[March 23, 2020]

3 ways to drive innovation in security

In 1665, during the plague in London, Issac Newton was sent home from Cambridge University and during that time he is purported to have invented calculus and the laws of motion. The time in front of all of us, is an opportunity to establish new habits and patterns of work and creativity.

Here are a few things that I am trying to adopt to make my time productive.

Reserve time to Think

Separating oneself for the daily routine whether on a weekly basis or daily basis allows for quiet time for the mind to think about problems and find creative solutions. There are strong recommendations from a variety of sources that we all need to Unplug and Dream.

“A common element of creativity stories is that the idea came during a relaxed, leisure moment, when the mind was unfocused and available to the gifts of the unconscious.”

This thinking time can help you prioritize the many conflicting priorities and tasks that you have each day.  I can’t meditate - but I do Yoga as my slow down, don’t panic and get overwhelmed. You can make lists during this thinking time. Get a notebook (preferably the non-electronic kind) and jot down the ideas and new solutions that will start to flow.

Read

Read about new companies, new ideas and select more in depth articles and maybe even a book that you will tackle. No one is watching. You can sit in your favorite chair, outside and indulge in learning and expanding your current scope of ideas.  For many (I hope myself included) this will be the time to tackle the CISSP book on the shelf. Read a chapter a week or answer 10 questions a day. Another book on my shelf is START-UP NATION, which given that I find myself at a 25 person start-up - I should get around to finishing it. If you are a novice in security, there are great blogs from companies. Try one you have never tried before. 

Even more fun are quizzes and surveys that help you access your strengths, your team’s strengths and your company’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Sign up for something free - like a RISK Assessment. Many companies are genuinely trying to help and are offering their solutions and services for free. Take advantage of the free anything to experiment, test and learn.

There is also a need to seek out material outside the IT/Security subject area that can provide inspiration for leadership, team building, and crisis management. I decided to tackle and I am now plowing through chapter 4 of A People's History of the United States by Robert Zinn. Reflecting on the past can help us prepare for the future.

Imagine the future

Try something new. A new app, a new dance, but, don’t accept the status quo. For many in technology, experimenting takes place with Proofs of Concepts (POCs) - formal programmatic testing of a new technology or solution. Without time or the structure for formal reviews, procedures and labs, it is probable that the adoption of new technology will wane in the next few months. This is also where there is an opportunity to have the most impact with new technology since the norms have changed. Try new solutions since maybe if you are lucky people are less likely to complain about minor bugs since everyone is trying to be more tolerant and understanding. 

It is important for the security community to network and share ideas. We need to support each other. Join a new channel and ask questions such as: What are you prioritizing? What new companies and solutions are you thinking about trying or have tried? 

Since you won’t be going out to learn or accidentally hear about new solutions and tools - it is your responsibility to be open to the possibility that there is an easier and better way to operate then what you and your team are doing right now.

There are new companies with solutions that can address security challenges right now. Watch one short video a day or week from a start-up you have never heard of. Then research the companies that are investing in security who are supporting the innovators like Costanoa Ventures which invested in Cyberhaven and 3 of the RSA 2020 Innovation Sandbox finalists. See who has been winning awards for innovation like Cyberhaven’s Cyber Defense Magazine awards for Cutting Edge Data Behavior Analytics and see why CISO Doug Staubach of ServiceSource congratulated Cyberhaven on their Series A with “I love the product!”

There is innovation happening everyday and you can be an active part of making sure it happens.

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