Okay, yes: I’m willing to flaunt my ignorant western mispronunciation just for the sake of cheap wordplay. (Although nobody around here gets it right, the correct pronunciation of Sun Tzu is closer to “Soon Tzzz.”)

In his military treatise, The Art of War, Sun Tzu asserted that all warfare is based on deception–which brings an interesting twist to Calvin Sun’s recent article “Protect your organization against pretexters with help from Sun Tzu and The Art of War.” The article draws on three of Sun Tzu’s principles to build a set of rules for organizations to follow in their war against social engineering, or pretexting–which many experts consider the greatest security threat businesses face today.

Outmaneuvering pretexters does require some of Sun Tzu’s strategies–in particular, understanding the forms of deception you’re likely to encounter (know your enemy) and being prepared to counter it (impose your will on the enemy). In the context of the business world, these strategies translate into measures such as employee education and effective policies that allow them to prevent unauthorized access without alienating legitimate business partners.

It’s strictly a matter of interpretation, of course, but I’m convinced that Sun Tzu’s treatise includes a subtext that pertains directly to the threat of pretexters:

Don’t let the bastards win.