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Operational Security & Knowledge: Insights for the Modern Workplace

Hannah Bowling
April 13, 2024

Picture this: it's the start of a new week, and the usual hum of activity in your workplace is noticeably absent. Suddenly, a vital piece of equipment crucial to your daily operations comes to a sudden halt. The display flashes an unfamiliar error code. Your team scrambles – is this a software glitch, a cyber threat, or something else entirely? Meanwhile, with recent retirements, the knowledge of those who understood this equipment inside-out has left the company.

Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right." ~ Peter Drucker

Especially in today's complex, fast-moving business world, the wisdom of Peter Drucker stands out. He believed it's more important to focus on doing the right things than simply doing things right. This means being strategic about the areas that will protect and grow your business. Investing in these key areas builds a stronger, more adaptable company, better prepared to handle future challenges.

Modern businesses rely heavily on specialized technology to keep things running. This includes the machinery, equipment, and control systems that power essential operations, whether it's manufacturing, healthcare, or running a city's infrastructure. We call this "operational technology," or OT for short.

Two critical areas to prioritize for a thriving and enduring business:

  1. Securing your operational technology (OT): Just like protecting your computers and data, securing the machinery and systems that run your core operations is essential. This involves safeguarding against cyberattacks, breakdowns, or other disruptions.
  2. Safeguarding knowledge: Every business has specialized knowledge built up over time. This could be a deep understanding of how to operate complex equipment, troubleshoot unique problems, or maintain specific systems. It's crucial to capture and share this know-how so the business runs smoothly even if experienced employees leave.

Solutions and a Path Forward →

We've talked with businesses in various industries, and clear trends are emerging in how to tackle the challenges of modern operations.

Trend #1: Prioritizing Security of Operational Technology (OT): Businesses are seeing the benefits of several practices:

  • Regular checkups: Look closely at where your systems might be vulnerable and how to make them stronger.
  • Constant monitoring: Using technology to watch for potential threats to your core machinery and systems.
  • Team training: Keeping your staff up-to-date on how to keep OT safe and how to respond to problems.

Trend #2: Knowledge Preservation and Sharing: Here's what forward-thinking businesses are doing:

  • Going digital: Taking old paper manuals and hands-on knowledge and putting it into digital formats (like documents, videos, and online resources) that everyone can access.
  • Building a knowledge library: Creating a central place where it's easy to find essential information on operating and troubleshooting equipment. This becomes a lifeline as experienced employees retire or move to new roles.

Trend #3: Acknowledging Implementation Challenges. We know that making these changes can be hard. Some common challenges include:

  • Budget limitations: Finding the resources for updates and new procedures can be a struggle.
  • Potential resistance: Not everyone will embrace change. It's important to get buy-in from your teams to make transitions smoother.
  • The scale of the project: Depending on the size of your operations, this can be a big undertaking.

It's helpful to look at businesses that have successfully made similar changes. They show how getting employees involved, celebrating successes along the way, and taking advantage of existing resources are key to getting through those challenges.

A Perspective of Partnership →

Businesses of all kinds must adapt and change to stay ahead. Focusing on operational technology security and making sure your company's valuable know-how is protected will lead to a smoother operation, more confident teams, and an edge over your competition.

Taking the First Steps: Take some time to reflect on where your business currently stands in these areas. What are the areas to prioritize and improve? What tools or resources could help you get started on this path toward a more secure, adaptable, and future-proof workplace?

Challenges are a normal part of running a business. But having the right plan in place makes all the difference. We see ourselves as a partner, sharing what we've learned to help you build a strong foundation for the future.

By prioritizing routine system evaluations, continuous monitoring, and digitizing valuable expertise, a business can strengthen its resilience and adaptability. This underscores the importance of focusing on key areas to safeguard and enhance the business in a dynamic, fast-paced world.

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