When you realize security isn’t a sprint

A different way to think about security than quick sprints and finish lines.

great wall journey
Credit: Vin Crosbie

Security is not a sprint.

When you read that, what words formed on your lips? Maybe you even muttered it aloud.

For most, the reaction is simple: security is a marathon.

It distinguishes the approach to security. It signifies a shift from thinking of security as short to something long. In terms of games, it’s the difference between a short and a long game.

Sprinters train different than marathoners. They have different form when racing. Each has a different mindset.

Is security like that?

Yes and no.

Security isn't a sprint. That realization unlocks the understanding that it isn't a marathon either.

There is no finish line.

Security is different. That’s a good thing.

Security is not a game. It’s not a war. Security is an elusive concept. It describes a condition. It captures a feeling. And it defines a mindset.

It security worth pursuing?

Without question. That also means it’s worth bringing others along with us. Teaching them what we know. Learning from their experience. Improving together. Increasing security and incorporating it into our collective mindset.

When security gains personal relevance, it guides expectations. Better understanding improves the questions we ask. We realize a broader range of impacts from actions. We make better, more informed decisions.

This is how we get better security. It shapes us without creating a state of fear.

This is a journey. We're in this one together.

Questions to assess your journey

Instead of a sprint or a marathon, security is a journey of sorts. Many paths with different objectives. It’s not usually linear. And like most things in life, sometimes we deal with setbacks on the way to the next stop.

This ties into the recent rise in focus on “culture” and desire to shift it. Addressing culture is broader than this piece. But the nod to culture reinforces the importance of the "infinite game."

Instead of thinking about security just as winning or losing, consider the following questions:

  • Are you better off today than yesterday? How do you know?

  • Are the people around you better off than they were before? How do you know?

  • And then... what is your best next step?

Simple questions. They don’t always have easy answers. The pursuit of the answers is part of the journey. Spend time with these questions to improve.

Are you prepared to lead the journey

Security is a mindset. It’s a journey. There is no destination. No finish line to cross. No signal that the “war” is over. Well, except in actual war-fighting. But that’s a different story.

Security is already embedded in our culture. To evolve the definition across business and society requires a change in thinking. That drives changes in action.

It starts by changing the approach. Security is not a switch to flip or a race to run - sprint or marathon. This is a journey where the destination is the experience.

That means we need exceptional leaders and powerful communicators for better security. Those who anticipate breach while creating value for themselves and those around them.

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