For the Record – My First Confession

Many, many years ago John laid on the bathroom floor during his wedding reception near tears and screaming. This was not due to any amount of alcohol consumed, or lethargy induced by jamming out to the Foo Fighters, or (as you may assume because of the setting) food poisoning.

Nope, the reason for his tile-cuddle agony was me.

Let me back up. John is my boss, yes, but firstly he is my older brother. John’s football shoulder injury brought us together on several occasions when I was a young girl. When he threw his shoulder out by reaching into the dryer, I was the one who reset it back into place when mom and dad were gone. It was always an intense moment: a knowing nod, a count of three, a quick shove, pop and scream, and it was reset. It was something he could never do alone, and he especially needed me as we lived 40 miles from town.

His wedding reception? Well, all I wanted to do was cover the grooms face in makeup. Harmless request, really. But, he had to resist, so I sent a hackle of kids after him into the bathroom and they were a bit too effective. I felt terrible that day and still do today. Even though I was there for him to lean on time and time again, it doesn’t take away the fact that I messed up and hurt my brother.  But we’re family, we’re in this journey of life together. We’re bound together, so we forgive and move on.

Hours Before the Incident

Working at Black Hills Information Security and seeing some of our customers’ situations, I realize that the parallel of family life often shadows the business world. At times the struggles of needs versus wants, or deliberate offenses versus unintentional mistakes are very apparent. This is especially the case with Information Security. It seems that the most needed resources for IT professionals is time. Time to research, time to install, time to patch, time to log and report… time, time, time.

For those of you who work in IT departments, you know you are constantly resetting the shoulder of your corporation. Taking the time to help individuals may seem wasteful. Everyone depends on you at some point, and when they’re panicking, you’ve got them covered. In a way you’re the hidden backbone of the “family.” The time spent with coworkers, helping them through IT, social engineering, or software situations is never wasteful if spent helping to educate them as well. You’re in it together after all, right?

Never once has anyone at BHIS talked down to me for asking questions. Our penetration testers always have time to address the support staff with absolutely any question. Gracious explanations on something simple, like how to use PDF pen, lead to an openness for other matters of greater importance, like setting up two-factor authentication. It’s a relationship that is based upon trust. I feel very vulnerable when I admit that I struggle with something I know is very basic for our testers. How our testers respond to behind-the-scenes employees in turn affects how comfortable we are with potentially important situations. Again, it shadows a family. If the relationship is strong it makes bringing up mistakes and seeking any needed remediation much easier.