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Cyber security 101: Karate

Turns out Karate and cyber security had more in common than we thought. Principles that are followed in karate stay pretty damn relevant even when it comes to keeping your organization cyber ready.

Here are some of the basic principles in karate. Let’s see how they correlate so well with good practices as far as cyber security is concerned.

Respect your enemy (rei)

Breach of access, website defacement, denial of your service etc are just some of the outcomes of not taking cyber security seriously or in other words giving your enemy (cyber risk) the respect it deserves. Respect your enemy by understanding the level of damage it can cause. This should always be the initial step towards any fight.

First, know yourself and then your enemy

Its important to know where you stand before you start the fight. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your organization. Creating a checklist of things to be taken care of can give you an idea of what needs to be done.

  • Firewall
  • Cyber security policies
  • Enforce safe password practices
  • Regular data back up
  • Anti-malware

These are just some items that should be on that checklist. Identifying which out of these is taken care of and which still needs to be done can simplify your path of action forward.

Calamity springs from carelessness

Careless actions like we all know can lose someone a fight. Karate teaches us that taking care of these actions will keep us from losing. Some trivial easily avoidable mistakes like

  • Clicking on hypertext links
  • Usages of portable storage devices
  • Transacting on unsecured websites
  • Usage of pirated software

Can prove to be of grave danger to any organization and can put your security at risk.

Karate is like boiling water; without heat, it returns to its tepid state

Karate says that its important to always stay on you’re A game. To keep the water boiling calls for practice and constant introspection. Just like this even cyber security practices need constant updates and support. Its also important to conduct drills where situations of cyber attacks can be simulated to teach employees how to respond. Making cyber security practices an essential part of timely employee evaluations can also be a good way to keep the water boiling.

Adjust according to your opponents

Karate teaches us that its important to be aware of the strengths of your opponent so that we can train ourselves to cope with their strengths. This helps us to adopt new methods, learning new techniques, basically doing what it takes to survive undesirable situations. Similarly, Staying updated about cyber security attacks happening world over and striving to incorporate the solution that will help us overcome such attacks becomes an essential preparation for the war against cyber risk.

Be constantly mindful, diligent, and resourceful, in your pursuit of the Way

Having an open mind towards new and better ways is very important because doing something over and over again in a similar fashion is only going to give us the same output. Need a different output? Try a better way!

In this Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world its only obvious that we reinvent methods and means to keep what we hold dear safe.

Inducing habits of educating all stakeholders on cyber security and rewarding those who come up with innovative ways of staying safe needs to be imbibed into our systems.


Karate is a lifelong pursuit

Pursuing karate is a process that consumes time and effort. It takes persistence to stay in the process. A secure organization too cannot be looked at an event, it’s a process just like the pursuit of karate. Locate a security partner who will be there by your side in this pursuit.

A partner who knows what’s going on and what needs to be done. Living on the edge is the key to survival. Because remember that the attacker has to be right only once but the defender must be right every time.


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Rohit Soman

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So far Rohit Soman has created 27 blog entries.
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