27 Feb 2008

    At a recent wedding I attended a woman was clamoring about not knowing how to use her digital camera. Apparently no one had shown her how to work it. This reminded me of a basic principle we often overlook in IT and security. It’s reading the fine – or freaking or whatever – manual (RTFM).

    Whenever you have a question or don’t know how to use your latest security product, interpret the latest regulation, or properly implement a security process in your environment, it’s often best to find out answers on your own…BUT, it’s a lot easier to just expect someone else to show you or tell you.

    I’m guilty of this too – sometimes it’s easier to email or call my accountant, my mechanic, or whoever when I hit a stumbling block in business or my personal life. It’s the path of least resistance and it’s the tempting way to go about resolving problems. But it can also lead you down the path least learning.

    I know, I know, everything from technical manuals to laws written by non-security-savvy bureaucrats – most “documentation” stinks out loud. But the next time you’ve got a problem with something like your firewall, your endpoint protection software, or even a security/privacy law or regulation…try doing a little research. If you don’t find an answer in the docs (or can’t find the docs which is what normally happens to me), then a quick Internet search will usually suffice If those fail, then post a message to your favorite forum to get your answer. That’s usually all you need.

    You’ll not only beef up your research skills, but more importantly, you’ll boost your self-sufficiency and exercise personal responsibility. Something we all need a little reminder of every now and then.

    Whew…How did we ever survive without the Internet just a few short years ago!?