COVID - 19 The Disrupter

[Posted on Behalf of Dennis Leber Cybersecurity Executive | CISO | Board Member | Educator | Speaker | Author |]

What have we learned from this Global event?

Here are some of my thoughts; we learned getting back to basics is paramount.

In the haste to move Millions of people to remote work; many organizations and "experts" published the same message, use a VPN, strong passwords, updated anti-malware/virus solutions, update operating system(s), logically separate work data from personal, encryption, physical protection/security of your device(s), and awareness to scams, i.e. phishing, social engineering, etc.

We also learned that many organizations are not practicing the foundational tenets of cybersecurity, nor had the technical and administrative controls in place that enabled their business to transition to a remote workforce. (And guess what folks; many will not revert back - once you give them a taste, and it taste so sweet, you'll have a fight on your hands to take it.)

We learned that our BCP and DR plans were not mature or non-existent. For the folks that had them; they learned having them in a document and not practicing and rehearsing them no longer qualifies as a BCP/DR program. (hey they passed the last audit thought; right?)

We learned that maybe there is just too much nonsense in our Industry, i.e. regulations, compliances. HHS relaxed HIPAA enforcement, cause, well, Providers need to treat patients, and when it came down to it those regulations prevented that.

Back to basics and focus on the mission demonstrated that regulations got in the way. (don't respond emotionally yet; I am not advocating against a secure environment, just a review of how much nonsense and self imposed pain can we identify from this event - 'cut out the fluff)

We learned that these magic bullet vendors, and service providers deserve a little less trust than we have provided them. EVERY technology provider's gaps where fully exposed during this; Internet providers, teleconference providers, cell phone providers, data centers, on and on. How they respond, and self correct, will be the measure of success or non-existence.

We also learned the resilience of our Human race; the flexibility. We adapted quickly to work environments and kept work going. We learned if IT and Cybersecurity isn't working; no one is; we clearly learned the dependence and importance of our craft.

We learned that pulling together and sharing information propels our industry forward at light speeds, and enables a secure Enterprise for our organizations.

What do we do now? Become self aware and seek self improvement. Cybersecurity is not a competition between CISOs and companies of who is better or not; but a community effort that requires collaboration. There are Nation State actors and nefarious criminal elements that approach this with a Military operation approach that equates their efforts to war. One of the winning concepts of the Art of War is to divide and conquer.

Lose the ego, learn and grow, improve our craft, enable our businesses and each other.

We also can now see the foundational items like CIA, and the 5 foundations of NIST CSF make a lot of sense. 

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