You can't secure what you don't acknowledge.SM

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Don't get blinded by the "small stuff" that's hard to notice

One of the core challenges you face in information security is getting so caught up in the minutiae of your network environment and day-to-day work that you end up not being able to see the bigger picture: what's really going on, what really needs attention, and what really matters. I've been writing about this for over a decade and I've yet to stop spreading the word...it's just too important a topic to ignore.

Not seeing the forest through the trees impacted me and my family recently. It's about our dog, Lady. As you can see, Lady was a beautiful girl who was also smart, loyal, and a determined guard dog, weighing over 50 pounds in her prime. As Lady grew older, she had health problems that we were aware of, yet didn't fully understand. These issues started several years ago when she was diagnosed with a spinal problem that affected her ability to walk/run and stay balanced - something called degenerative myelopathy. Thanks, in large part, to the Help'EmUp dog harness, we learned to manage this condition. It just became part our daily routine.

Then dementia set in. Lady's behavior was marked by endless pacing around the house, not connecting with us mentally/spiritually/emotionally like dogs do with their families, and a slowly diminishing appetite. We knew the problems were there but didn't "get" how bad they were becoming...In recent months, everything started moving very quickly. After witnessing her immobility and dementia getting worse and worse, along with some great guidance from my friend and fellow racer, Dr. Alan Cross, we knew it was her time.

Here's the shocker: once we took took Lady to the vet to end her suffering, we realized that she had lost 15 pounds from her peak...! We had no clue it had gotten that bad. Sure, we knew she wasn't well and was looking skinny, but we certainly weren't prepared to hear that she had lost nearly a third of her body weight in such a short period. Any doubts about what we were doing vanished when we learned this. We felt badly, yet blessed. Lady is now in a better place. God bless her soul.

I wanted to share this story with you because being blinded by what's going on under your very nose can (and will) impact you if you're not careful - especially in information security. Don't let security problems sneak up on you to the point where someone else (i.e. a criminal hacker or rogue insider with ill intent) shows you how bad they really are. It happens to the best of them and it can happen to you. Be proactive. Know the facts. Do something about your weaknesses sooner as opposed to later.

Lady, you're dearly missed. Cheers to having wonderful pets that make a difference in our lives!

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