In a recent column for the Wall Street Journal, tech writer Christopher Mims recalled the “six laws of technology” posited by historian Melvin Kranzberg more than 30 years ago. Per Mims, Kranzberg, a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, wrote his “laws” during the Cold War to “explain society’s unease with the power and pervasiveness of technology.”
As Kranzberg noted in his work, “Many of our technology-related problems arise because of the unforeseen consequences when apparently benign technologies are employed on a massive scale.”
This observation struck us as particularly relevant today as businesses confront the challenges of tightening cybersecurity, expanding cloud services and increasing mobility. Reflecting on three of Kranzberg’s laws that seem to relate directly to cybersecurity, cloud and mobility, we see IT Managed Services Providers (MSPs) as a powerful means of coping with these issues:
- Kranzberg: “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral”
To say a threat like ransomware, which analysts estimate costs companies billions of dollars a year, is “neither good nor bad” seems counterintuitive in the least. But as we argued in a recent post, cybersecurity is the type of business issue that becomes competitive advantage or operational disaster depending on the way you manage it – e.g., whether you choose to tackle the challenge alone or seek the support of an expert MSP. Choosing the latter course could help your firm not only cope, but thrive.
- Kranzberg: “Invention is the mother of necessity”
Yes, you read the line above correctly. It’s backward from what you’re accustomed to seeing. But Kranzberg was right. Technological inventions tend to necessitate many more of the same. Take the cloud, for example. With all its business benefits of reliability, flexibility, manageability and scalability, comes a bundle of possible pitfalls. See our recent “cloud mistakes” post for the ways an expert MSP can help you maximize the cloud’s advantages while minimizing its risks.
- “Technology is a very human activity”
As we shared in a recent post about artificial intelligence (AI), business growth in the digital age only continues when human creativity and empathy is applied to technological innovations. Mobility solutions are an excellent example of this truth. Devices such as smartphones and tablets enable your staff to work from any place at any time. But they also increase your risk of data breaches and multiply your business continuity requirements. Mobility can be a productivity boost or a quagmire of inefficiency for your employees depending on the policies you set – and the technical experts you retain to support them.
Assessing cybersecurity, cloud computing and mobility requirements takes a deliberate, phased approach, which accounts for needs that vary by industry and the markets you serve. MSPs can help with this long-cycle process – and, meantime, fill any technical skills gaps you have.