How Ronaldo’s Hair Explains Cybersecurity

Security tools abound that promise to protect you from the looming threat of hackers everywhere. Many of them look great, but their value is dubious. They might perform some specific task like packet inspection at the perimeter or bot detection but aren’t actually doing the complex work required to inspect the millions (and in some cases, billions) of events in your AWS accounts, any of which could present a serious threat. They’re doing something, but they’re not achieving the ultimate goal: protection of your environment.

Getting the job done is top of mind for soccer fans these days, too. After the first couple weeks of World Cup action, there are plenty who aren’t delivering as expected. Lionel Messi has been lackluster for Argentina. Germany, the defending champions, phoned it in and have been eliminated. Even London pubs are unable to meet the high demand for beer during televised games.

Which brings us to a philosophical pondering of one of the modern miracles of this planet; Cristiano Ronaldo’s hair. Let’s first level-set; Ronaldo’s hair is perfect. Songs should be sung about it. Great books could be written in tribute to it. It even gets its own media coverage. But Portuguese soccer fans know they’re not getting the best from their team on the field, and while Ronaldo’s hair makes for an attractive distraction, it clouds the issue at hand – they’re not delivering.

This is the World Cup and one could and should expect the best showing and biggest effort, but it’s not like Ronaldo (or Messi, or any of the dozens of other superstars) are solely carrying the burden for their team’s wins or losses. A lot more goes into it, and like any other activity that requires process and attention, when breakdowns in these efforts are met with an opposing team that has their act squarely together, you can easily be overwhelmed.

Armchair coaches can debate the finer details of what’s happening on the pitch, but ultimately, any success is won or lost by attention to detail, preparation, and the ability to do what others can’t. In the cybersecurity world, there has to be an understanding that DevOps needs to be coordinated with the security team; requirements, definitions, and goals all need to be agreed upon with like-minded focus. There also has to be recognition of what needs to be monitored, how to assess and categorize risk, and how to fix issues.

Those who manage security for AWS environments will be promised visibility across a single pane of glass and alerts — lots and lots of alerts! — from vendors, but don’t be distracted. Much like Ronaldo’s deliciously coiffed dome, you have to look beyond the surface and see if you’re truly getting something that will help you achieve goals. In your case, that’s awareness not just of issues, but a qualified assessment of everything happening in your cloud environment in the context of appropriate, normalized behavior. That is something you can act upon and truly improve the overall quality of your security posture.

We’re looking forward to surprises and upsets and lots of great action over the remaining World Cup games. We hope for you, however, for a quiet, calm, controllable cloud security infrastructure.


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