Be Like Water: The Bruce Lee Approach to Building a Resilient Organization

Organizations that do not adapt, simply do not survive. It’s a norm that applies to humans and businesses alike. Reality is that more than 52% of companies listed on Fortune 500  have disappeared since 2000 due to their inability to adapt to the digital age.

Resilient organizations can pursue digital innovations with greater confidence and speed because of their proactive and adaptive approach to cybersecurity.

Cybercrime to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021

According to State of Cybercrime 2017 report, Cybercrime damage costs to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 which will be more profitable than the global trade of all  illegal drugs combined.

Cyber criminals, always look for the weak entry points which typically involve exploiting new technologies and/or people. Because technology is changing faster than ever before and users are barely able to keep up, attackers have plenty of possibilities. More than ever, it’s important for organizations and internet users to rethink the way they approach security to counter new type of attacks.

The Bruce Lee adaptive approach to cybersecurity: Be like Water

Besides being well-known for his one-inch punch, Bruce Lee was also known for his outstanding philosophy and wisdom. Organizations and users can adapt Bruce Lee’s lessons, when approaching security.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Be like water my friend” Bruce Lee

Accordingly, I have developed the Bruce Lee approach of adaptive security and mapped it to the cybersecurity cycle: Predict, Protect, Detect and Respond.

1. Predict: “Be Self-aware, rather than a repetitious robot”, Bruce Lee

Don’t make false assumptions. The first part of a security strategy relies on uncovering your risks and uncovering your weak spots. Being self-aware is key to properly predict your opponent.

2. Protect: “Obey the principles without being bound by them” , Bruce Lee

The fundamentals of security must be implemented before success can be attained. One common mistake is to rely mainly on security appliances to cover all of your bases. Reality is that technology changes all the time. Therefore, risk management must be agile enough to overcome traditional boundaries and absorb new threats.

3. Detect: “ Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light” , Bruce Lee

Ignorance has no place in cybersecurity. Visibility is critical to reduce the time to detect an incident. Therefore, 24×7 real time monitoring is needed to detect threats, isolate incidents and contain them.

4. Respond: “A quick temper will make a food of you soon enough” , Bruce Lee

Investigate breaches, analyze them, mitigate the damage and LEARN. A good fighter learns about his enemy prior to reacting.

Building a resilient digital organization.

The Bruce Lee adaptive security approach will help organizations develop a fluid cybersecurity operation that will support their digital transformation. This approach needs to be supported by an organizational culture that will encourage people to work, make decisions with security in mind. After all, technologies and processes will change faster than ever to cope with our fast pace environment, the only remaining constant are the people.

It’s time for organizations to adopt the way of the dragon and “Be like Water”.

Thank you Bruce,


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