Trust me!

Now why would you do that? I mean really, why would you trust me?

Some of you reading this know me, most of you do not. But even for those who do, I ask the question again, why would you trust me? You read my musings, you see me at events, you know what I do here at CSO, but that's about it. Hey, I could just be making all this stuff up!

Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't trust me (I don't make it up). I am, as it happens, a very trustworthy person, and if you do trust me, then that probably means that you are a very trusting person.

The point I'm making is that we live in a society where trust is very often given without warrant. If you compare that attitude with the one that inspires the hurdles we necessarily put in place to establish electronic or business trust, I think you would agree that we set up very different standards for trusting someone depending on what we're trusting them with. That's a risk.

In our businesses, we want to, and should, be able to trust others, but unless we have a real basis for doing so, we expose our organizations to risk that they may or may not be willing to accept.

Trust is a funny thing. We give it a lot of lip service when we talk about electronic relationships, but we automatically want to trust a stranger because he or she appears to be nice, well-dressed, and well-spoken. They look trustworthy.

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Bruce Schneier last month and got the chance to speak with him about his new book, Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive. Schneier, in his usual thorough fashion, dissects the role that trust plays in society and breaks down why it works the way that it does.

What I really appreciate about his book, though, is that it makes me think about the role of trust at the most basic levels. Sometimes we need to be reminded of those basics when we get caught up in all the troublesome details that create a smokescreen between what we are focusing on and what we should be focusing on.

If you get a chance to read Schneier's book (beg, borrow or steal a copy--although I'm not sure what that says about trust if you steal it), you should do me!

P.S.: I was recently introduced to a whole new way of thinking about security when a CISO I was dining with referred to another business as a technology petting zoo. I'm going to have to think that one through a bit. I'll get back to you on it.

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