I grew up in the northeast. My memories of snow weren’t really good. I didn’t ski, so all that I knew about snow was that I had to shovel it and it’s hard to drive in. It is not inherently hard to drive in snow, but too many folks have no idea what they are doing, which makes it hard.

To be clear, this situation is on me. I had an opportunity to go home earlier today. But I wanted my coffee and the comfort of working in a familiar Starbucks, rather than my familiar basement office. Not my brightest decision. I figured most folks would clear out early, so it would be fine later in the day. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Evidently there are an infinite number of people in the northern Atlanta suburbs trying to get home. And they are all on the road at the same time. A few of them have rear wheel drive cars, which get stuck on the mildest of inclines. No one can seem to get anywhere.

I depend on the Waze app for navigation. Its crowdsourced traffic info has been invaluable. Not today. It has routed me in a circle, and 90 minutes later I am basically where I started. Although I can’t blame Waze – you can’t really pinpoint where a car gets stuck and causes gridlock until someone passes by. In case it wasn’t clear, no one is going anywhere.

So I wait. I read my email. I caught up on my twitter feed. I checked Facebook, where I saw that most of my friends in ATL were similarly stuck in traffic. It’s awesome.

My kids have already gone out and played in the snow. I hope the boss took pictures. I missed it. Oh well. Nothing I can do now. Except smile. And breathe. And smile again. At some point I will get home. I will be grateful.

Oh yeah, and next time I will stay home when it threatens to snow. Duh.


UPDATE: It took me about 4 1/2 hours to get home. Yes, to travel 6 miles. I could have walked home faster. But it was 20 degrees, so that wouldn’t really have worked well either. Some kids in XX1’s middle school didn’t get home until 10 PM. It was a total nightmare. My family and friends are safe, and that’s all that matters.

Now get these kids out of my hair. I have work to do…

Photo credit: This is an actual picture of sitting in traffic yesterday. What you see was my view for about an hour inching along. And I don’t normally play on the phone when I’m driving, but at that point I wasn’t really driving…

Heavy Research

We’re back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, where you can get all our content in its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too.

The Future of Information Security

Leveraging Threat Intelligence in Security Monitoring

Reducing Attack Surface with Application Control

Advanced Endpoint and Server Protection

Newly Published Papers

Incite 4 U

  1. CISOs don’t focus on technology, not for long anyway: Seems like this roundtable that Dan Raywood covered in CISOs have “too much focus on technology” is about 5 years behind the times. I spend a bunch of time with CISOs, and for the most part they aren’t consumed by technology – more likely they are just looking for products to make the hackers go away. They have been focused on staffing and communicating the value of their security program. Yes, they still worry about malware and mobile devices and this cloud thing. But that doesn’t consume them anymore. And any CISO who is consumed by technology and believes any set of controls can make hackers go away should have a current resume – s/he will need it. – MR
  2. You don’t want to know: Sri Karnam writes about the 8 things your boss wants you to know about ‘Big Data Security’ on the HP blog – to which I respond ‘Not!’ The three things your boss wants to know, in a security context, are: 1) What sensitive data do we have in there? 2) What is being done to secure it? 3) Is that good enough? The key missing ingredient from Sri’s post is that your boss wants this information off the record. Bosses know to not go looking for trouble, and just want to know how to respond when they are asked when their boss asks. If you formally tell them what’s going on, they have knowledge, and can no longer rely on plausible deniability to blame you when something blows up. Sure, that’s an ethical copout, but it’s also a career-saver. – AL
  3. Pure vs. applied research: Interesting post on Andrew Hay’s blog about why security vendors need a research group. It seems every security vendor already has a research group (even if it’s a guy paying someone to do a survey), so he’s preaching to the choir a bit. But I like his breakdown of pure vs. applied research, where he posits vendors should be doing 70% of their research in areas that directly address customer problems. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re talking about a huge IT company, then they can afford to have Ph.D.s running around doing science projects. But folks who have to keep the lights on each quarter should be focused on doing research to help their customers solve problems. Because most customers can’t think about pure research while they are trying to survive each day. – MR
  4. Mobile POS: Last week I posited that without EMV or P2P encryption we would continue to see widespread breaches of credit card data. I have talked about EMV and what I call “mobile EMV” – apps that conduct payments from your phone – though I haven’t talked about the competing Near Field Communication. Apple is applying for patents that combine NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies at merchant sites. While there will be a cornucopia of technologies at work behind the scenes, in a nutshell, you would move the cash register into your mobile device. NFC and BLE supporting services provide pricing, geo-location, and integration with merchant systems. Authentication – provided in multiple ways – is through mobile devices. Tim Horton’s has some of these basic capabilities today, with other vendors launching more advanced systems. The real impetus here is for merchants to get much more granular customer information and provide dynamic pricing and incentives, and market the value to customers as easier shopping. Still, I think better payment security is a genuine possibility and will represent a fundamental shift in how we do credit card transactions. The question is just when. – AL
  5. Everyone is in sales: Great post by Dan Wooley of the Mach37 accelerator about how the achilles heel of many security start-ups is sales. If the CEO (and the entire team) isn’t laser focused on the first handful of customers and then discovering a scalable sales execution process, they don’t have a chance. By the way, that applies to CISOs and other security practitioners as well. In that context sales is all about pushing the value of the program and persuading technology folks and business leaders to protect the data. This stuff doesn’t just happen by itself. So someone has to go sell, persuade, cajole, and otherwise take accountability for security and information protection. – MR