In the past couple of years, cloud-based solutions have gone from the status of a brave new technology to a mainstream vehicle for delivering storage, application, infrastructure and other services. From a security point of view, consuming cloud-based services usually involves delegating security for the service to the service provider. This does not need to be as scary as it sounds – as long as you approach the service engagement with your eyes open, and arm yourself with pertinent requirements for the service provider to provide appropriate controls to protect your organization.
Now that we’re in the midst of October 2013’s Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s a good time to think about the connections between security awareness and trust. This discussion centers on three questions:
- How do we trust our computers and devices?
- How do we trust our vendors?
- How do we trust the infrastructure?
We ask these questions mindful that information technology does not stand still and is probably accelerating. Forward progress, however, is unsustainable if we can’t trust the technologies we use. I don’t foresee any scenario where technology progress will come to a halt, but there are many ways it can fly off the rails if we’re not careful. This may sound dire, but I remain an optimist by nature and believe we can confidently move ahead if we take the time to think about security and trust and act on our conclusions. Cyber Security Awareness Month is a good opportunity to think about this, and I have more to say in the video blog post below:
How to encourage people to do what they say they’re going to do.
Trust is weaved into almost every aspect of our lives. I trusted that my car would get me to the airport this morning, that the pilots and crew would get me to Washington D.C., and that my cab driver would find my hotel. This all comes so naturally. So why does the role of trust in collaboration inside organizations remain such a mystery?
For more than 150 years, organizations have been organized in silos that breed internal competition for resources. The psychology of competing with your teammates for resources, in turn, encouraged an insidious way of working: passive-aggressive behaviors where humans work side-by-side but work subtly against each other even though they are employed by the same firm.
Trust anchors every successful collaborative team.
We researched at Cisco the most important factors in creating trust on collaboration teams, and the single most important factor is revealing: do people do what they say they are going to do?
As leaders, it is up to us to be overtly aggressive at vanquishing passive-aggressive behaviors and building real, human trust. We have no choice in our hyper-connected world where change is constant and work is increasingly global, mobile and virtual. As distance and time condense, it stresses out the calmest of us as we scramble to meet deadlines while working with people that likely we’ve never met.
So what’s the key to building team trust?
“Replace uncertainty with clarity. Articulate the team’s purpose and establish up front what you expect from each member.” The Collaboration Imperative
How to build a team charter
A team charter helps clarify a team’s purpose, role, shared goals and scope; a charter eliminates ambiguity of expectations. As leaders, we can make a team charter the focal point around which the team builds healthy collaboration habits.
It’s possible to move beyond your gut feel and hope trust develops on your team; it is possible to operationalize it. Trust is too important to, well, just trust that it’ll happen. To that end, we’ve found that a team charter is most effective when it is composed of five elements:
- Team purpose: describes specific challenges, opportunities or tasks the team will address (and also expectations).
- Team role: teams form for different reasons. Know why your team exists – is it to align a group around an initiative? Is it to execute a priority together? What are the different roles of individuals on the team? Read more about various team roles in Chapter 5 of “The Collaboration Imperative”.
- Shared goals: most collaborative teams have people from different backgrounds, functions and even companies. Make sure despite your differences, you’re all chasing the same goals. These goals allow you to create a specific definition of what success looks like and allow you to map your goals to performance management
- Scope: establish well-defined boundaries of what you hope to do. These “guardrails” allow you to say no to ‘scope creep’! This helps members determine their time commitment and helps the team as a whole stay on track.
- Establish ground rules. Put ground rules in place for team procedures and processes (including meeting logistics), how you use your time together, who makes final decisions, how to resolve conflict, and how respect and courtesy are paramount.
A team charter is a powerful means to enable trust-building on your collaboration teams. Keep in mind that a team charter should be paired with a common vocabulary. Sweat the details of your team’s vocabulary. Ask if everyone on the team has the same definitions in their heads for the vocabulary you are using to articulate the charter. Don’t let the definition of a word be the reason trust is derailed!
The management science is pretty clear here: teams that trust each other outperform teams that don’t. Are you outperforming?
These days, the generation of data has become almost as constant as breathing. With every click or swipe, today’s mobile, hyperconnected consumers exhale an ever-expanding trail of digital details, revealing troves of information about their wants, needs, interests, well-being, and aspirations.
All of that data offers great promise for retailers looking to know their customers in deep, new ways in order to provide carefully targeted products and services. But it is also a source of headaches. Those same retailers are wrestling with a complex new realm of Big Data analytics, where a deluge of information from new sources like video, mobile, and social media threatens to swamp their capacity for processing. That is, if they can properly access those new data streams in the first place.
Trust will be the most highly valued currency in a globally connected world. Those companies that earn their customers trust will be able to add significant value and at the same time monetize the data. It won’t be easy to accomplish but it all starts with understanding who owns the data.
The Facebook IPO finally happened last week and so did a new era for all Internet companies and the topic of privacy. Facebook and others will have to increase their focus on growing their revenues to meet street expectations, and in the process, they will have to continue to innovate and monetize user information. The concept of collecting and selling user information is not new, and as a matter of fact, retail stores like supermarkets have been doing this for years. Every time you use your supermarket loyalty card, you are trading off privacy for coupons and discounts. As the article below points out, companies that collect information from places like supermarkets know about your religion, what books you read, how much education you have, your income and even your health condition, based on your supermarket shopping habits. Literally, to buy adult diapers, you can be marked by these consumer information collection groups as someone who has a bladder-control problem.