Employees, Questions, and Business Risk…

February 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I was reading an article today by Jay Forte about having a value discussion with your employees. The article was quite interesting, and as I read it, I thought about how his guidance also applied to security. Jay outlined what managers could tell their employees to help them add value to their organizations. Part of the sample note that he provided for employees said, “I need you to think through each of your decisions and know its impact on our customers, on your job and on our company.” That statement resonated with me!

The decisions employees make have immense impact on their companies—oftentimes with lasting consequences. As easy as employees can boost sales and generate revenue, they can also create vulnerabilities, cause data loss, ruin reputation, and cost their company in legal or regulatory penalties.

Here are a few things that you can start discussing with your employees (some items target different groups):

  • Read and understand policies. If you have a question, ask.
  • Speak up if you’re not happy with service-delivery. Don’t try to circumvent controls!
  • Your actions may affect service-level agreements with valued partners!
  • Operators: Don’t go for the quick work-around — it may create a weakness. Instead, use the change control process.
  • Administrators: Be more proactive! When is the last time you tested your backups?
  • Don’t mess with your HVAC system just because you have to work in the server room all day. The room is cold for a reason!
  • If you’re using a two-person password system, don’t give your colleague your password just because it’s easier and stops them from bothering you!
  • Stop using group, or department, passwords! All accounts should tie to a specific person.
  • Don’t patch production systems without first testing the patch.
  • Security staff: When is the last time you reviewed running network services and validated their necessity? How are you staying current? Have you looked at your logs lately?

These are just a few general topics and questions for various personnel. Sometimes it takes asking the right questions to provoke thought and light a little fire in employees. After we ask questions or give security advice, we have to do a better job at explaining “why” something should be done.  Without context, employees won’t understand the true value (and impact) of their actions…or lack thereof.

Cyber Within is Now Available

January 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s been a busy few weeks! Just wanted to let everyone know that my new book, Cyber Within, is now available at

Q. Why did I write Cyber Within?

A. I wrote Cyber Within to provide employees with an interesting guide to help them understand cyber and insider threats. The book is meant to provoke thought and provide examples concerning the current attacks happening in the corporate world today. I used a story format because I know how tough it is getting employees to read technical—and often dry—security guides.

Q. Why should companies buy this book for their employees?

A. It’s often difficult to get security practices to resonate with employees. Traditional computer-based training allows employees to rush to the end without paying much attention to the content. Additionally, the content is often dry, so employees are often uninterested. Companies should buy Cyber Within for their employees because it’s fun, engaging, and has a memorable story with lessons they can apply today.

Latest Press Release:


NORFOLK, VA. – With the continual rise in cyber crime, corporate secrets are harder to contain (as demonstrated by recent attacks against Google, Adobe and other major companies). To gain unauthorized access, attackers persuade employees to open cleverly crafted e-mail and click on links to sites that silently installs data-stealing software.

To combat this threat and protect company secrets and customer data, all employees should know how to:

  • Spot social engineers trying to manipulate their way to unauthorized information
  • Recognize suspicious e-mail that may contain (or link to) malicious software
  • Identify suspicious behaviors, whether from systems or people
  • Prevent leaking sensitive data to open sources
  • Create a secure password
  • Report security incidents

Through suspenseful events, coupled with lessons learned, a new book titled Cyber Within helps organizations tackle this security challenge head-on. Cyber Within, written by Marcos Christodonte II, MBA, CISSP, is an educational tool for corporate workers that uses an engaging story, lessons, and tips to help employees understand and spot security threats. Robert Lentz, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity and Information Assurance at the U.S. Department of Defense says, “Cyber Within is a stellar portrayal of why user education on Cyber Security threats, tactics and techniques is so critical.”

Kevin Beaver, independent information security consultant with Principle Logic, LLC and author of Hacking For Dummies says, “Lack of awareness is a grand security weakness. This book provides a unique approach to help fill the gaps and would be a great addition to anyone’s information security toolbox.”

Christodonte is well qualified to present security guidance to employees. He is a cyber and information security professional working for a consulting firm. He has developed security strategies for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and NATO.


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