I think no matter how much of an individual we like to think we are, we are all predictable. Our lives are so busy and perhaps even complicated, that we uncomplicate it with routine. Our predictability makes us vulnerable to being exploited and its actually harder than one might think, to not be predictable.

Every person reading this blog will have, at some point, had to create and remember a password or a PIN, perhaps even several. IT security experts will tell us to never use the same password and to change them regularly. Banks especially advise us not to write them down but I know people who ignore their advice and even write their PIN numbers on their credit cards, I won’t say who!

Where do you keep your passwords? Perhaps in the front or back of the note book you keep laying on your desk? Perhaps on a post-it note on the monitor or under your keyboard? Perhaps you keep them in your phone directory, cunningly disguised as a phone number under the name of your bank?

Recently I was getting ready for a workshop on a client site. It was a very important workshop with delegates arriving from all over Europe, including the CEO. The night before the presentations were finalized and the room set out with pens, paper and flip charts.  The office manager informed me that she would be in at 7am to help set up the refreshments for the breakfast reception.

The following morning, the office manager didn’t show. I tried to call her but there was no reply. She had the key to the kitchen. The delegates would be arriving soon. I thought it was unlikely that she would take the key home, so I sat at her desk and looked around. There was no key cabinet and not many cupboards. Where would the most obvious place be to keep the key? As I looked around the office and her desk, my attention was drawn to the little pot containing pens and pencils, I picked it up and looked inside, there all on its own was a key. “try this”, I said to a colleague.

Sure enough it was the key to the kitchen!

To me it was the most obvious place to look, it was a predictable location for a key. I am sure that if we walked around our offices, we would find the same thing. But the frightening thought is, what could the keys unlock?

I believe that IT and physical security is all our responsibilities. At home and at work, we need to take responsibility for our ‘assets’ and protect them.

After all, if our employer loses its competitive edge through loss of its intellectual property through lack of security, we might find that it is not only our IP we lose but our jobs also!


Until next time