Coffee with a cop; Our discussion: Security, it is the simple stuff that will get you

Sylvania Township Police shoulder patch from their Web site.

What does physical security and cybersecurity have in common? Among other things; it’s the simple stuff that will get you.

I decided to stop by the Sylvania Township, Ohio Starbucks on Central Avenue for “Coffee with a cop.” October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and I thought it would be a good idea to check in with our local police first responders. These officers were from the Sylvania, Ohio Police Department.

I had a pleasant surprise because Chief Paul Long and Deputy Chief Ray Carroll were there. Both of these officers have already had long successful and distinguished law enforcement careers.

Upon entering and shaking hands, I asked whether there were any assets or other material that these local heroes needed. I am sure that there must be something local citizens could do to better support the police. However, Chief Carroll said that their message is simple: “Lock your house, garage and car(s).”

And that’s where the convergence of cyber and physical security intersect – it’s the simple stuff. Lock up your possessions to keep them secure. Cyber – “Keep you operating system up-to-date.” Why are they so similar?

Whether we like it or not, the basic design of our computers and networking equipment and operating systems follow the open academic beginnings of computing and internet/networking. Up to the early 1990s personal computers were not networked. A few of us could maybe wrangle internet access from a local college or university and that was it. The World Wide Web did not exist. Fast forward to the cobbled together systems that we now use. If you don’t keep your operating system up-to-date with a firewall and antivirus, then you are doing the same as leaving your house unlocked.

Enough preaching. What I loved about meeting with the several police officers and command officers was how much we all have in common. We all agreed. It does not matter how fancy your security system is – either physical or cyber. It is the mindset and care of the people who are operating or failing to operate them. If you have a lock on your door and you don’t use it, then you have a much better chance of losing your stuff. And it is the same with your personal information that you keep in your computer.

I am looking forward to more conversations with our first responders. Even a geek like me will learn and be motivated by the exchange of ideas.

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