You are here: Home Contents V19 N2 V19N2_Schwartz.html
Personal tools

The Next Big Strategic Play: Cybersecurity as a Competitive Advantage



Full text

Journal of Information Systems Security
Volume 19, Number 2 (2023)
Pages 115132
ISSN 1551-0123 (Print)
ISSN 1551-0808 (Online)
Tamara Schwartz — York College of Pennsylvania, York, USA
Jose Ignacio Parada — Sloan School of Management-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Fred Cohn — Schneider Electric, Boston, USA
George Wrenn — Bain & Company, Boston, USA
Keri E. Pearlson — Sloan School of Management-Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




In a world of increased cyberthreats, cybersecurity is still viewed as a necessary infrastructure cost delegated to the IT team. This research seeks to disrupt that paradigm by exploring how cybersecurity can create a strategic advantage. Theory building case study is combined with a theoretical synthesis of Porter’s Five Forces and Cusumano’s six principles of staying power to propose four strategies to achieve a competitive advantage with cybersecurity for those leaders brave enough to embrace the opportunity.




Cybersecurity, Competitive Advantage, Staying Power, Strategic Opportunity.




Amazon (2023), ‘AWS Cloud Security’,, 23 February 2023.

Apple (2023), ‘Apple Business Services’,, 28 February 2023.

Apple (2023), ‘Apple Platform Security’,, 28 February 2023.

Baran, B.E. and Woznyj, H.M. (2021), “Managing VUCA: The human dynamics of agility,” Organizational Dynamics, 50: 1-11.

Brandl, R. (2023), ‘The Most Popular Video Call Conferencing Platforms Worldwide’,, 4 January 2023.

Chaturvedi, A. (2021), ‘WhatsApp's new privacy policy 'very confusing': Signal's Brian Acton’, The, 14 January 2021.

Christensen, C.M. (2001), ‘The Past and Future of Competitive Advantage,’ MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(2): 105-109.

Cusumano, M.A. (2010), Staying Power: Six Enduring Principles for Management Strategy and Innovation in an Uncertain World, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Dillon, S. and Taylor, H. (2015), ‘Employing Grounded Theory to Uncover Behavioral Competencies of Information Technology Project Managers,’ Project Management Journal, 90-104.

Doffman, Z. (2019), ‘Google Enlists Outside Help to Clean Up Android's Malware Mess’,, 6 November 2019.

Greenberg, A. (2018), ‘The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History’,, 22 August 2018.

Hepfer, M. and Powell, T.C. (2020), ‘Make Cybersecurity a Strategic Asset,’ MIT Sloan Management Review, 62(1): 40-45.

Islam, M.S. and Stafford, T. (2017). ‘Information Technology (IT) Integration and Cybersecurity/Security: The Security Savviness of Board of Directors’. Americas Conference on Information Systems. 10-12 Aug. Boston, MA.

Miller, R. (2016), ‘How AWS Came to Be’,, 2 July 2016.

Newbert, S.L. (2008), ‘Value, Rareness, Competitive Advantage, and Performance: A Conceptual-Level Empirical Investigation of the Resource-Based View of the Firm,’ Strategic Management Journal, 29(7): 745-768.

Pearlson, K. and Huang, K. (2022), ‘Design for Cybersecurity from the Start,’ MIT Sloan Management Review.

Porter, M.E. (1979), ‘How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy,’ Harvard Business Review, 57(2): 137–145.

Porter, M.E. and Millar, V.E. (1985), ‘How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage,’ Harvard Business Review, 63(4): 149-160.

Ridder, H.G., Hoon, C. and Baluch, A.M. (2014), ‘Entering a Dialogue: Positioning Case Study Findings towards Theory,’ British Journal of Management, (25): 373-387.

Schwartz, T., Schuff, D. and Wray, M. (2019). ‘A Dynamic Cyber-Based View of the Firm’. Americas Conference on Information Systems. Aug 15-17. Cancun, Mexico.

Slack. (2020), ‘Introducing powerful new layers of enterprise-grade security’,, 7 August 2020.

Wakabayashi, Daisuke (2022), ‘Google Plans Privacy Changes, but Promises to Not Be Disruptive’, The New York Times, 16 February 2022.