Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

You're the CEO of a major, respected airline.

You're watching your main competitors struggle after their biggest, newest plane--the Boeing 737 Max--has been grounded due to safety concerns.

You didn't invest in the Max, preferring to take other avenues to please your customers.

You don't really have too many worries, do you?

Well, Delta Air Lines Ed Bastian was asked by Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal about what keeps him up at night.

Would he say the price of oil? No.

Would he reveal his concerns about the strains placed on air traffic controllers? He would not.

Surely, then, he'd rail against the specter of his flight attendants and other employees deciding to join a union, something Delta has been trying to prevent in desperate, insulting ways?

Sadly not. 

Instead, his answer was simple and poignant: 

These days, cybersecurity. And it doesn't keep me awake, but I'd say this would be one of the things that I spend my time more focused on than I care to be.

It's a refreshing admission, one that must still make many customers shudder. Especially when they hear what Bastian said next: 

The people that are trying to attack are using technology to cause real harm to our business.

In general, corporations are very, very quiet about the truths of cybersecurity.

Many, shamefully, don't inform customers when a hack has occurred. Even when it comes out, they claim only a few customers were affected. 

Only months or even years later does it emerge that tens of millions of customers had their data stolen.

Yet the true portent of Bastian's words surely stretches beyond mere hacking.

As planes are increasingly dependent on software, some fear the very systems that fly the planes could be subject to nefarious interference.

Why, here's the U.S. government itself expressing that very fear just last year. It really did use the phrase "only a matter of time."

This isn't to scaremonger (excessively), but we've built systems upon systems that are reliant on more systems.

Those who design and use them have faith that everything is secure.

Yet, as Bastian says, such are the intentions of some evil actors that just one terrible event could trigger unimaginable fear.

With the understandable customer angst over the 737 Max, the last thing airlines want is an atmosphere of even greater fear.

They know, though, how hard it is to ensure absolute safety in a world that's gone just a little crazy.

Published on: May 19, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.