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December 2004

Persona grata: Overcoming security professional stereotypes

How do others in your organization see you? And does that match your self-image? Like it or not, you are the embodiment of security in your organization. What executives, IT and line-of-business managers think about you influences, to a disproportionate degree, their opinion of security as a whole. And vice versa. In most cases, this is a no-win situation. If you're quiet and reserved, they tend to think security is weak and vulnerable. If you're aggressive and goal-oriented, they may perceive security as an annoying imposition. It's up to you to steer this weird dynamic in your favor. Unfortunately, the deck is already stacked against you, with no shortage of stereotypes for security professionals: Chicken Little. Security is successful when nothing bad happens. So, naturally, most people become aware of security when it fails. If the only time people see you is when there's a problem, you'll inevitably develop a Chicken Little reputation, always around when something bad's going down, but invisible when everything's OK. The ...

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