Monday, May 19, 2014

Knowledge Without Borders

Knowledge knows no borders. Contributions to the collective human understanding have come from all different types of people. Not surprisingly, this is also the case within the security profession. We all learn from an incredibly diverse set of peers, and this is a good thing. Each person’s experience brings with it a fresh perspective that can be applied to the challenges at hand, and in the security profession, the challenges are many.

Unfortunately, there are still some people in this world that will discount, dismiss, or exclude ideas, experience, and expertise because of the race, religion, creed, ethnicity, or national origin of the people they belong to. Aside from the obvious personal pain this inflicts on the victims of this type of hatred, there is also a professional issue that arises from this that I would like to discuss.

Each security professional has a professional duty to protect his or her organization to the best of his or her ability. The attackers are constantly learning new tricks, improving their skills, and modifying their behavior. The risks to an organization resulting from an attack continue to rise. The threat landscape is continually evolving. Even under the best circumstances, we as defenders can barely keep up. If we are to have any hope of successfully protecting the valuable assets and information we are charged with protecting, we need all the help we can get, from any reliable and trustworthy source available.

When someone turns away, discounts, dismisses, or excludes ideas, experience, and expertise because of their origin, that person is putting his or her organization at great risk for no good reason. In essence, politics and personal prejudices are being put ahead of professional duty. It should come as no surprise that this is not acceptable -- the organization and its clients, shareholders, partners, leadership, and employees deserve and demand better. Security knowledge should be valued and respected regardless of its source. Anything less would simply be unprofessional.

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