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Trust, but Verify

As Reagan signed the INF Treaty with Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987, “trust but verify” became his catchphrase. Wikipedia says that it’s a play on words, based on an old Russian proverb of “doveryai, no proveryai.” Maybe Reagan just liked the phrase because he could pronounce it.

The whole concept of trust implies you don’t have to check, which is why the phrase has stuck out so long. We need to use “Trust but Verify” even more today, because we require more authentication and confirmation. Everyone wants to have trust relationships. They save time and they expedite business.

In the new book, Dogs Don’t Bark at Parked Cars, authors Jeff Piersall and Eric Wright emphasize how critical trust is to everything we do, and how it is crucial to expanding our entrepreneurial ecosystem across Florida.

“People often think ‘trust’ is some soft intangible skill, but the fact of the matter is that more than anything else, trust saves you time and resources. It is the one value that when present, ensures decision making is easy and reduces the sense of risk in any transaction.”

Trust in today’s world means even more than that, because we are so electronically interconnected. We reaffirm our trust constantly every time we type in a password, send an e-mail or post online.

People depend on us to have both competency and integrity in our interactions. Competency is making sure we understand the rules and follow them in our daily lives. Competency means we have taken it upon ourselves to learn the rules because our partners need to know they can rely on us. Integrity means that we mean what we say, we are truthful in our discussions, and we follow through. With those foundations, then we can interact with others, but there is even more emphasis on protecting any shared information.

We have two-factor authentication for secure websites, but what about connecting to things where security barriers and requirements seem to be lower. Are we cognizant that what we do online and how we share that with others could put us all at risk. When I send a text with those cute little gifs, could I be sending a virus around the world?

Maybe you think that this trust requirement only includes people in certain areas:

  • Network administrators at your company who control access and passwords
  • Human Resources and payroll employees who have access to your private data
  • Web security experts who protect financial data for your banking and credit information
  • Military personnel who safeguard and secure our national security
  • Online shopping sites that let us use one-click ordering and other conveniences
  • People at your doctor’s office who must share your medical information to expedite your insurance and coordinate care and services

You can see – this list could go on and on.

As business leaders, we all share responsibility for the security of our economic ecosystem. We must consider interactions on all sides: from a personal standpoint, from a corporate standpoint internally, and externally, with our clients and business partners. We need to be taking a 360 degree view at what we are doing, if we want to have TRUST relationships. We have to come to the table with a firm grasp on our own controls and credentials, before we can expect others to consider interacting with us. It’s our responsibility to learn about online trust and incorporate it into our daily lives, not just our business interactions: this is what Cyber360 means. It’s up to us to Trust, but Verify.

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Along with co-host Pete Blum, Jenny W Clark has created an online community, podcast and Summit called Florida GovCon. Florida GovCon supports the aerospace and defense community across the state of Florida, by connecting industry leaders and helping veterans along the way.

We are hosting our annual Summit on March 29-30, 2017 in Tampa. A small business partnering and training event for federal contractors, the Florida GovCon Summit will bring together entrepreneurs and industry experts to discuss trends, teaming and transition. Expanding over last year’s Summit, we’re also discussing best practices for security in our corporate environments, combining each panel with its cyber requirements and taking a Cyber360 view.

We’ll be posting more information about the Summit in our LinkedIn Group called Florida GovCon Community. Click here to join the group and find out more.