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From Overbearing Moms to Poorly Run Security Teams: The Danger of Not Seeking Input

How to Shift from Mom Mode to Friend Mode in Cybersecurity

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A friend of mine was telling me about his mom’s visit. He was very thankful on her presence and grateful that she is alive. However, she was very much still in “mom” mode, even as her children are all grown up. What that meant, is that her progeny was perceived as helpless, needy, and annoying little kids vs the adults and contributors to society they grew up to be.

One project she took upon herself he tells me is to clean and organize the entire house. Yes, the house did need some organization, and he welcomed the initiative. However, the organization had to be done her way and no input from him was taken or solicited. Any pushback, no matter how minor, with the organization initiative was met with a lack of flexibility.

How does this relate to cybersecurity?

Many cybersecurity teams enter into an organization with a particular mindset. They have done things a particular way and are used to this way.

Fun fact: In neuroscience, your brain develops grooves for actions and thought processes that are repeated, literally setting you in these ways.

So what happens is the cybersecurity team may create a policy or start an initiative, which has all the best intentions as a mom, but does not seek input from the business or technology teams that are directly impacted by these initiatives.

As a result, friction is created which could lead to misunderstanding and/or resentment.

Of course, the business and tech team welcome all ways to improve security (aka organization of the house), but would love to be stakeholders in any initiatives and discussions that directly impact them.

So the takeaway for security teams here, don’t be an overbearing mom. Shift out of mom mode, and into friend mode. Take a minute to learn the workflows and priorities of your analog and impacted teams. Doing so will naturally build more context in your solutions and you might win some friends along the way.

Your technology and business teams are grownups and want to work with you, but it needs to be a collaborative effort.

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