As the CEO of a national information technology consulting firm, I have asked hundreds of clients, "What keeps you up at night?” While I get a lot of answers, most of these answers can be summed up in four words: fear of the unknown. I often joke to my staff that I get paid to be paranoid, whether it’s losing a sales deal, anticipating competitor movements or even dealing with politics within my clients. In business, I see paranoia as a strength, allowing me to acknowledge that there are many unknowns that can affect a situation and force me into thinking through multiple scenarios for planning. Much like chess, thinking many steps ahead helps my team anticipate and plan for clients shifting priorities, competitor moves or staff changes.
One area in particular that I continue to be very paranoid in is cybersecurity. My business works with many Fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense agencies that take cybersecurity very seriously, and this seriousness flows down to us. With almost every client, we have contracts and agreements to adhere to our clients’ cybersecurity policies. As the CEO, it's my responsibility to ensure we meet these standards and agreements to protect my clients’ information. In addition, it's my responsibility to protect the personal data of the employees that they have entrusted to us.