Security's Everyman

Security's Everyman

Monday, October 06, 2008

Lessons learned from the gas shortage

Since just before Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast we have had problems with finding gas in the Atlanta area. When we are able to find it we are paying 20 to 30 cents a gallon above the national average and 50 to 70 cents above some areas. This has forced Atlantans to make changes in the way we live in many cases. We're making fewer trips to places that are unnecessary, combining trips so that we only have to go out once. Taking alternate transportation to work. Things like car pools, buses, trains, bikes, even working from home. Luckily, things are getting a better here now, at least on the supply side. The 1 - 2 hour wait for gas is over but we are still seeing several stations with little or no gas and we are still paying close to $4 a gallon.

In my opinion Atlanta needs to reconsider how we do transportation. I'm not talking about how our transit agencies are run or plan their systems. I'm talking about the average Joe and Jane Commuter. Atlantans rely way too much on their cars and way too little on other ways to get around. We tend to think nothing of making 4 trips when everything could be done in one trip. We love to drive. I assume it's so we will have more reason to complain about how bad traffic is. :)

So, how does this relate to Information Security or technology in general? I'm glad you asked! Just as Atlantans have had to come up with creative ways to handle the gas shortage we need to review creative ways to protect our networks and data. We need to look at what we have and how we can leverage it instead of buying something new. We need to look at how we are doing things and find ways to maximize our processes instead of just adding more to the pile. We need to think about how everything fits together and how we can make changes to improve security instead of making things more complex by adding additional layers. (I'm not talking about security layers but about layers that are unnecessary and make more problems than they solve).

Times are tough all over and that holds true for security programs also. As I'm writing this the Dow Jones is down 760 points for the second time in a week or so. It recovered some of the first loss but it's not getting any prettier out there in the foreseeable future. Companies are tightening belts and spending is going to slow way down and jobs are going to be lost. This is the time to get creative and show your company how you can make things better and save money. Of course creativity means risk and that may not be the best thing at the moment but at least let them know that you are thinking and working on ways to improve security w/o spending lots of money.

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