cyber-security, paranoid, business, protection

The Security paranoia game you didn’t know you were playing…yet you already lost

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If you are paranoid about your security, then it is either poor and endangered or safe and protected. It depends on how you define the term “paranoia”.
The traditional definition of paranoia is “unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people” but when we are discussing security the term takes a completely different meaning.

Why?

Challenging our perception of things (how we make meaning of them) alters our actions, and our actions are the most important contributors to our personal and business protection.
Words do not define the meaning and if you want to stay ahead of the security game you need to be the one creating meaning around your protection levels.
This meaning does not come from using traditional terms, but instead, it comes from a deep understanding of the context related to the term employed.
Unfortunately, as human beings we make assumptions and projections at a subconscious level. Assumptions we never questioned and examined carefully regarding their validity when we extended the use of a term to a different context. Most of the time though, the terms we use lightly are very powerful in reference to our security levels and should be examined extensively.
Coming back to the term “paranoia”, what does it mean for security?

There are three mindsets on how to define paranoia in relation to security.

  • Mindset 1 – Taking the wrong direction: Someone who has no specific plan, nor knowledge of security and is desperately doing anything that comes across his/her mind.
  • Mindset 2 – Risking everything: Someone who risks destructing his/her assets because even though the world around has made security a priority, this person does nothing to protect their business and personal belongings.
  • Mindset 3 – Solid security foundation: Someone who has habits, methodologies and measures around security, which in many cases seem over the top for the majority. Do not be fooled, there is no such thing as excessive security. Extreme security is a myth.

Let’s analyze mindset 1: When you are doing everything randomly and have no path to follow for your security, you have no way to measure its effectiveness, if any, and you are consistently contributing to a chaotic situation which gets you frustrated, confused and leaves you unprotected. Most of the time this mindset leads you to mindset 2.

This is why a security strategy is an essential and valuable tool because it is all about how to get to your goal, which is protection of your assets. In the rush of reacting to our always evolving threat environment we usually buy into the temptation of new trends and fancy tactics. However, there is a big difference between strategy and tactics you have to be aware of. Tactics are tools and resources and are great, but only when aligned with your strategy that defines your way toward the result you want to achieve. In conclusion, if you don’t have a security strategy and are randomly employing security tactics based on trends, you fall into mindset number 1 of security paranoia. Furthermore, you waste money and energy while the result will be – less effectiveness.

Let’s analyze mindset 2: I’d like to emphasize that your security levels depend on your beliefs about security. If you avoid security because you find it complicated, you are in danger of attacks. However, I do not blame people who fall into this mindset. In the past, security was an additional feature to designs and it was forceful, complicated, and intrusive to people’s lives and work. When you are forced to do something that stands between you and the task you want to complete, it is normal to feel frustrated and want to avoid it. With time, this association of security with something you want to avoid became so engrained, that people just switch off when they hear the term.

I understand that. However, things changed, and currently, by avoiding security measures you leave yourself open to danger, so my mission is to reverse your negative mindset around security with simple steps that will show you that security can be easy, simple and fun.

This is why I define paranoia based on the third mindset, and when people ask me:

– What does it feel like to be so paranoid about my security?

I reply:

It feels safe! The reason is that you do exactly the opposite of the first two mindsets about security:

  • You notice both the traditional and new dangers around you?
  • You are committed to discovering easy ways to secure your assets and you constantly find ways to remove your negative mindset about security,
  • You follow a plan, which is defined by what you want to achieve,
  • You do not fear the fact that systems will fail, because you have alternative measures in place that can defeat that, and
  • You are not upset about the things you do not currently have. You can always think creatively to turn the things you have into protection for your valuable assets. Moreover, you know you can improve and expand your security with time.

The most important message I want you to get from this article is that:

Security is a thinking process. It is a state of mind!

It does not rely on the use of specific software or tools. It is the way to strategize your protection levels. It relies on your ability to remain in control of a situation.

Extending a saying by Dr. Dolf de Roos, “The most valuable asset you have for your security is the six inches between your right and left ear. It’s what you create in that area that determines your security. We are only really limited by our mind.”

You see, cyber-security is a game, a very catastrophic one if you do not remain in control and ahead of the cyber-criminals. Cyber-criminals  have the power to cause a disaster, but only if you are willing to let them do so.

The reality is that security paranoia is a matter of prospective. Sometimes we do not even take the time to think about important terms and how we interpret them but, those terms affect our personal and professional entities. One of those terms is Security Paranoia.

Over to you now. If you found this article useful share it with other people. Remember, the fight with the cyber-criminals is a collective effort and each of us can contribute to this. I would also like to have your thoughts on the following:

  1. BASED ON WHICH MINDSET DO YOU DEFINE SECURITY PARANOIA?
  2. Is that definition serving your personal and business protection?
  3. Do you think it’s time to reconsider how you define terms and what they mean for you?
  4. Most importantly what do you believe:

Security Paranoid = endangered OR Security Paranoid = Protected?

I cannot wait to hear your comments so leave them below and let’s continue the conversation.

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