Changing the information security story jamie rees
Changing the Information Security
Once upon a time there was an isolated monster
called IT Security. He lived in a dark wood on the
edge of a cubicle farm where he passed his time
wallowing in FUD puddles, scratching strange
symbols on dead trees and screaming
incomprehensibly at unwary cube farmers that
wandered too close.
The farmers, other villagers and especially the
nobles of the area did not like the monster. But he
did seem to keep other dangerous beasts at bay so
they tolerated him. In some cases, when he got
really loud they would drag some offerings to the
edge of his wood and run away.
Upon receiving these offerings the monster would
quiet for a time, returning to his symbols and his
puddles, content that he had gotten attention from
the people of the village.
The villagers on the other hand would quickly forget
the monster existed until the next time they heard
his rumbles at the edge of town and the strange
And so the story repeated itself until…
An unlikely hero arrived in the village. His only power
was a love of nomenclature. He knew that people of all
sorts loved to call things by their names, he also knew
they sometimes had different names for the same
One day while out admiring his new locale and logging
the names of everything he passed, he stumbled across
The monster yelled in his incomprehensible tongue and
waved scratched his symbols in the ground. Instead of
running, the gnome looked and listened, intrigued by a
new set of names to learn.
The gnome took these new names he had learned
and returned to the village where in his library he
searched for meanings and parallels he could use to
understand the message.
After long hours of study he realized the monster’s
symbols were important warnings for the villagers.
He knew he had to get the message out.
The gnome ran to the castle, wanting to take his
message straight to the king, ‘what better way to
get the message out’, he thought, ‘then to let the
king make a royal decree.’
He was turned away. ‘The king’ he was told, ‘has
more important things to worry about;’ The
gatekeeper pointer to a poster on a nearby wall
announcing a series of important convocations. ‘he
is focused on these preparations and has no time
for the ramblings of a Gnome.’
Dejected he wandered through the village streets.
How would the people know the danger if he didn’t
get the king to tell them.
He stumbled upon a small shop. A sign out front
read J. Cordwain, Royal Shoemaker. The Gnome
went in to investigate.
The shoemaker had little time to spare. ‘I have to
make several pairs of luxury shoes for the king’s
convocations, each much be nicer than the one
before.’ If you aren’t part of the preparations I have
no time to talk.
‘Can I help?’ asked the Gnome.
The shoemaker explained that he needed several
particular pieces of leather for soles and that they
were late in coming and were impacting his ability
to deliver the shoes on time.
‘I know why they are late’. Cried the Gnome and he
told the shoemaker about the monster’s symbols.
Dangers from outside the realm are sneaking into
the nearby farms and carrying away the animals
needed to make the leather.
‘At the current rate you will only get enough leather
to make ½ the soles you need.’ he said. The
shoemaker was immediately interested.
The Gnome left the shoemaker’s shop feeling good,
he had helped his new friend and he had found out
there were others in similar predicaments,
supporting the King’s plans. With a letter of
introduction from the shoemaker in hand he set out
to find them and see if he could help.
To the bread maker he explained the monster’s
take on water in the river being blocked and
the grist mill’s trouble in making flour.
The clothier heard about mines supplying the
metal used in fancy zippers being overrun and not
being able to get ore to the smelter.
The persistent little Gnome visited every
shopkeeper he could find that was supporting the
He also continued to visit the monster and got
better a understanding the symbols and babble.
He went back and forth several times, doing what
he could to help everyone involved. Trying to
understand what was important to each of his new
friend’s, sharing information and giving advice as he
One day he received a royal
One nervous Gnome found himself back at the gate
of the castle. The poster announcing the kings
parties was still there. The gnome snatched it off
the wall, tucked it under his arm and knocked.
The gatekeeper ushered him in. ‘The king is
expecting you, you will have 10 minutes to make
your statement to the planning committee.’
The gnome was pleased to see a room full of
friendly faces. All of the people he had reached out
to in the previous weeks were there. This set him
The King motioned for the Gnome to start. “My
party advisors tell me you have some interesting
The King motioned for the Gnome to start. “My
party advisors each have told me you have some
Holding up the poster he had taken from near the gate, the
‘I believe that there are some risks to the components
required to ensure your parties are successful. The ability
for the shoemaker to deliver the required amount of shoes
has a number of dependencies…’
The Gnome began to describe for the King each of the
linkages required for the shoes to be built on time.
The King interrupted turned to the shoemaker “Is this
‘Yes, and here are my thoughts on fixing it…’ replied the
In turn the King listed to each of his advisors explain
how their ability to deliver a component of the
successful parties was at risk.
Each explained in their own terms the issues the
Gnome had brought to them.
Other than an occasional agreement, the Gnome bit
his lip and let them explain on his behalf.
The King turned to the Gnome, ‘I want you to work
with each of these businesses as you did the
shoemaker and determine which risks will impact
them the most and what can be done about them.
Further I want you to return to this meeting regularly
and tell us all the overall risk to the success of my
“Once upon a time there was a little
business capability called