Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Red Sky | Beadwindow - Hoot and Holler!

Last week was a very productive and rewarding week for Beadwindow.  Along with reaching out to community members, we held our first “Hoot and Holler”, a bi-weekly gathering of community members to share their intelligence and what they're experiencing on their networks and systems.  It was a very well received event for those who attended and a wealth of information for Beadwindow.

Having worked in the government sector for most of my career, I am very familiar with the constraints unique at local and state government levels.  While working for a large state agency, we were often short staffed, making it difficult to respond to problems that were deemed “critical”.  With the importance of network security being punctuated by the events of 9/11, state agencies across the board scrambled around looking for not only qualified security people, but also money to acquire the necessary tools.  I spent a lot of time sitting across the desks from executives describing nebulous concepts like intrusion detection when the first reaction was often, “I have a firewall, and I need a what?”  It was particularly difficult dealing with a lifetime bureaucrat with a sharp pencil and “no need for fancy email!” 

Recognizing those challenges early on, state and local leadership in the IT sector came together and pooled resources.  Department of Labor reached out to Health Services who reached out to Public Safety and so on.  This collaborative effort was planting the seeds of interagency cooperation that saved time, money, and helped spread the wealth of knowledge across the enterprise.  Today, these concepts are commonplace and the sharing of resources is ubiquitous.

For this new business model to work, leadership had to fill the “trust gap”, the space between agencies that were all fighting for the same pot of resources.  Leadership had to be challenged that working together not only saved money but increased access to resources normally unaffordable or unattainable. This is the concept on which Beadwindow is founded upon.

The conversations had at the Hoot and Holler illustrates a need for governments to reach out to others to compliment the tools and expertise already in place.  With budget cuts and freezes in hiring, the left to right curve of available resources to cope with TTP’s arcs sharply downward while the threats arcs sharply upward.   Today, the onslaught of threats far exceeds the capabilities of many governments, requiring agencies to look beyond their traditional cooperative boundaries and reach out to new relationships for information and resources. Beadwindow is designed to close the gaps and facilitate those conversations.

If you’re a Beadwindow member, I encourage you to reach out to the Beadwindow community partners for help.  I heard several examples of where sharing information with the rest of community could help free resources in one place so they could be targeted elsewhere. 

By sharing with the community what you’re seeing on your networks, you are sharing intelligence that benefits all members.  It really is the “pay it forward” model.  You get out of it, what you put into it.  You share the information in the portal and in return it sparks conversation. In return, the likelihood of you gaining information that is important to you that you’ve not seen before, increases significantly.

To find out about how Red Sky can help your organization, please reach out to me at rgamache@redskyalliance.org In the meantime, please learn more about Red Sky @ www.redskyalliance.org or http://henrybasset.blogspot.com  

Have a great week and remember – If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight!

Rick Gamache – Red Sky Alliance CIO – rgamache@redskyalliance.org – 207-449-8090
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