Security Lessons from Nature – Cacti
Recent research has shown that some species of cactus manage to grow on bare rocks with the help of bacteria. Basically, the bacteria breaks down the rock to give the roots crevices into which to grow as well as provide nutrients to the cactus. In turn, the cactus likely shelters the bacteria and allows it to grow and spread.
There are two items of interest in the article. First, there is the basic observation that, though neither plants nor bacteria are capable of living exposed on bare rock (well, mostly), through combining forces, they manage to live in an inhospitable environment. Since the environment is also inhospitable to many competitors, they can expend more energy towards growth and less towards defense. Second is the realization that the cacti have managed to shelter the bacteria within their seeds. This way, not only do the cacti themselves manage to thrive but their children get the same benefit.
From a security perspective, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal of security is to maximize protection while minimizing resource expenditure. Commonly, this is done by erecting barriers and monitoring them to make sure that only the right people can get through. However, alternate methods do exist. Taking a lesson from the cacti, one would look for business niches that difficult for other businesses to thrive within. Then, one would seek out business partnerships to make it easier.
Such a path would not be for everyone, and after all, live as a cactus may be a tad… prickly. However, if you are starting a new business, this sort of partnership may allow you to protect your business simply by making it more difficult for competitors to gain a foothold, and allow you to focus more directly on growth.