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From the President


From the President

ISSA International President Keyaan Williams

Disruptive Technologies

This edition of the ISSA Journal focuses on disruptive technologies. The 1995 Harvard Business Review article that coined the term compared the influence of disruptive technology with sustaining technology in business. According to Bower and Christensen, “Different technological innovations affect businesses in different ways. Sustaining technologies tend to maintain a rate of improvement, while disruptivetechnologies displace the mainstream approach and pave the way for new uses and approaches for technology.” Disruptive technology and sustaining technology are both important for modern businesses, but disruptive technology has the greatest influence on the duties we perform as security professionals.

Organizations cannot maintain the status quo forever and ignore the changes they must make in response to competitive forces in the marketplace. Therefore, disruptive technology is a necessary part of the modern business life cycle. The challenge is knowing when to adopt and implement the right technology at the right time. The history of VisiCalc demonstrates the value of implementing disruptive technology correctly. According to the History of Computers “VisiCalc was one of the key products that helped bring the microcomputer from the hobbyist’s desk into the office.” Early users of the software established a competitive advantage from the ability to forecast and model financial data, which ultimately produced better worth and investment decisions.

Many disruptive technologies fail to achieve widespread or successful adoption. “Each time a disruptive technology emerged, between one-half and two-thirds of the established manufacturers failed to introduce models employing the new architecture—in stark contrast to their timely launches of critical sustaining technologies.” Early adopters of cloud services experienced mixed results from the perspective of contract stipulations, security controls, and shared responsibilities for risk management. An entire industry has emerged as successful vendors transformed advancements in cloud computing and virtualization technology into the “as-a-service” marketplace that supports modern businesses.

Managing security risk in a landscape that changes regularly is unavoidable. The disruptive technology of today will simply become the sustaining technology of tomorrow. New disruptive technologies will be introduced. Some introductions will be successful, while others will fail. Many organizations, therefore, will try something new to create an advantage. Many of these projects will fail, and then the organization will try something else. Security professionals must remain flexible and adapt and strive to protect our organizations consistently as the environment changes constantly. Flexibility and adaptability are critical because change is inevitable. Moore’s Law addresses the continuous rate of change.

The Laws of Software Evolution penned by Lehman address the inevitability of change. According to Lehman, “systems must be continually adapted (Law of Continuing Change), complexity increases unless work is done to maintain or reduce it (Law of Increasing Complexity), and the functional content of systems must be continually increased (Law of Continuing Growth).”

Change is unavoidable in business and technology. Change is also unavoidable in the ISSA because it is one of the sustaining frameworks established in the model of federalism used to combine central management and support from headquarters with the local chapter leaders dedicated to supporting local members. We want leaders to change internationally and locally to ensure the ISSA has a constant pipeline of fresh ideas, energy, and perspectives.

With the conclusion of our 2017 election cycle I will have the honor of introducing new representatives who have these qualities. I am also aware of many local elections that provide new leadership opportunities for some great members.

Although people change, the mission and vision of the ISSA remain intact. I look forward to continuing to work with the international board, our chapter leaders, and all of our members to make this the best association of security professionals in the world.

Keyaan Williams

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