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Lessons on Human Vulnerability within InfoSec/Cyber



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Truths and lessons from a cybersecurity consultant who shares his experience with failure, vulnerability and the lessons we can all take forward to be kinder and healthier professionals.
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Lessons on Human Vulnerability within InfoSec/Cyber

  1. 1. Human Vulnerability: Truths & Lessons Harry McLaren - Managing Consultant @ ECS
  2. 2. Who Am I? Harry McLaren • Alumnus of Napier University • Managing Consultant at ECS [Security] –Role: Security Engineer, Lead Splunk Consultant for Big Data • Voluntary Roles: –Current: Trustee @ Positive Realities –Former: Training Coordinator @ Edinburgh Nightline
  3. 3. Why Am I Here? • A Case for Human Vulnerability –Relevance/Importance? –Common Default Behaviours & Traits –Audience Participation via Poll –A Story of Weakness and [Lack of] Vulnerability –Root Cause Analysis into Feeling Overwhelmed –Call to Action –Resources & Questions ~45mins
  4. 4. Mental Health Awareness Week (W/C 14th of May) Research by Mental Health Foundation Felt Overwhelmed by Stress in Last 12 Months 7.5 of 10 Felt Stress Triggered Suicidal Feelings in Last 12 Months 3.2 of 10
  5. 5. Cover Up Mistakes Obscure Weaknesses Always Be “Professional” Don’t Discuss Feelings Ignore Human Vulnerability Strength? Perfection ? Common Behaviours & Traits Not Always, Not Everybody
  6. 6. Here’s a Couple of Questions… Completely Anonymous!
  7. 7. Poll: Have you ever felt anxious, worried or stressed at work? • INSERT POLL (Via –Yes, and it has impacted me at work. –No, but it has impacted me outside of work. –No, but I often have to listen/help others who do. –No, I don’t feel this way.
  8. 8. Poll: Have you ever felt the need to cover up these types of feelings? • INSERT POLL (Via –Yes, often. –Yes, but rarely. –No, I can be open at work about these feelings. –No, as I don’t experience them at work.
  9. 9. Poll: Would you see it as weak to share these types of feelings? • INSERT POLL (Via –No, I often share these types of feelings. –No, but it should be kept to a minimum. –Yes, I don’t think it’s appropriate at work. –Yes, these feelings should be kept inside.
  10. 10. In the Nature of Sharing A Story of Weakness and [Lack of] Vulnerability  Failure  Fatigue  Doubt  Fear of Exposure Imposter Syndrome?
  11. 11. Root Cause Analysis: What What Caused Me to Get Overwhelmed? No Self Care Didn’t take a time-out, get headspace and failed to engage support systems. Wasn’t Vulnerable Chose to ‘go it alone’ and failed to get help earlier before imposter feeling inhibited call for support. Failure x2 First felt the primary failure at work, then felt the failure and shame of my weakness.
  12. 12. Root Cause Analysis: Lessons Learned SELF AWARENESS Be more aware of my weaknesses and be kind to myself about them. MINDFULNESS Check-in with my feelings and allow them to exist without judgement or angst. EMPATHY Listen to what my mind is telling me and allow myself time to reflect and share. VULNERABILITY Be brave and share my thoughts and feelings, and promote others to do the same.
  13. 13. Root Cause Analysis: Why Why Did I Behave / Not Behave Like That? “Feeling like an imposter is stupid, you’re awesome and should just get on with it and stop being a <insert sexist remark>!” ”Professionals always get the job done, no matter what, that’s what being a consultant means!” “I can’t believe you don’t know that! It’s simple...” Examples; not personally experienced quotes!
  14. 14. Kindness Be kind to yourself, and be kind to your colleagues. Self Care Take the time to learn about your feelings, and then explore ways of caring for them better. Emotional Resilience Build up emotion resilience, not by burying feelings, but learning where they come from and how to release them. Empathy Try to connect with what’s going on under the surface, not just the raw emotion on top. Sharing is Caring Being open and honest about what you’re feeling helps a lot! Empowerment Allow yourself to be ‘weak’ and trust those around you with your vulnerability. Call to Action: Try Vulnerability #everyinteractioncounts
  15. 15. Resources Techniques • Mindfulness • Wellbeing Courses • Mental Health • School of Life Helplines • Samaritans • Nightline • SANE References • Mental Health Foundation • NHS Learn Practice Be Heard Research
  16. 16. Questions? @cyberharibu Connect and Say Hello! Splunk User Group Cyber Scotland Connect

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