How often do we take a drive and realize what we see around us? I know I can drive to and from work, or to a familiar destination and never see what is around me. I am not talking dangerously oblivious, mind you, but sometimes you miss the details of what you pass. Then one day you take some time, for whatever reason, to look and actually see. Typically the phrase “I don’t recall seeing that before” comes to mind in these situations. This behavior isn’t just limited to driving, but to any task we may do that could be considered mundane or repetitive. If this becomes commonplace in our routines, it can affect how well we perform our jobs, and potentially lead to critically missed opportunities.
Stick a Fork in it
Occasionally my family decides to have pancakes for breakfast, but more frequently we have them for dinner. My kids favorite of the three varieties I make are chocolate chip. I make three different kinds because you never know when someone is in the mood for one type, and if you make just one or two you are more than likely going to disappoint someone. In addition to the favorite chocolate chips, I also make blueberry and plain. Since the crucial ingredients are not thrown in until the batter is on the griddle it is very easy to make “custom” meals.
Recently, my oldest son decided he likes both blueberry and chocolate chip. It seemed like any other meal, and we had just had pancakes the previous weekend. I made them the same way, all the while to the chanting of three little voices saying “we want chocolate chip” and one little tiny voice saying “dadadadada”. I brought the plates to the table full of pancakes and everyone claimed their favorites. As I was helping my daughter get some pancakes on a fork I heard a sudden surprised exclamation from my oldest son on the opposite end of the table. As I began to turn I could see a look of surprised laughter on my wife’s face. She was trying to hold it back, but as I completed the turn to look at my son I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. All over his face was blueberry, in little speckles indicating something had burst. “I just stuck my fork in it to cut it and it exploded” were his first words. The whole table burst into laughter and we continued to eat our meal, but with caution.
Take it In
When we talk about technology and information security, we know that the landscape for threats is always changing. A person responsible for maintaining systems could sing the horrors of having to make sure all systems are properly patched. Likewise, those who are responsible for monitoring threats to the technology receive new information continuously about areas most at risk. In this fast paced world we try to keep up, but find we are always one step behind. We are left to maintain and defend from the known, while someone plans the unknown. Do we just give up, throw our hands in the air and walk away? Perhaps we need to take in all that we have missed while fighting the fires of the day.
In the information security community, we need to put our fears aside and see all that is around us. Putting ourselves in the mindset of someone who wants what we have can make us feel uneasy but it gives us a new perspective. It helps us identify areas others might want to try as an attack vector, and then makes us evaluate the risk and implement a strategy based on the threat. I know that taking time away from our responsibilities seems like a fantasy, but what we may find is that we streamline our everyday tasks by attacking our own thinking. We marvel at how fast technology moves and lament when we don’t get the features we desire now. For all the lamenting, we tend to keep our thinking a few technologies behind. There will come a time, if we continue on that path, where something will blow up in our face. Better to take in what’s around us at least once in a while to see what we are missing. We might possibly get the upper hand.