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On Security

Security spelled out underneath a padlock

I was visiting with a friend recently when the topic of Target’s security breach came up. We both had been part of the massive data breach and lost some of our banking information. We both had replaced our credit cards and that is where the similarities ended.

Although alarming as this latest breach was, it did not really impact my consciousness or my day-to-day consumer habits.  We live in a world where data is our identity and I have taken certain steps to secure myself and those I care about.

My friend, on the other hand, was outraged; he could not believe that this had happened. I don’t want to misquote him, but he emphatically stated, “I will never use my credit card again at Target!”  Ridiculous…yes, but a very real feeling for those who are not aware of the constant threats and vulnerabilities we all face daily.

It reminds me of Lt. Col Dave Grossman, author of   On Killing and On Combat . According to Grossman, the human population can be divided into three groups: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. I won’t go too far into the psychology of it here, but his primary point is that there is no safety in denial and there is no redemption in outrage after tragedy. That is the way of the sheep.

My friend, WHO I LOVE DEARLY is a sheep. The same guy who, will NEVER use his credit card again at Target, logs onto unknown free Wi-Fi connections, has an unlocked smartphone, uses his corporate email to enter online sweepstakes and register for social networking sites. Ignorance is bliss.

The sheep is in need of protection from the wolves, and that IS the role of the sheepdog.  

Maintaining a secure posture whether physical or data, requires constant evolution and is dependent upon the individuals or companies’ ability and willingness to:

  1. Admit that security threats (wolves) exist
  2. Continuously take action to reduce their vulnerability and prepare

Executives from the Fortune 500+ companies are becoming increasingly aware of security breaches and vulnerabilities. Some are embracing the Boy Scouts motto: “Be Prepared”, whereas the cynic in me thinks it has more to do with their board induced culpability in the stability of the corporation’s security posture.

Be the sheepdog for your clients

When breaches like Target are reported in the news, take the opportunity to ask your clients this question, “Have you taken steps to prevent AND plan for a breach of your data security?”

Position yourself as the sheepdog with your clients, and offer to review their security posture with Quest’s Security for the Half Day Assessment. Discuss the last time they conducted a security audit or performed an Application Security Scan .

There have been amazing developments in product features from the Security vendors as well as hosted SIEM offerings from Cloud Services Providers. Quest established its Managed Security Services practice 15 years ago and has been evolving with the market and the threats ever since.  

Security is not something that can be fixed with a single transaction, it demands a long-term sustainable strategy and that means ongoing revenue streams for you. You can build great credibility with your clients by engaging in the security discussion early and often to make sure your clients’ organization is secure.


Meet the Author
Adam Burke is Quest's Vice President of Sales and Partnerships.
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