Thanks to some bad timing on the part of our new daughter, I managed to miss the window to refresh my EMT certification and earned the privilege of spending two weekends in a refresher class. The class isn’t bad, but I’ve been riding this horse for nearly 20 years (and have the attention span of a garden gnome), so it’s more than a little boring.

On the upside, it’s bringing back all sorts of fun memories from my days as a field paramedic. One of my favorite humorous/true anecdotes is the “Rules of Emergency Medicine”. I’ve decided to translate them into security speak:

  1. All patients die… eventually. Security equivalent: You will be hacked… eventually. It sucks when you kill^H^H^H^Hfail to save a patient, but all you’re ever doing is delaying the inevitable. In the security world, you’ll get breached someday. Maybe not at this job, but it’s going to happen. Get over it, and make sure you also focus on what you need to do after you’re breached. React faster and better.
  2. All bleeding stops… eventually. Security equivalent: If you don’t fix the problem, it will fix itself. You can play all the games you want, and sponsor all the pet projects you want, but if you don’t focus on the real threats they’ll take care of your problems for you. Take vulnerability scanning – if it isn’t in your budget, don’t worry about it. I’m sure someone on the Internet will take care of it for you. This one also applies to management – if they want to ignore data breaches, web app security, or whatever… eventually it will take care of itself.
  3. If you drop the baby, pick it up. Security equivalent: If you screw up, move on. None of us are perfect and we all screw up on a regular basis. When something bad happens, rather than freaking out, it’s best to move on to the next task. Fix the mistake, and carry on. The key of this parable is to fix the problem rather than all the other hand wringing/blame-pushing we tend to do when we make mistakes.

I think I’m inspired to write a new presentation – “The Firefighter’s Guide to Data Security”.