Rule Number One: Protect Yourself

It must be summer. There have been several weeks of back-to-back security conferences, symposia and seminars. After 25 years in the security business, and speaking or attending at dozens and dozens of these gatherings, I am confident I could easily...

Flash mob violence in Philadelphia and the riots in London were seemingly abetted by our communication technologies. In London, there were calls for shutting down Twitter accounts to stave off violence. Whether government officials like it or not, this form of security threat must be dealt with in the streets, and not in cyberspace. I would hope our representatives remember to look up the Bill of Rights before contemplating such knee-jerk reactions to events that occur here in the United States.

Remember the first rule of security? It is to always ensure you take responsibility to protect yourself (and your family) first. It is as vital for our personal security concerns as it is for the job we perform for others. Looking to government for answers (and ultimately oversight) has serious limitations. Just look at how well our representatives have been able to handle that most basic task — hammering out our federal budget.

There is an important role for government leaders to play, but they (and we) should remember that setting a good example is always the most productive form of guidance.


John McCumber is a security and risk professional, and author of “Assessing and Managing Security Risk in IT Systems: A Structured Methodology,” from Auerbach Publications. If you have a comment or question for him, e-mail