Most Important Security Tool 2023 (You)

I don’t normally write at night.

It’s midnight here in Minnesota, and I’m supposed to be asleep. Jetlag has been an annoying companion on this trip, however, so I found myself reading long past my bedtime. Late enough to see an email come in from Deliveroo.

It’s still too early for mainstream publications to come out with their coverage, but the stories are already emerging. In short, a crowded market mixed with challenging global economies has claimed the 4th in line to the food delivery crown.

Deliveroo will still exist somewhere; its UK-based parent organisation hasn’t given up the fight yet. However, in Australia (and previously Germany), they have closed up shop, laying off many people and leaving their customers (both businesses and people) in the lurch.

This post isn’t really about Deliveroo, though.

It’s not about Asana, who announced 9% layoffs today, or Twitter, or Meta or Stripe or any of the dozens of companies who have run the same playbook in the last few weeks. I have given up looking at the Tech Layoff Tracker lately – the sheer scale of the job loss going on is nauseating.

I’m writing because we know what happens next.

Companies don’t fail or downsize in isolation. We are an eco-system. When one of us is hurt, the others feel it.

Each of these organisations that have made devastating cuts will also cut their spending with their suppliers – from food vendors to SaaS, causing a ripple. The bigger the organisation, the more suppliers will be hit, and organisations will need to respond.

As companies tighten their belts and button their coats against the cold winds blowing in the markets, they make predictable decisions. They make cuts to ‘non-essentials’, often hitting teams with significant, non-profit margin-based value first. Our diversity teams, our UX designers, our testers and our analysts often find themselves redundant.

Contentiously, in many organisations, cyber security can end up in this camp. We already see large-scale layoffs in the cyber security teams of our tech unicorns. The risk of keeping this expense on the balance sheet is seen as less scary than the risk of cyber attacks or breaches.

Perversely, at the same time that economic winter winds lead our companies to reduce budget and even cut security spend. Our adversaries, feel more inclined to act.

Do not give up on cyber security

Now more than ever, it is crucial that our organisations, big and small continue to take whatever small steps they can to keep their data, people and systems safe. Things will get a lot harder and a lot worse before this is over, and cyber security has to be maintained throughout. Even if that feels insurmountable and hard right now.

So I guess that is why I am writing.

This is a polite but urgent request. Please don’t give up on cyber security when things get dark and cold.

  • Even if your team is smaller
  • Even when your budget vanishes
  • Even when your tools are taken away

Your organisation needs you.

Every little action you do to protect it is essential.

I run my own small ship and will do everything I can to keep my team safe and steady, whatever these coming months and years bring. Remember that our customers are companies just like yours. Our company is just like yours.

I can’t help other organisations directly. We all have to take our own steps.

But I can help you to help yourself.

I will be posting frequently here, on my LinkedIn and on Twitter with very simple steps you and your team can do to embrace cyber security from a low-budget pragmatic viewpoint.

The aim will be to help anyone who is listening keep their own ship a little safer in uncertain times.

You can still continue to sign up for SafeStack’s free plan and get free secure development, cyber security awareness and privacy training for your team. No budgets are needed, no pressure. Use it to learn what you can and apply what makes sense.

We can’t control what comes next. We don’t know what 2023 will bring despite the huge number of predictions posts, you will no doubt begin seeing this festive season.

We can make a choice.

We can do our own part in keeping what matters safe and secure, and we can do that together.

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