So What Happened to Dan’s New Leaf?
I admit it.
I have failed to completely turn over Dan’s New Leaf. Those who follow my blog know that on New Year’s Eve 2009, I resolved to post a blog entry at least once per week. And, at the end of year, I only have 28 posts to show for it. So I was posting a little more than every two weeks!
Actually, that’s kind of cheating because the last Dan’s New Leaf Post, as has been pointed out to me, was way back in November. And actually, I’m cheating a bit by saying that too, because the November 9th post was the first post since September 27th.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me “so what happened to Dan’s new leaf,” and I’ve shrugged my shoulders. I just haven’t been able to find time to THINK, much less write. I’m not giving up on the idea, I just need to rethink the whole approach.
Meanwhile, the clients whose project-work was completed on-time and under-budget have got to admit that my priorities were in the right place. And we got R E A L L Y busy in the fourth quarter. I’m really happy about that, as are my partners!
But still, I DO want to commit to sharing my beliefs about Technology Risk and Information Security with my friends. I’m obsessed with Technology Risk (notice I’ve made it a Proper Noun), and I want to help my friends “keep up the guard.”
I’ve been scared by technology since I first saw the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey when I was in high school. Later, when I was in college, I wrote a poem for English class, and this is what resulted:
Thinker, not Tinker
Upton said to Edison,
“calculate the volume.”
Mathematics would not work,
he should have filled the bulb with water.
Throw away your pencils,
try to use your head.
Don’t you know technology kills,
don’t you know we’ll soon be dead?
Hey, I didn’t say it was a good poem.
(Neither did my English Teacher, if I recall.)
The point is, I’ve always been a bit paranoid about technology. Yes, I am indeed frightened by the vision of a world where people do not understand Technology Risk. Since writing that poem, movies like War Games and Tron and Terminator morphed into real live news stories starting with the Challenger Space Shuttle and ending with the BP Gulf disaster.
And now Wikileaks is threatening to attack Bank of America with a planned, mass breach of information security!
I thank the Congress of 1996 for Gramm Leach Bliley. I know, many bank executives roll their eyes in irritation when I say that, and I can’t blame them. Like anything else, “compliance” is costing much more than it should have to. I’m there. I understand that.
But if Wikileaks includes Non-public Customer Financial Information in their next big “dump,” consumers can sue them. We haven’t been able to do much about Wikileaks’ total invasion of privacy to-date. But there is a law on the books, Mr. Assange. The collateral damage on this one comes with retribution-teeth. We might not be able to hit you back when you affect our National Security, but this is America. If you hit us in our pocketbooks, we’ll hit you back. If you affect consumer privacy, we’re going to nail you.
We think things are bad because of the recent big-bank-subprime-mortgage-debacle. And they are. But what would have happened had we failed to give information security the attention it truly deserves? As a person who started waving the red flag in the late 1980’s, much to very little avail back then, I’m here to tell you that had we NOT created the documents now so fondly referred to as “the FFIEC Guidelines” or “the HIPAA Security Standard,” the world would look substantially different (and much worse) than it does today.
Imagine what would happen if “THE USER” lost faith in the internet? What would happen if people were AFRAID to log into the Internet? The Great Recession is NOTHING compared to a “Great Suppression” or “The Great Obsession” or “The Closed Session” . . . . who knows what the historians would have called it.
So . . . . . back to the New Leaf . . . I promise to post as often as I can. More importantly, I’m creating a “programmatic approach” to writing for this blog. I think you’ll enjoy the results.
Dan Hadaway CRISC, CISA, CISM
Founder and President, Infotex