Threat Never Takes A Vacation, Part II: Summer Camp

August 11, 2015 JP Blaho


Summer Camp! These words send chills down your spine, provide fond memories of your childhood, or offer relief from parents who are about to have an empty house for a couple of weeks. For children, summer camp is a way to bond with other kids over outdoor activities. For parents, it is a way to gain some “me” time and realize that you actually do miss your children.

Last week I shared a story around vacation preparation, and being prepared for the inevitable problems that you will incur. Remember, pain is inevitable, but the suffering is optional. It is oftentimes those bad experiences that have YOU remembering and sharing your stories for years to come. In this week’s vacation horror stories blog we will focus on a childhood experience around summer camp. There are a lot of parallels here. Keep in mind that summer camp is supposed to be a time for children to learn new activities, share their skills and bond with other children. It is a way to help them develop human interaction skills, make friends, and maybe learn to appreciate their surroundings…especially if in the wilderness.

Summer camp is a lot like work for a grown-up, especially if you are starting a new job or changing career paths. For network security individuals, it would be like learning a new threat or adopting a new technology. In this instance, it must feel like summer camp all year round. I hope they serve s’mores in your company break room, or at least good snacks. Tomorrow, our CISO Sam Curry will continue his blog series; he’ll be discussing how human mastery is the single biggest challenge for security departments. Group this with an ever growing list of threats and the following technologies to defend against these threats, and you have a serious business challenge. This is not unlike this week’s vacation nightmare.

A friend of mine moved to the United States very early in her life. It was a complete change in lifestyle, culture, and language.  I cannot imagine that experience. Imagine moving to a new country as a child with a vocabulary of maybe 10 English words. As a way to be immersed into a new life, her parents signed her up to go to summer camp.

While at camp, she signed up for fishing. This was one of her only choices, because the sign-up sheet had an image of a fish and a fishing rod, which was her way of knowing what she was signing up for. So imagine if you will, choosing an activity where silence is required (so that you do not scare the fish away). For three hours, unless someone was reeling in a fish, nothing was happening, and you were certainly not able to engage, learn or make friends. Well this was about to change.

Close to the end of the three-hour activity, she got a bite. With a fast pull of the fishing rod, the fish was hooked. From solitary confinement, she instantly becomes the center of attention. All the other kids gathered around her to encourage her to reel in this fish. In her words, “Everyone was cheering me on and helping me keep hold on the rod. I felt like quite the hero as I pulled out a silvery un-interesting fish from the lake. After just 10 seconds of the fish dangling on the hook, the cheers turned to frowns and scorns, except I couldn’t understand why. Did Americans just wear envy on their face so openly?”

This friend reeled in the fish and set it on the ground waiting for the counselor to come over and put the fish in a cooler, but nothing happened…at least nothing happened initially. All the other children started going from excitement to horror. Yelling started to ensue until a counselor came over. The counselor un-hooked the fish and threw it back into the water. As she would later learn, they were obeying a catch-and-release policy. This was a cultural difference. My friend, not knowing the culture, the rules, or the language, was not aware of this policy, and went from hero to weirdo in a matter of a minute…falsely justifying isolation from the other children.

I use this story because it reminds me of Sam Curry’s blog focusing on Advanced threat. Tomorrow we will be sharing Sam’s blog where he talks about the human factor of mastering technology. This becomes an ever-growing challenge as threats continue to evolve and evade our infrastructures. Advanced threat solutions must evolve, but even more importantly, must help users become better faster. We must bridge the gap established between better technology and better expertise. Essentially, it is a new culture that must be created, adopted and learned. We must then immerse ourselves into this new and different way of working. Like my friend, we must start over. A trait all too familiar for children as their lives are all about learning and change.

So while you think back on all those childhood vacations like summer camp, scout camp, sports camp, or that one time at band camp, come back tomorrow to read Sam’s blog titled, “Will the Real Advanced Threat Technology Please Stand Up?”

The post Threat Never Takes A Vacation, Part II: Summer Camp appeared first on Arbor Insights - Our People, Products and Perspective.


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