‘Last week Jeremiah “Purple Belt” Grossman posted the following question:

“You’re hired on at a new company placed in charge of securing their online business (websites). You know next to nothing about the technical details of the infrastructure other than they have no existing web/software security program and a significant portion of the organizations revenues are generated through their websites. What is the very first thing do on day 1?”

Day one is going to be a long day, that’s for certain. Like several commentators on the original post, I’d start with talking with the people who own the application both at a business and technology level. Basically, this is a prime opportunity to not only understand what the goals of the business are but also get everyone’s perceptions of their needs, and equally important their perceptions of the cost of their systems being unavailable. The next few weeks would be used to determine where reality diverged from perception. But day one is when I get to make my first impression and if I can successfully convince people that I really am on their side, it will make the rest of my tenure much easier. I’ve found that I can do so by demonstrating that my prime concern is enabling the business to accomplish its goals with a minimum of hassle from me. One of the key ways of doing this is spending my time listening, and limiting my talking to asking questions that lead my interviewee to the necessary logical conclusions rather than being a dictator….

…not that I don’t reserve the right to hit things with a hammer later to protect the business, but day 1 sets the tone for the future, and that’s far more important than putting in X fix or blocking Y vulnerability.