I first got involved in cyber security while working for Chevron. The company had rigid guidelines for safeguarding customer and company data–and for some violations had a zero tolerance policy, meaning you could lose your job for carelessly exposing sensitive data to online thieves. I wondered why this was even an issue for such a large, highly sophisticated company, but I’ve learned that no one, no entity is immune from attack by cyber criminals. They have invaded the highest levels of our government and the largest companies on the planet. That does not mean we are defenseless, however. Government and non-profit agencies have joined with conscientious public and private organizations to form the National Cyber Security Alliance. The Alliance has designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. For several years I have volunteered as a Champion, meaning I will be working with the Alliance to share all the resources available through the Alliance and its partners to help keep indivuals and small/medium businesses safe from Cyber Crime.
Watch for links here and on my Facebook page. Most will lead to StaySafeOnline.org, the NCSA website.
When I was a boy I had this talk with my Dad and my Grandpa about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Grandpa was in favor of police officer or firefighter because they were noble professions—they were people who put the welfare, the safety, and the security of others above their own. Daddy said soldier, sailor, or marine were good, too, for the same reasons. The conversation continued and included lawyer, judge, and Congressman. Elmo (Daddy) and Grandpa agreed that “those were noble professions.” For most of my life I’ve believed that the vast majority of public servants were noble, honorable, courageous—people of character. I’ve believed that people who chose that path, did so because they had a desire to serve, a sense of altruism, a righteous motive to do good for others. I’m not sure any of that is any longer true. To my friends in public service in Louisiana and elsewhere—please don’t be offended, I know there are still honorable men and women, serving the public good rather than serving self, but the former are in such a minority that I worry, “What chance do we have?”
What a leader ought to be: I’ve lately thought more about what our leader should be, not who necessarily, but what character traits must that person possess. It’s pretty simple—I want my leader to be brave and bold, but humble and self-effacing. I want him or her to be imaginative, creative, open-minded, not risk-averse, but not foolhardy either. I want him or her to understand the tremendous responsibility it is to be at least partially accountable for the health and welfare of others and have a true passion for serving. I want him or her to be kind, generous, and understand that making others look bad doesn’t make you look good. I want him or her to understand that their success depends on the success of those around them and he/she cannot be successful without the guidance, help, and support of the team. One person cannot be expert on everything. And, finally, I want my leader to embrace the notion of personal accountability; and, by that I mean have the courage to admit when you’ve screwed up and be willing to do whatever it takes to make up for your mistake. Is that too much to ask? Think about it . . . does my definition fit anyone you know?