By Tyler Olson and Tim Herman
March 15, 2021
One year ago, the world turned upside down. If anyone would have told us that everything around us was going to pivot and become 100 percent work from home overnight, we would never have believed it. People are resilient though. History has shown us that in tough times, often comes great innovation.
As cybersecurity professionals, we do a lot of “thankless” work. When we are unsuccessful, we quickly become inundated with complaints, but when we’re successful, nobody around us thinks about what we do. To be healthy and successful in this industry, it is important for us to take opportunities like this to reflect on how much we achieved over the previous 12 months.
One year ago, hundreds of millions of people around the world immediately and unexpectedly started working from home instead of their offices. This required a drastic change to account for all the transitions that resulted from that shift.
• Large quantities of data flowed in different directions
• Corporate VPNs needed to be upgraded
• Capital improvement projects at Company HQ’s greatly slowed
• Priorities in IT infrastructure projects quickly changed
• Home routers became a larger consideration within corporate networks
• Home Office setups for employees became larger considerations for workforce productivity goals
• Increased mitigation of new network threats that target remote workers
For many of us, we also shifted away from networking events, client lunches, trade shows with expert speakers and booths giving away really cool branded socks, to Zoom Meetings and learning how to interact effectively in a virtual setting.
Then we learned about Zoom Bombing and everyone, especially in security circles, got a quick lesson in virtual platform security. Zoom had to rapidly fix the problem or lose out on the golden opportunity of this moment. Microsoft Teams rapidly developed new features and integrations, Google scrambled to make its Meet platform robust enough to share the public load. Several other players in the video streaming business also reached to secure market share. All of this so we could keep doing meetings with our coworkers, clients and prospects.
We all tried our best to do everything we’d been doing before, but we quickly learned that “Zoom fatigue” and pandemic fatigue are very real things. So as organizations, we adjusted yet again, we shortened our events and tried to come up with new and engaging ways to use technology to stay both relevant, creative, and secure.
It’s the people in our field who helped make that possible. We helped people successfully transition into entirely new methods of work, learn and implement new software, and feel less anxious about all the changes going on in their lives. Many of us worked on entirely new projects and initiatives we had never worked on before and were asked to be successful within unprecedented timelines.
People are resilient, and it has never been on more wide-scale display than over the past year. Watching thousands of people across the country shift to remote-work environments, and helping them quickly adapt to the need for relevant security training and content, has emphasized the collective strength of our industry.
Yes, there were extra hours, extra stress, and extra challenging demands, but we rose to meet them, and we showed our best. When looking back over the last 12 months, we can all be proud of the quick adjustments made throughout our industry. We have found new and creative ways to stay engaged and productive, and because of our own resilience, hundreds of millions of others are more secure. Together we are poised to thrive in the year ahead.
Tyler Olson, Founder of SHYLD Cybersecurity Academy and Professional Speaker, is an award-winning serial entrepreneur in several technology fields. He not only brings well-rounded exposure from all sectors of technology including Cyber Security, Social Media, and Data Analytics, but his deep passion for helping people learn and interactive speaking style ensures audiences of any level leave his presentations with new insights.
Tim Herman is a Cyber Security Outreach Advisor for Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) helping companies and organizations build resiliency in Cyber Security and Emergency Preparedness through customized table top to full scale exercises. Tim serves on the CSS 2021 Think Tank, Serves as Event Director and Sponsorship Coordinator on the Board of MNISSA.org, and Board Member and Program Chair of InfraGard MN.