DQ 101: Digital Security

man on the computer in the dark

A crucial part of Digital Intelligence (DQ) is staying secure by proactively protecting data, networks and systems.

In the Digital Intelligence 101 introduction, we shared that people experience eight critical areas of digital life — Identity, Use, Safety, Security, Emotional Intelligence, Communication, Literacy and Rights. These areas make up a framework mapping one’s Digital Intelligence (DQ).

This article explores how Digital Security manifests at each maturity level — Citizen, Creator and Competitor (if you need a refresher on these levels, check out our Intro to DQ article).

Area #4: Digital SecurityDigital Security

According to a recent report by IBM, 2021 broke the record for the highest average annual cost of data breaches in 17 years — jumping from $3.9 million to $4.2 million USD.

Cybersecurity has become a major concern for both businesses and government. On an individual level, it's now essential to have, at the very least, a basic understanding of how to manage risk online. This is based on the level of risk you’re willing to take and the potential consequences for yourself, as well as others around you. Let’s use the example of a person who uses a company laptop to work from home. If they were to visit an unsecure website or fall victim to a phishing email, it could potentially expose the entire network to a virus, ransomware, or other threat. Or if they used a weak password combination, it could leave the entire company vulnerable to cyberattacks.

There’s a personal responsibility to be aware of how to avoid these risks — but companies also need to ensure they’re staying up-to-date with the latest tools in cybersecurity to prevent major data breaches. It requires a collective awareness of how to prevent and understand security risks at all levels of the digital experience. That’s why DQ is important.

So, how does Digital Security apply to each maturity level? Below is a list of three competencies areas (knowledge, skills, attitudes) that evolve as one’s Digital Security DQ matures.

Level 1 (Citizen) = Personal Cyber Security Management

This is a person’s ability to detect cyber threats — like hacking, scams and malware — to protect personal data and devices. This also includes your ability to use security strategies and protective tools.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands personal online risk profiles and how to identify different types of cyber threats such as hacking, scams and malware
    • Identifies Digital Security strategies and tools to avoid these threats
  • Skills:
    • Can recognize cyber threats and use cybersecurity practices such as secure passwords, firewalls and anti-malware programs
    • Uses technology without compromising data or devices
  • Attitudes:
    • Shows resilience and vigilance against careless behaviours that could compromise their own, or other people’s data and device security
    • Confident about what to do when there’s a security problem

Level 2 (Creator) = Networks Security Management

This is a Digital Creator’s ability to detect, avoid and manage cyber threats to cloud-based, collaborative digital environments.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands cyber threats specific to cloud networks and collaborative online spaces that could compromise data, devices and systems
    • Knows available resources to ensure appropriate levels of protection, confidentiality and privacy
  • Skills:
    • Can predict and identify weaknesses and risk in their networks that could leave them vulnerable to threats
    • Evaluates vulnerabilities and quantifies risks (such as business loss)
    • Uses tools, strategies and protocols to improve confidentiality and security of shared online workspaces
    • Monitors networks and implements support systems to allow for the best possible productivity and performance
    • Ensures digital security tools align with the organization’s technical requirements to ensure minimal impact to business
  • Attitudes:
    • Takes constant initiative to stay up-to-date with evolving cyberthreats, risk profiles and network vulnerabilities

Level 3 (Competitor)= Organizational Cybersecurity Management

This is a Digital Competitor’s ability to recognize, plan and implement organizational cybersecurity defenses.

  • Knowledge:
    • Understands support architectures, policies, practices and procedures that enable organizations to manage threats, including anti-malware software related to data, devices and systems
    • Knows about proper handling, usage, and storage of an organization's Information Technology (IT) assets to limit potential business or legal risks
    • Can develop and implement their own digital resiliency plans
  • Skills:
    • Develops cognitive and technical skills to improve their organization's cybersecurity systems, that affect the operation and profitability of the business
    • Forecasts and evaluates existing and potential security risks
    • Develops and implements intervention strategies to proactively protect and optimize an organization's IT assets in alignment with internal policies, legislation and business strategies
    • Enables fast recovery of critical IT infrastructure and systems following a crisis or disaster
    • Develops and shares corporate security policies, frameworks, and guidelines to ensure that day-to-day business operations are well protected against risks, threats, and vulnerabilities
  • Attitudes:
    • Values cybersecurity and proactively advocates for it in their organization by giving advice and guidance on potential risks
    • Shares mitigation strategies and best practices for Digital Security
    • Develops communication strategies for organizations and communities
    • Makes sure the strategies are adopted and followed to create secure conditions for living and working

SADT embeds cybersecurity skills and understanding into several program offerings. Curious? Learn more or register for a course here.

These three sub-competencies are a solid foundation to build on as individuals, experts and organizations continue to explore ways to protect their data and networks while using digital technology. What’s your Digital Security maturity level, and what does it say about your DQ?

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