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6/18/2012
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Ironman And Captain America Fight Over Compliance

Defending your company requires both warriors and soldiers

The big movie hit this year, "Marvel's The Avengers," is a fun, action-packed film. As most of you know, The Avengers are an ensemble cast of superheroes brought together to save the world when all else has failed.

A strength of this movie is the time it spends watching these superheroes as they work out their differences and learn how to work together. The movie is more a story about people, egos, and relationships than about heroes and alien attackers. How do we see ourselves? Who is important and why? Why should we work together instead of alone?

Tony Stark, a.k.a., IronMan, is an egotistical, witty genius with little regard for the rules. This, of course, rubs Captain America -- a wholesome, by-the-book soldier with a mission to follow -- the wrong way. This is similar to the personalities I see in the business world, from savvy security experts to focused compliance gurus.

Like Tony Stark (who also happens to own a company that makes weapons for defense), security experts know that the bad guys are not following the rules and are not bogged down in bureaucracy. To stop these bad guys, you have to have at least a little bad guy in you. The guys and gals focused on plans and compliance just seem to hold you back from your job of saving the planet, network, and passwords.

Captain America and the compliance experts know the value of a clearly defined plan. Without such a plan, you cannot safely coordinate the troops or the team. They all know that an every-man-for-himself strategy gets people killed or at least creates an embarrassing data breach (just ask LinkedIn). Discipline and planning (i.e., compliance) strengthen any team from those who would wish to harm it, and protect it from those within who lack the proper ethics or discipline.

Ironman and Captain America finally figured out they needed each other, as well as the rest of the Avengers, to save the Earth so the rest of us can spend our days defending networks and buying tickets to movie sequels. Their resolution was not really about compromise; each ultimately remained just as much a believer in his approach as before. No, it was about learning that to take on the really bad guys, each brings something valuable to the fight the other one needs.

To save the planet and protect your information, you need an Ironman to be the warrior and a Captain America to be the soldier. Security needs innovative warriors who still understand the value of the thoughtful compliance soldiers. These same compliance soldiers need adaptable security warriors to implement their strategies with timely tactics. To be successful, security and compliance staffs must work together to innovate within the plan while also planning to allow appropriate innovation.

If you work in security or compliance in your organization, then remember that your business world needs you to be a team. We’re counting on you, so make us proud. And let me know if you to find a good shawarma restaurant.

Glenn S. Phillips, the president of Forte' Incorporated, works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks within. He is the author of the book Nerd-to-English, and you can find him on Twitter at @NerdToEnglish.

Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

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