Josh Davis
Josh Davis
Oct. 19, 2015

Security Theatre: Are you on the front row of your own show?

A coworker recently recommended I watch a new show on TruTV titled “Adam Ruins Everything.”  Despite the doubts I had from the cynical title and my uneasiness about a stranger named Adam ruining something I really like, Season 1 Episode 2—“Adam Ruins Security”—has made a devoted fan out of me.

The show weaves a fabric of great points and often-disappointing facts, revealing our willingness to believe just about anything.  We swipe our credit cards everywhere we go and never consider how insecure they are. We travel, eat, shop, and live. And, when credit card fraud hits us, it seems so shocking.

Whether it’s a tamper-resistant seal on your pill bottle, TSA security checks, or even your home security system, we take comfort in something called “Security Theatre.” I hate to tell you, but that term means exactly what you think it means. It’s more of an illusion—a security blanket, if you will—than anything.

Needless to say, this skews our judgment of how big or small a problem is.

We spend a lot of time worrying about the disproportionate threat of serial killers and not much time worrying about the lack of seat belts on school buses.

So, all of us are subject to the false comfort of Security Theater in our daily lives. The pressing question is: Do you have Security Theater in your office? Or worse, did you create Security Theater in your own office?

Security might be –well, let’s face it, it has been—one of the least important items in your data center.  You might disagree, but when you look at how much money you’ve spent on security over the last 5 years, is it in the top 5 or bottom 5?

theatre seating

And other than security, is there another system that can put the business at risk when it fails? ERP system automated a manual process.  CRM? Please. MRP? Most of those guys would rather just turn it off!

So, go ahead and call the sales guy’s bluff when he tries to tell you there is “this one thing” that fixes some problem you didn’t know about until he told you.  Your favorite vendor has a strong argument, no matter how cheap the price… free demos, limited time promos, “try and buys.”  Don’t let him sell you a front row seat to your own Security Theater production.  

Instead, whether you already have a security plan or you have a plan to make a plan, take the time to do one of the following.

  • Self-check: It may not be the most effective; but it’s cheap, quick, and it can save you some grief.
  • Double-check: test the holes you think you found.
  • Triple-check: get a security audit. They aren’t as expensive as you might think, and it’s the ONLY insurance policy you have against a breach—and chances are, one has already occurred.

Your plan will tell you which of those sales guys to call back and when.

See? You may not be able to escape the Security Theater in your own life, but your business certainly can. And trust me; you can’t afford to sit back, enjoy the popcorn, and let the smoke and mirrors tell you you’re safe… because, when you think you are, you’re not.