As we come into the Thanksgiving holiday, I was reflecting on the things I’m thankful for in my life: my family, friends, good food. I’m thankful to be where I am, celebrating over a year running Reveal Risk and looking forward to the amazing year ahead as we go into 2020.   

 I also recall the times when I felt less thankful: things were harder, and I felt like throwing in the towel. But now that I have the benefit of perspective on those events, I realize I am thankful for them as well. I learned a lot through them. I decided to share some here in the hopes that as you read them, they help you shine a positive light on your situations, past and present, this holiday season: 

  1. I’m thankful for the exceptionally nasty firmware virus I caught my first year of college because it taught me the importance of configuration management, source control, and keeping good backups. 
  2. I’m thankful for the manager who treated me as a housekeeper because I learned to take pride in my work, even when it seems unimportant.
  3. I’m thankful for the 4AM red team fail because it taught me to look for the simple solution first.  
  4. I’m thankful for my broken build scripts because I learned that bad automation just does the wrong thing faster. 
  5. I’m thankful for <REDACTED> because it taught me that some things that seem exclusive and important are really boring and overhyped. 
  6. I’m thankful for the email and chat tools I broke because I learned that people will find wrong ways to get work done if you make the right thing too hard. 
  7. I’m thankful for the infected executive laptop on the network because it taught me the importance of due diligence in the Merger & Acquisition (M&A) process. 
  8. I’m thankful for the fridge full of spoiled product after a vulnerability scan because I learned the importance of operational technology and edge cases. 
  9. I’m thankful for the late-night incident bridges because they taught me that having all the latest tools is meaningless if they don’t work well together.  
  10. I’m thankful for the endless budget and business planning cycles because they taught me the value of governance and effective processes. 

 

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Each and every one of the companies I have worked for, each experience in my career I have learned from the good and the bad. In 20 years as a security professional I am grateful to bring experiences, insights and real world knowledge in every client engagement.  Thanks for reading! 

– Tim Sewell: Co-Founder, CIO, and CTO at Reveal Risk

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