How to Panic Over IT Security

Anyone can keep calm and carry on. To panic properly takes planning. Here's our tongue-in-cheek primer on doing it right.

Most in the security field offer calm and sober analysis of security situations, looking to advise how one may avoid or survive a security-based problem. But given the "alternative fact" environment of today, that is no longer good enough. Let's consider what is needed to throw an old-fashioned hissy fit about security, and how it will make you appreciated and totally respected by staff.

More than just a river in Egypt, denial is always your first step. Deny you had anything to do with the problem, and deflect all the blame onto someone else, no matter who they might be.

A user will deny he caused it, and blame IT for the poisoned email even showing up in their mailbox. One can almost hear the cries of "Why didn't the firewall work?"

If you are IT, it's the CIO's fault. The C-level is always to blame for everything, right?

The CIO can always say the CEO or the board didn't give him enough money for a project to prevent the problem. There is bound to be a study he can pull how from somewhere showing how everything would have been fine except for those pesky vermin users.

The possibilities are endless here.

Don't worry, be happy. It's already happened and nothing can be done. Just wasting effort on worrying keeps you from your real work of doing things as they always have been done.

I mean, that's why you get paid, right?

Turn a frown upside down, and smile -- darn ya -- smile!

False confidence
It won't happen again. They tried it once and they will leave you alone now. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.The firewall will surely keep out any bad stuff from the network.

And those vermin users won't make the same mistakes again. All that new encryption stuff will keep you snug and safe.

Isn't that what all of those best practices they make you read about are for? Magic that makes all the bad stuff disappear!

Hard lessons
Look at what you had to do to keep the auditors away from your stuff, and mark it down. You may have to use it again in the future.

Of course, some pictures from the office party when they got drunk won't hurt, either.

A true leader
Hold your head high even as those around you are hanging theirs. Stride into the room while being carried high by those disposable IT dweebs. Show the bullwhip only when it's needed to make you feel good.

You may have been completely wrong, but you look good while doing it. Spend some bucks on a new outfit just to keep up the look. Those folks in accounting totally respect the "bro" culture, let me tell you. Just ask the guys at Uber.

Proper panic requires planning and practice. How do your executives plan their panic? How do you? Let us know -- the world needs more tips on how it's done.

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— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.