Threat Never Takes A Vacation – Why the Staycation was invented

September 1, 2015 JP Blaho

I'm on vacation written on a memo at the office

Growing up, I never heard the word “staycation.” That would have been alien to me since the last think I wanted to do was stay home…that is until central air conditioning was introduced to our house. Trust me when I say I have enough personal vacation horror stories to last generations, yet anytime I see a long weekend coming up on the calendar or decide to use my PTO, I am immediately thinking about a destination other than my house.

I do not have the luxury of a large immediate family, so I do not have to debate on whether the children are old enough to actually remember a destination vacation to Orlando. My vacations are planned with two people in mind…and sometimes, just one. But as I get older, I am starting to appreciate the idea of just remaining local when taking time off. Think about it:

  • No planning necessary;
  • No reservations needed;
  • No large credit card bills due to planes, hotels, and meals out;
  • No lines, no airports, no congested highways in the middle of no where; and
  • No arguing on where to stop, eat and stay.

It really does have its advantages. Plus I look back on all the horror stories that colleagues, friends or I have experienced over the years, and a stay-at-home vacation sounds more appealing.

In this last of our blog series around threats never taking a vacation, we focus on the fact that even though risk is ever-present and complicated, the source of the threat comes from the network. Sam Curry, in his last blog of this series coming up tomorrow, discusses the benefit of using network technologies to improve your risk posture, since these technologies can provide you the most insight as they have visibility into the traffic. The network is a source of information that is not being maximized in many of today’s organizations.

One of the gotchas in today’s enterprises is that network operations and security operations are often two disparate departments. This leaves a potential gap in visibility since use cases for each department are different. As such, the information is not being shared. Do not think for one second that hackers and malicious users do not use this to their advantage. Come back tomorrow to read Sam Curry’s blog post titled “Look to the Network (for Security Innovation).”

I wrote on the staycation concept today because it focuses on the core principles of a vacation…rest and relaxation. For many other types of vacation, you don’t get to experience true R&R, because you are so focused on getting to and from the destination, checking all the must-see items off your list, or stress over making other members of your family happy that the actual intent of the vacation is lost. Maybe it is important to sometimes go back to the roots of the concept and start from there…hence the birth of the staycation…or the rebirth of a relaxing break. And like Sam says in tomorrow’s blog, looking into the network provides you with the broadest and cleanest view of what is going on. It is time to focus on this core…much in the way a staycation focuses on the core points of R&R.

So I hope you have enjoyed reading our vacation horror story blog series. Please continue to share through your own social networks — or even better, share with us your vacation horror stories. We all need to take a break. We all need time to recharge, and we all need time to prioritize the things that are important in life. The sad part is that even when you are mentally checking out from work, the cyber security threats that your organizations are up against never take a vacation. But don’t let that stop you from taking a vacation of your own. It is time to get smarter. It is time to work smarter. It is time to listen to your network. And as you do, maybe there are ways in which Arbor Networks can help…even if it is by sharing stories of what’s worked and what hasn’t.

To close out our summer vacation horror story series, I will share with you a personal family vacation experience that is one for the records:

Picture it…1983. My parents decided to head down to Disney World / Epcot Center since it was brand new. Due to weather delays, we land in Jacksonville after all the car rentals had closed, so we were stuck having to spend the night at a local Holiday Inn. The next morning, the rental car is in our possession, and we are bound to Lake Buena Vista, FL.  About an hour into the trip, our A/C breaks. As the troopers that we are, we roll the windows down in our Dodge K Car (ironically called a Reliant), and continue onward and inland.

About 10 minutes later, my Mom starts flailing her arms about like a crazy woman and screaming like she is under attack.  Apparently while the windows have been down, a bee found its way into the car and down the back of her t-shirt; this resulted in 2 stings (since the stinger didn’t come out during the first sting).  Another hour later, we arrive to the hotel, and very shortly, we are off to Epcot.

I won’t go into detail here, but imagine the most crowded park, bar, restaurant, mall you have ever experienced, multiply it by 5 and add 90 degree weather with 90% humidity, and that is what you get at Epcot Center in August the year the park opens.  Two hour lines for all the attractions…except one…World of Energy Pavilion.  Since the exhibit is air conditioned, we did not hesitate to start there.  The video was interesting.  It focused on how fossil fuels were created, so a lot of dinosaurs were all over the video screens.  Once the short film was finished, we were whisked away to these moving vehicles that would take us on a tour of history…starting with the dinosaurs.  About 2 minutes into the ride…the power goes out…trust me…the irony was not lost with us.  For the most part, the time in the parks were wonderful. But the fun stopped there.

Our flight back consisted of a layover in Newark. Once we arrived for our connecting flight, we were dealing with delays due to storms.  In the end, our flight was cancelled, and we would not get out until 6am the next day.  Since it was “an act of God,” the airline was not responsible for housing us, so we set up camp at the airport.  I took a row of chairs and made it my bed.  My parents, had set their luggage down next to them in the terminal hallway, and when they went to grab them to find a place to rest, they noticed that a metal gate came down and locked the terminal down…so my parents were outside the terminal with all of us, while their luggage was just on the other side of the gate… inside the terminal.

Mom decided to sleep against the gate to make sure her luggage was not stolen by someone in the empty terminal.  To make matters more entertaining, she managed to loop her purse strap through the gate and around the handle of her bag, so that she would detect if someone had moved her luggage while she rested.  Needless to say this did not go over well at 5:30 in the morning when the gate opened and snapped the strap off of her purse and broke the handle of her suitcase.

At 10 years old, I had a blast, and laughed the whole time…but for my Mom, and most likely my Dad, it was a horrible vacation…and the last time they went to Disney World for more than 25 years.

The post Threat Never Takes A Vacation – Why the Staycation was invented appeared first on Arbor Insights - Our People, Products and Perspective.


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