Security Fatigue is a Hacker’s Dream

Fatigue is a very real problem, one that many are facing amid the pandemic. Security fatigue is real, but now is not the time to let your guard down.

Life on Earth has been turned upside down, inside out and reversed what seems like a million times over the last nine months. Technology has surged and we’ve found new uses for old methodologies and found ways to update processes to streamline business. We’ve adapted to remote work, work from home, contactless payments, contactless delivery, social distancing and wearing masks. We’ve adjusted to using technology for just about everything in life, from telehealth appointments to online grocery shopping to creating startups. But with that came all of the security problems that have dominated the news of late, which is causing security fatigue everywhere.

Because of the plethora of security issues that have plagued us recently, the entire business community is burning out on security, but now is not the time to waver. The more burnt out we get, the more hackers will push and try to get information from under our noses. When our eyes and brains get tired of looking at the same thing, reading about the same topic over and over, we start to miss things. It’s why writers have editors, because you can only look at the same text so many times before your eyes skim over transposed letters and misspelled words that aren’t caught by spell check because they are still words, just the wrong form. 

COVID fatigue is real, security fatigue is real, burnout is real, and the problems caused by both are equally as real. This is one of the reasons we always say to hire an expert to help you. An expert can provide an outsider’s view into your business operations, they can see things that you and your employees might not otherwise see due to fatigue. An expert isn’t hired necessarily because you don’t know how to do something. It’s entirely possible that you DO know how to do things, but because your brain is used to seeing what’s in front of you on a daily basis, you are bound to miss something.

On top of the extra set of eyes, experts also know the best practices for getting things done. This doesn’t mean that they have a cookie-cutter process for things, but that their processes are adapted for each unique situation and able to be adjusted on the fly when problems occur. They know how to handle the twists and turns of a project and how to overcome obstacles in a way that promotes security and efficiency.

You could have the best Tech team, DevOps team, Security team, etc. in the world and you would still benefit from hiring an expert. No one is exempt from fatigue, no one is perfect and no one person is the be-all, end-all of anything. Even if what you’re doing with your business doesn’t involve technology at the moment, there’s still an expert in that area you can call.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Android, Apple, Cloudflare, FireEye and the dozens of other businesses which have headlined the news for various vulnerabilities, configuration problems and/or breaches have some of the top security teams in the world. They procure the best talent they can, utilize layers of security and regularly apply updates and features to ensure stability, and yet they still have the same problems all businesses do. Nothing makes your team exempt from making similar oversights.

The truth is that no one is exempt. We are all human. The sooner business leaders realize that the complicated corners of tech are actually R&D that require a level of expertise and oversight, the sooner those businesses will have the protection they need to survive. Securing your business is more than firewalls and geofences. It’s secure coding, proper testing, educating employees about security and phishing schemes and ensuring that your front-line employees know the role they play. As a business leader, you have a lot on your plate as it is, so take a breath and understand that fatigue is normal. Let someone else help you. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is affecting everyone. Any cost you incur hiring an expert is easily less expensive than the cost incurred from a breach.

Business leaders are human, too, they don’t like change and they don’t trust outsiders. But now is not the time to hide behind pride, now is the time to put that away and make sure your business is taken care of. Now is the time to put the business needs and the needs of its employees ahead of everything else. Don’t be stubborn. Do the right thing. Bring in some help.

About the Author

Pieter VanIperen, Managing Partner of PWV Consultants, leads a boutique group of industry leaders and influencers from the digital tech, security and design industries that acts as trusted technical partners for many Fortune 500 companies, high-visibility startups, universities, defense agencies, and NGOs. He is a 20-year software engineering veteran, who founded or co-founder several companies. He acts as a trusted advisor and mentor to numerous early stage startups, and has held the titles of software and software security executive, consultant and professor. His expert consulting and advisory work spans several industries in finance, media, medical tech, and defense contracting. Has also authored the highly influential precursor HAZL (jADE) programming language.

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