I have to admit that some days I have no idea what will resonate with readers. For example, my latest column over at Dark Reading seems to be generating a lot more interest than I expected.
For a few months now I’ve been bothered by all the pile-ons every time some organization gets hacked. Sure, some of them really are negligent, and others are simply lazy or misguided, but the rest really struggle to keep the bad guys out. There’s never any shortage of experts with hindsight bias ready to say X attack would have been stopped if they only used Z security best practice. It’s like a bunch of actors sitting around going “I could have done it better”.
Frequently this ‘advice’ is applied to a large organization which “should know better”. But these critics consistently fail to account for the cost and complexity of doing anything at scale, or for (universal) resource constraints.
This was the inspiration behind Simple Isn’t Simple. Here’s a quote:
This isn’t one of those articles with answers. Sure, I can talk all day about how users need to operationalize security more, and vendors need to simplify, consolidate, and improve functionality. But in the end those problems are every bit as hard as everything else I’m talking about and won’t be solved anytime soon. Especially since the economics aren’t overly favorable.
But we can recognize that we rely on complex solutions to difficult problems, and blaming every victim for getting hacked isn’t productive. Especially since you’re next.
Security is hard. It’s even harder at scale. And we need to stop pretending that even the most basic of practices are always simple, and start focusing on how to make them more effective and easier to manage in a messy, ugly, real world.
I thought is was the usual analyst BS, but I guess there’s something more to it…