“The Three Little Pigs” is a children's story about being prepared for when you need something, even if you have to make a few short-term sacrifices along the way. It’s a lesson we should heed right now as we look toward uncertainty about what work will look like in the weeks ahead. Although not always fun, being prepared will pay off when you need it the most.
COVID-19 has proven remote cybersecurity jobs can be highly efficient from those who work from home. In many ways, it’s been better because it provides the same point of view as an attacker—a view from outside the company. If you want to work from home for the rest of your life, you better be prepared with strong arguments that show it’s value, or work for Twitter. That company just announced all of their employees can work from home...forever. Here’s how you can do the same.
A Salesforce Research survey found that the COVID-19 work environment has caused only a 1% reduction in productivity, but some managers may need convincing that sustained productivity from home is possible. You should keep a diary of everything you do each day, with accurate start and end times. It can be as simple as a legal pad or as detailed as Evernote. This will help you answer any productivity questions that managers might have. Record when you begin your day, any breaks you take, and when you end your day. Also note any “extra” time you put in. This will give you concrete data if you need to present your case.
Logs, in my mind, are more detailed than a diary. They are the detailed record of why some tasks took longer than others. Was something particularly difficult? Was it a wild goose chase? Was it a one-off event that sent your day sideways and nothing on your to-do list was completed? The more detail the better. Justify why you took the action and why it took so long.
Remote workers can definitely feel disconnected because the office chatter is cut off. You are probably thinking ”I’m a cybersecurity professional. I don’t have time for chatter.” Having multiple touch point meetings with the team each week will ensure relationships don’t atrophy.
Adopt the habit of managing up. Communicate with your boss and send them a list in writing each Friday of what you have accomplished, what you did not do and intended to, and what you are planning to accomplish next week. You already have a diary and detailed logs. Condense and summarize. Even if they do not read it, it will be appreciated that you did it. And now you have a written record to refer to if necessary.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Take those large projects and break them down into mini or micro tasks. It will make you more organized and prove you are getting things done. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment and some instant gratification.
Create a great work-at-home space and show it off. Let people know you have everything you need at home and that your home working environment is conducive to productivity—perhaps even better than when you worked in an office.
Make sure to share your calendar when you are busy or available. This will make it much easier and efficient for people who require your assistance to offer meeting times that fit with your schedule. Scheduling internal meetings can be quite frustrating without some minimal insight into other’s calendars.
Open your meeting five minutes early and have a little chit chat before you get started. This way you will have a personal connection without it impacting your meeting productivity.
Are you sleeping better without having to wake up as early? Or slogging through a horrible commute? Can you now work out in the morning? Make sure your boss knows how working remotely has allowed you to be in a better mental state to make better decisions and has resulted in a greater sense of loyalty to your company for this privilege.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced companies to make a major shift in how they operate for the time being, but for many employees, this change is long overdue. A Glassdoor survey found that 67% of employees would support working from home indefinitely. Remote work may be more accepted now that so many have experienced it, but some managers still insist on facetime. Being prepared to argue for full work-from-home status with hard evidence is going to help you make the case that permanent remote work is not only the best fit for you, but also for your company.
The SANS Technical Institute’s Holiday Hack Challenge is one of the most popular hacking contests in the world, with nearly 15,000 people vying for the chance to complete the objectives, sharpen and learn new cyber skills. . This year, CyberSN’s Cybersecurity Team, led by Cybersecurity Engineer Travis Deyarmin was one of only 375 participants out of the 14,912 people that entered to complete the 2019 Holiday Hack Challenge, and one of only 3030 to complete a report. Out of those who completed the challenge, Deyarmin was one of only 47 to earn a Super Honorable Mention. He was also a runner-up for Best Overall Answer for his well-received and comprehensive challenge write-up, which you can view here.
The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge, hosted by The Sans Technology Institute each December, aims to “bring security professionals, hobbyists, and hackers from around the world in a unique meeting of the minds” to help improve the state of cybersecurity. In 2018, the challenge became part of a new SANS online cybersecurity conference, KringleCon, a free event that also features presentations from leaders in the cybersecurity industry, sharing their tips, tricks, and best practices.
This holiday season, the event took on the festive name, “KringleCon 2: Turtle Doves,” a follow-up to last year’s KringleCon challenge. Each contestant was assigned an avatar and a badge they use to solve 10 objectives. The goal? To search the virtual Elf University, find Santa’s two prized turtle doves, find out who took the birds, and in the process, save Christmas. The contestant had to then formulate a write-up of how he or she solved the objectives by January 13. CyberSN’s write-up clearly shows visually and descriptively how each objective is solved. The write-up can be viewed here.
While Holiday Hack Challenges of the past focused on defending against a hack, this year, the challenge shifted to prioritized defense over offense challenges. “Attackers are getting better and faster,” SANS noted in its closing message. “We need better defense.”
To view the full list of challenge winners, go to holidayhackchallenge.com.