Thursday, February 28, 2013

Take six deep breaths

Green Lake, Seattle, Washington

Teaching two graduate courses that look at information use using a risk/ethics/policy/law lens has made me more cognizant of my own predilections.  A university quarter is ten weeks long, plus a finals week.  Since I am now more than halfway through the eighth week, it seems that I might weigh in and offer a bit of advice to others who like to bite off almost more than can be chewed.

First, in all things strive for balance.  That means a balance between work and play, your network and your family, and your aspirations and your obligations.

Second, take time.  Situate your mind right in the middle of the moment, rather than letting it skitter forward or backward.  Now breathe.  Take six deep breaths.  Jasyoga calls this a "reboot."

Third, before you sleep at night, take time to smell the roses.  Count your blessings.  Vow to do better the next day without beating yourself up for past performance.

Aristotle says, "We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence is a repeatable habit."

In addition to focusing on these three pieces of advice, I walk as often as possible.  You can see how walking can become a form of meditation if you look at my photograph of the place where I walk, above.  If I am what I repeatedly do, then I am -- among other things -- a walker.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Microsoft's Global Security Operations Center

Guest speakers for my operational risk class last night were Microsoft chief security officer Mike Howard and Brian Tuskan, senior director of the Microsoft Global Security Operations Center.  What an experience for the graduate students in the MSIM program who attended.
Here's Mike kicking off the presentation which covered all areas included within the security area and the tools that the team has created, putting it head and shoulders above the "guns and guards" image connected with some large corporate operations.  Mike emphasized that running a global security program is a business; and that it's strategy first, using their unique tool set.

 Microsoft has three global security operations centers, and we visited over the internet with each of those centers during class.

 Here, Brian Tuskan lets the operations center personnel get a look at members of my class.
And here's Brian himself, along with his great technical support guy, who got a real workout during the presentation.  Not only did Brian run a real drill and fail the Redmond GSOC over to London, he then called in an incident for the GSOC in charge to route back to Redmond.  We watched the security car take off to the location of the incident while the police were called at the same time.
Cool stuff -- and just a taste of how risk can be managed with the proper tools in a cloud environment.

We're lucky to have such dynamic speakers this quarter in my class.  Last week, we had Bill Longbrake talking about the rise and fall of Washington Mutual.  Next week it's seismologist par excellance, Bill Steele to talk earthquakes.  If I know Bill, there will be at least as much in the way of internet bells and whistles as we saw last night.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What's in your disaster kit?


The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association publishes a newsletter once a month, and the editor has asked me to write a column.  I am planning out a year's worth and think that I will mostly focus on excerpts from my book, Advice From A Risk Detective.

You're getting a jump up on Roosevelt readers because I am publishing here the list of emergency supplies that I would recommend you have on hand against contingencies or disasters.  The same list can be found at the end of the first chapter of my book.  Please let me know if you feel there are items I have left off the list.

Water: One gallon per person per day, three to five days’ worth
Food: Nonperishable, including food for special diets

First Aid Kit: One for home, one for car

Cash: In small bills, enough for three to five days

·   Eating utensils, including can opener and utility knife
·   Battery-operated radio, extra batteries
·   Flashlight(s), extra batteries
·   Small sewing kit
·   Compass and whistle
·   Matches in waterproof container
·   Wrench to shut off gas and water
·   Work gloves
·   One or more signal flares
·   Rope ladder near second-story exit
·   Plastic bucket
·   Disinfectant, bleach, liquid detergent
·   Battery-operated power tools such as drills, staple guns
·   Portable camp stove and fuel
·   One fire extinguisher per floor
·   Toolkit with pliers, handsaw, duct tape, crowbar, sledgehammer

·   Change of clothing and footwear
·   Sturdy shoes or work boots
·   Thermal underwear
·   Rain gear
·   Hat and gloves
·   Blankets, sleeping bags

Special Items
·   Scout Manual
·   Prescription medications and supplies
·   Personal hygiene items
·   Toilet paper
·   Extra eyeglasses
·   Baby supplies
·   Garbage bags & ties
·   Extra set of house and other keys
·   Insurance policies, credit cards, official identification, bank information
·   Copies of other vital documents
·   Pet food

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stupid may not be a curable condition

Here's the latest alert from the University of Washington's Campus Police, covering a strong arm robbery in the University District.  As you read it, imagine how very stupid you would feel that you had shown the contents of your backpack (or your purse, or your briefcase) to a complete stranger...and what the consequences of that type of stupidity might be.

Notification of a Criminal Incident - Seattle Campus           

February 3, 2013        

Robbery-Strong Arm  

On Sunday, February 3, 2013 at approximately 8:40 p.m., Seattle Police were called to a reported strong-arm robbery in the 4200 block of 12th Ave N.E.  Earlier in the evening the victim, who is not affiliated with the University of Washington, had been at a restaurant/bar in the University District when he struck up a conversation with an unknown male subject. During the conversation, the victim showed the suspect contents of his backpack, which contained a large sum of cash. When the victim departed the establishment, he was confronted by three male suspects wearing dark color hooded sweatshirts who assaulted him.  The victim was knocked to the ground and his backpack containing the cash was stolen. The three suspects fled in two different directions. The victim was slightly injured and later transported himself to UWMC for treatment.

The three suspects are described as male adults without any additional identifiable descriptors.

Seattle and University of Washington Police were quickly in the area and searched for the suspects, but were unable to locate them. This case is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department under case number 13-39132.

Prevention tips for incidents such as this:

 * Be aware of your environment and alert for possible danger

 * Avoid confrontations

 * Remove yourself from potentially dangerous situations as soon as possible

 * Call 911 to report suspicious activity or persons to the police

If you notice that a crime is in progress, when it is safe to do so, call 911.  Some helpful information to pass on to the police:

 * Clothing descriptors - look for layers under the visible layer (usually the outer layer will come off once the suspect leaves the scene)

 * Physical characteristics - height, weight, eyes, hair, mannerisms, scars/tattoos

 * Direction of travel - (by foot, bicycle, automobile?)

 * Description of vehicle

 * Weapons involved

All of the tips from the campus police are good.   I would add:  keep your smartphone put away and do not stand at bus stops using your smartphone or wearing headphones.  You want to be alert to any potential threats and report them if possible.  Whenever possible, walk in well-lit open spaces with friends.