Now then, for the grand Part 1 of the People of Information Security. À la the triangle I posted on earlier (see somewhere below) where the People aspect floats around the triangle like a dense cloud; obscuring your clear view and posing a foggy unclarity threat.
To jot down, there are many aspects of People that we have to deal with, but let’s start with some random unstructured angles:
People are a Threat. Externally, they are the actors, not random Acts of nature. No, they, they! the people, the masses (even in Ortega y Gasset style), they exist only to attack us!
How nice if you believe such, how nice to all those that have a sense of community and either don’t care to attack you even if it could be to their (risk-weighted) profit, or even help you, tacitly or visibly, explicitly. How hard do you work to alienate all those, too? Notwithstanding that there are indeed some out there that want to attack you: Have you ever stepped into their shoes to figure out why ..? If (very big if) you really stepped into their mindset, wouldn’t you do the same because by their reasoning, you ‘deserved’ it?
People are Vulnerabilities, on the inside. They are frail, failing their duty-above-all to follow your procedures, excuse me the word F.ck the contributions to the organizational success; your procedures are sacred of course?
People are Means in information security. That’s actually what they are in the People, Process, Technology trio. Vulnerability, and Threat by the way, if they deviate from how you wanted to deploy the resource, but they can also be very powerful ‘allies’ as resource to deploy in information security, information safety [nice idea, to defuse the old phrase], information asset protection. People are the thing (sic) that might follow Process using Technology to achieve protection. People are the ones to task doing to safeguard your information assets. They may not be perfect, but they will for a long time to come be the actual actors and re-actors.
People are psychological constructs acting in sociological environments. I cannot write this often enough: Read and re-read Bruce Schneier’s Liars and Outliers, to understand how these People may operate in your artificial society called organization (oh the wishful thinking in that word…).
People then, will have to be included in security design in the prominent role they have not as an afterthough. They will have to take center stage indeed, as alpha and omega of information security organization.
We’ll have to find ways to really start with People and see how their work may be structured, and how their work may be supported (not the other way around!!) by Process and Technology. Process as a little handy tool, not as the raison d’être – an uphill struggle it will indeed be, but also sign of the times already! Totalitarian bureaucrats beware; the Age of Compliance is waning. See a future blog. Technology as a little handy tool (in big plural), not as the first to arrive and to bolt a bit of Process and very maybe even People onto here and there.
But we haven’t explored such a design direction at all, yet! We have no clue, no metholodogy, no vocabulary, to describe such a ‘design’ …
That’s where you come in; through your comments I propose to crowdsource such a methodology. Be part of it!