Tools <> Technology

I participate in the LinkedIn community, and I occasionally put out short “status” messages when I’m working on products, projects or going to provide training. My current “status update” statement is, “Rebecca is creating tools to support information security, privacy and compliance management and leadership.” (I’m really excited about these tools…I know they work!)
I received a message regarding this status update from one of my LinkedIn contacts. Here’s an excerpt…

“…what kind of “tools to support information security ..”? I’m interested because technology is not everything, security is more a mind set than technology.”

Great question!
I think it is important to remember tools are not synonymous with technology. I do not view all tools as being technology-based. Tools have been around since humans started fashioning arrowheads from stones and started digging holes with sticks. Tools comprise a very wide range of items that we can use to make our life easier and/or more efficient. I’ve been using non-technology-based tools for a very long time; both at work and away from work.
For example, I use a hoe in my garden to get rid of weeds; it is an effective tool that is not technology-based. I use a wall calendar with columns for me and each of my family members as a tool to keep track of what we each need to do and where we need to be on any given day. One of my favorite tools is the screwdriver I need to use at least once a month to tighten a screw in the arm of my office chair that, for some reason, always gets loose no matter how tightly I screw it in.
Although in my business I work with primarily technology issues, I use a very wide number of non-technology-based tools to help me make my work more effective. For example, I view my to-do list (a hand-written list) as an effective tool to keep me on track each day with my work. I also have always used my favorite pen and good ol’ spiral bound notebook as my tools of choice to take notes during meetings; I remember the details better when I write them down by hand instead of typing it on my computer…there is a ton of scientific research that shows how these two different ways of taking notes impacts different parts of your brain and memory, but that is a topic for another blog… 🙂
The tools I’m creating are management tools that may involve technology to some degree but are not in-and-of-themselves technology; at the core they help information security, privacy and compliance leaders to more effectively and efficiently perform their job responsibilities. They go beyond a to-do list, but they are not a technology solution. I have always believed that information security and privacy is a human issue that must be addressed using not just technology, but also tools that involve human actions, activities, decisions, and so on.
This is really a great and important question; too many people today automatically equate business tools purely with technology. Technology is wonderful, and can address many business issues. However, with very few, if any, exceptions, non-technology tools will always be needed to make business as successful and as efficient as possible.

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