significance of cybersecurity in the context of my organizational framework. It is important to know the effect of possible attacks on its operations. The constant monitoring of electronic wars surrounding my company can inspire positive change, which can lead to the development of a new corporate culture. As a result, all stakeholders should be educated on security policies to enable them to report any distrustful events promptly. In case new responsibilities emerge, employees tend to refute change. Hence, as a leader, I should be ready to encounter issues that may arise from the initiation of a new organizational culture, including resistance and reduced performance.

To bolster online safety in my organization, it is necessary to create awareness regarding the need for adopting suitable cybersecurity measures to ensure improved efficiency (Kose et al., 2018). Nonetheless, for a firm that has developed user accounts for its consumers, it is wise to avoid strategies that require them to pay a price to have their credentials protected. All strategies for curtailing cyber warfare should be captured in the business model of the respective organization. The existing framework should indicate the position of a particular threat within a company’s value chain. Employees and other stakeholders should be sensitized concerning key issues that can expose my organization to sabotage. This approach to cybersecurity motivates the concerned parties to formulate sound strategies. Financial support also comes in handy since every person in my organization understands problems that cybersecurity can cause to their businesses.

Cybersecurity is a common phenomenon across all industries. Therefore, it is advisable to work together with professionals in various IT departments of comparable organizations to learn new ways through which cyber threats affect them (Willis, Clarke, & O’connor, 2017). As a leader, I should use this opportunity to guide my firm to establish effective protective systems by ensuring proper budget allocation and the selection of qualified IT officials. The realization of this objective requires me to engage key stakeholders in a similar industry. For instance, a leader in the stock market should liaise with counterparts in the same sector to know the cybersecurity challenges faced by companies in this line of business. This strategy inspires one to establish a strong background for the prevention of online attacks.

Moreover, it is important to consider cybersecurity in the context of the lifecycle of products and services in the value chain. Formulating suitable methods for constantly scrutinizing information flow is an important initiative towards the detection and prevention of cyberattacks (Willis et al., 2017). Production and supply chains should be properly monitored for malicious interruptions that can result in delays or system failures. As a leader, I can lead the organization to procure safety components that update security details automatically to ensure the steady monitoring of information systems. Due to the ever-advancing development of malicious software by swindlers, there should be a systematic upgrading of protection programs to match current trends in cyberattacks in the lifecycles of products and services.

Conclusion

Technology developments have resulted in organizations’ overreliance on computer-aided systems. They cannot operate optimally without automating their production and supply chains among other systems. Because these devices operate on interlinked Internet platforms, cybersecurity continues to become one of the most dreaded leadership challenges. The online environment paves the way for fraudulent individuals to steal classified information about companies. Such data may be used to compromise operations or disrupt production processes. As a result, leaders should initiate changes in the software-controlled environment to prevent or minimize the chances of perpetrators interfering with normal operations of computer programs. They should establish clear policies that define strategies for handling cyberattacks. Also, as a leader, it is crucial to sensitize employees and other stakeholders regarding cybersecurity to enhance their understanding of cybersecurity issues and their effects on my organization. All stakeholders should be prepared to deal with the constant change of security measures due to the dynamic nature of the cybersecurity industry.

References

Banham, R. (2017). Cybersecurity: A new engagement opportunity: An AICPA framework enables CPAs with cybersecurity expertise to perform new services for clients. Journal of Accountancy, 224(4), 28-32.

Gordon, L. A., Loeb, M. P., Lucyshyn, W., & Zhou, L. (2015). Increasing cybersecurity investments in private sector firms. Journal of Cybersecurity, 1(1), 3-17.

Hennig, N. (2018). Privacy and security online: Best practices for cybersecurity. Library Technology Reports, 54(3), 1-37.

Kose, U., Cankaya, S. F., & Deperlioglu, O. (2018). Cyber wars under the shadow of artificial intelligence: A future perspective. International Journal of Engineering Science and Application, 2(2), 71-76.

Latham, J. R. (2014). Leadership for quality and innovation: Challenges, theories, and a framework for future research. Quality Management Journal, 21(1), 11-15.

Mayer, J. (2018). Government hacking. Yale Law Journal, 127(3), 570-662.

Morgan, S. (2016). IT analyst forecasts are unable to keep pace with the dramatic rise in cybercrime, the ransomware epidemic, the refocusing of malware from PCs and laptops to smartphones and mobile devices, the deployment of billions of under-protected internet of things devices, the legions of hackers-for-hire, and the more sophisticated cyber-attacks launching at businesses, governments, educational institutions and consumers globally. Risk Management, 63(7), 40-41.

Schaefer, T., Brown, B., Graessle, F., & Salzsieder, L. (2017). Cybersecurity: Common risks: A dynamic set of internal and external threats includes loss of data and revenue, sabotage at the hands of current or former employees, and a PR nightmare. Strategic Finance, 99(5), 54-62.

Smith, G. S. (2015). Management models for international cybercrime. Journal of Financial Crime, 22(1), 104-125.

Weinstein, R. (2016). Cybersecurity: Getting beyond technical compliance gaps. Legislation & Public Policy, 19, 913-942.

Willis, S., Clarke, S., & O’connor, E. (2017). Contextualizing leadership: Transformational leadership and management‐by‐exception‐active in safety‐critical contexts. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 90(3), 281-305.

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