If anything is guaranteed about the future, it’s that technological innovation will advance more quickly each year. But progress isn’t just for those with good intentions. The technology that empowers us can also imperil us, making digital risk management an existential priority.

Some of our most famous predecessors also faced unprecedented obstacles, and their stories are more than good folklore—they provide us with principles that transcend time and space.

In Cyber War…and Peace, Nick Shevelyov shares how lessons learned from history’s most poignant moments reveal strategies to help manage risk in today’s—and tomorrow’s—digital landscape. This exploration of history, strategy, and the digital world around us will challenge readers to reexamine the past, solve new problems, and embrace timeless techniques.

I recently caught up with Nick to learn more about what inspired him to write the book, his favorite idea he shares with readers, and how he’s applied that idea in his own life.

Published with permission from the author.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

I had been speaking on cyber security at conferences and seminars for nearly two decades. I decided I wanted to weave in my own curiosity about the past and the future by sharing historical analogies that translate in cybersecurity. Suddenly, people were lining up at a presentation and telling me I should write a book on the topic. With work and family commitments, I never had time to sit down and write something. With the pandemic lockdowns happening, I deceived to use my time wisely and wrote the book.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

Those who do not know history, are doomed to repeat it. Humans are the major driver of technology outcomes. Our biases, behavior, and outlook manifest in the technology we build and have to protect. That very technology that empowers us, may also imperil us.

My ask is that the reader is open to reading a story, that story uses the power of analogical thinking to translate profound lessons from history, into foundational cyber security concepts that business leaders can learn from. The concept of “Know Thyself,” including the technology you use, the controls protecting those investments, the frequency and efficacy of validating those controls, all come into play.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this idea in your own life? What has this idea done for you?

We have all heard the story of the Trojan War. Homer magnificently captured the ancient Greek concepts of Bai (Force) and Metis (Cleverness) in the characters of Achilles and Odysseus as well as the inherent strengths and weaknesses of those characteristics. The most formidable walled city of that age fell, not because it was defeated from the outside, in.

It was defeated because, with their very arms and legs, the Trojans pulled the Trojan horse into their walls. After celebrating what they thought was their victory over the Greeks, the Trojans went to sleep, only to have Achilles and Odysseus lead troops out of the Trojan Horse, opening the gates of Troy, and letting the Greek armies sweep in and defeat the Trojans. What business decisions, processes, or technologies are your Trojan horse?