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The Cyber Security People Pie

Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017 in Information Security

Firstly, those close to me know that when it comes to cooking I fit into both the ‘can’t cook’ and ‘won’t cook’ categories. So before I begin this piece, I feel it’s only right to omit that I sought the help of a real chef in the making of this flavoursome written dish!

I am lead to believe, that to develop a good pie you need quality ingredients (the people), a trusted recipe (a process) and an oven to bake it (the technology). So we’re prepped and ready to bake a ‘people pie’.

Information security is a notoriously complex and technical area, yet the secret to a good recipe loved by all is to make it simple and easy to understand.

Preparation time: Dependant on experience
Cooking time: 30 minutes to a lifetime
Serves: Serves organisations of all sizes and industry sectors
Dietary: Suitable for those with anonym intolerance
Ingredients​: Mixture of personalities, good technical understanding and varied life experiences.

The Ingredients

Similarly to ingredients, we are all very different and special in our own right. It’s this blend of ingredients that make a dish tasty. We need good communicators, we need technical geniuses and we need those that will comply to follow as to deviate from the recipe can be a risky move - but an experienced chef would argue that this is where the genius happens.

Creating teams in the cybersecurity field can be challenging. As individuals, we have a tendency to be attracted to people similar to ourselves and with characteristics that mirror our own, so recruiting individuals we underestimate and don’t fully understand is usually avoided.

The value of these ingredients in their own environment can be hard to envisage. If we take the pie analogy a step further, herbs on their own are unpalatable yet added to a pie they can really enhance the flavours.

The Process

The process that we follow to pull the ingredients together is important, as to throw everything together in one bowl and hope for the best would be a recipe for disaster. The first step to baking a good pie is creating a firm base that supports all the ingredients.

An effective cyber business needs policies and procedures to form a strong crust to encapsulate the creative ingredients. Non technical communicators and project managers are a necessity to ensure that these policies and procedures are not only understood but implemented effectively.

The Technology

If you spoke to an oven salesman you might be convinced to purchase the all-singing, all-dancing, top of the range model - complete with unneeded features. But effectively you are in need of a simple oven to cook the pie. As anyone who has stumbled into PC world on a saturday afternoon would appreciate it is easy to leave with products that offer ‘life changing features’ when in reality the much simpler product would of ticked all your requirements.

The Infosec world is full of big brands like these all offering you defence in various shapes and sizes, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that their offerings hold all the answers when in reality the tools will not work without human intervention, much like a pie won’t bake itself!

Having been lucky enough to see the Cyber security Challenge in action, it is hard not to see them like an ideal herb garden, nurturing and providing for the seedlings, giving them lots of support to grow. Being involved with a challenge is akin to producing a good dish and being really proud of the effort that has gone in. Like the feeling you get once you’ve eaten a good pie - you can’t help but feel good inside!

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