Over the weekend I glanced at Twitter and saw a bit of hand-wringing inspired by something going on at (I think) the Baythreat in California. This is something that’s been popping up quite a bit on Twitter and in blog posts for a while now. The core of the comments centered on the problem of educating the unwashed security masses, combined with the problems induced by a compliance mentality, and the general “they don’t understand” and “security is failing” memes.
(Keep in mind I’m referring to a bunch of comments over a period of time, and not pointing fingers because I’m over-generalizing).
My response? You can probably figure it out from the title of this post.
I long ago stopped worrying about the big picture. I accepted that some people understand security, some don’t, and we all suffer from deformation professionnelle (a cognitive bias: losing the broader perspective due to our occupation).
In any risk management profession it’s hard to temper our daily exposure to the worst of the worst with the attitudes and actions of those with other priorities. I went through a lot of similar hand-wringing first in my physical security days, and then with my rescue work. Ask any cop or firefighter and you’ll see the same tendencies.
We need to keep in mind that others won’t always share our priorities, no matter how much we explain them, and no matter how well we “speak in the language of business”. The reality is that unless someone suffers noticeable pain or massive fear, human nature will limit how they prioritize risk. And even when they do get hit, the changes in thought from the experience fade over time.
Our job is to keep slogging through; doing our best to educate as we optimize the resources at our disposal and stay prepared to sweep in when something bad happens and clean up the mess. Which we will then probably be blamed for.
Thankless? Only if you want to look at it that way. Does it mean we should give up? No, but also don’t expect human nature to change.
If you can’t accept this, all you will do is burn yourself out until you end up as an alcoholic passed out behind a dumpster, naked, with your keys up your a**.
Fight the good fight. But only if you can still sleep well at night.