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Say “cheese”!

Oct 21, 2020 | Newsletter, Advice, Resources

We’re always skeptical about simple solutions for solving complex problems.

Computer security software that promises 100% protection; the revolutionary new marketing technique which is the only one you’ll ever need; the latest weight-loss method…  

In other words, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Part of the problem is that so many people and businesses who offer solutions don’t like to admit they might be imperfect.

No car manufacturer will say “yes, there is a seatbelt, but we’ve fitted crumple zones and an airbag because a seatbelt is not quite enough on its own”.

In our experience, complex problems often require multiple solutions which work together to provide overall, reliable protection.

This graphic about preventing virus spread (and yes, we all know it’s about COVID) is an excellent way of showing how multiple levels of protection work:

Source: Ian M. Mackay

The ‘Swiss Cheese Model’ is used across risk analysis and management, especially in areas where failure has severe consequences: think healthcare, aviation, bridge building and other engineering and so on.

It’s layered security: the admission that no single solution is perfect. Humans, as we all know, are imperfect. Technology can fail. Energy supplies can be interrupted. Assume that if it can go wrong it will go wrong.

But as long as there are other protections in place, you will still be safe.

To protect against failures, we’ve long-recommended multiple levels of protection for IT security. A firewall is a good defence. Anti-virus software helps. Cloud-based email scanning will eliminate a lot of threats. Training your staff will help them to spot and avoid scams.

You wouldn’t set a burglar alarm, but leave the windows open and the door unlocked. So why compromise elsewhere? For many businesses, a data breach will be harder to recover from and potentially more expensive than a physical burglary.

Spend some time to take a look at the most important areas of your business. What risks are they exposed to and how easily could they fail? What protective measures do you have in place? How can you build in additional layers to give you more safety and stability?

As always, we’re here to help if you want to run any ideas past us.

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