Pause and Think

Monday, March 16, 2015

A 2005 article on "The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security" isn't merely a treasure trove of still-good (and largely unimplemented) computer security advice, it offers a cornucopia of insights into other, more general, situations. I'll take the risk of sounding self-congratulatory by noting, the following example, of how wise late adoption of new technology can be:

IT executives seem to break down into two categories: the "early adopters" and the "pause and thinkers." Over the course of my career, I've noticed that dramatically fewer of the "early adopters" build successful, secure, mission-critical systems. This is because they somehow believe that "Action is Better Than Inaction" - i.e.: if there's a new whizzbang, it's better to install it right now than to wait, think about it, watch what happens to the other early adopters, and then deploy the technology once it's fully sorted-out and has had its first generation of experienced users. I know one senior IT executive - one of the "pause and thinkers" whose plan for doing a wireless roll-out for their corporate network was "wait 2 years and hire a guy who did a successful wireless deployment for a company larger than us." Not only will the technology be more sorted-out by then, it'll be much, much cheaper. What an utterly brilliant strategy!
In the same vein, it was instructive, not to mention entertaining, to see how one man used a conversation over a $200 dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to save over four hundred thousand dollars on a technology his company was contemplating.

-- CAV

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