Guest Post by Paul Kostek (first posted on CERM ® RISK INSIGHTS – reposted here with permission)
I usually write about risk as related to projects, but several of the comments I received on my article on “Can Your Pacemaker be Hacked” made me realize that we are all faced with risk management in our personal lives.
Continuing on the medical topic, think about how many options you’re faced with when your doctor recommends a procedure, whether adding a pacemaker, replacing a joint or a prescription drug.
Hopefully you have a doctor that you trust and knows you, but how would you respond to the doctor recommending a procedure? If we use a risk process then we’d have to consider the possibility of the identified risk occurring, the impact on our life(style), the benefits of mitigating the risk.
To support our decision we could get a second opinion, do on-line research or check with family/friends that have had the same procedure. Then just like a manager assigning a risk we’d have to review the data we collected and make a decision. The advent of Electronic Medical Records should make life easier, but also lead to more challenges for managing/securing data.
Challenges of Big (Medical) Data
Risk goes beyond the medical, what about our personal data? Big Data is a hot topic today with the amounts of data being gathered and stored growing every day. We’ve all heard about the NSA data gathering, but also realize that private companies are also collecting and using our information. Google’s Gmail, Facebook, stores we shop at.
Scott McNealy (founder of Sun Microsystems) once made the comment that privacy is gone and everyone should just get over it. Of course I doubt that he’s had to deal with identify theft. We all need to consider how we are going to manage our data in these new technology times. You could stop using all technology, but not many people will be willing or able to do this. Instead we need to consider requests for info with our risk hats on, asking what is the risk of providing this, can I do without the item/service looking for my info, or I need it and the risk is worth it.
The big data concept means more of our information is available to both those meaning to provide a service and those potentially doing us harm. Managing data will be a challenge for all of us going forward and we all need to consider the risks associated with sharing or not sharing data.
Paul J. Kostek is a Principal of Air Direct Solutions, a systems engineering/project management consulting firm. He works with companies in defining system architecture, system requirements, interface definition, verification planning, risk management and software development standards. Paul received his BS from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Paul works in a range of industries including: aerospace, defense, medical device and e-commerce.
Paul is a long-time volunteer with several professional engineering societies including IEEE, AIAA, SAE, INCOSE and PMI. He also writes for the CERM Risk Insights emagazine.
Leave a Reply