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How to Avoid the Sisyphean Task of Security Management

May 04, 2016

Security is top-of-the-hill again and again when C-level executives and IT managers are asked what keeps them up at night.

Indeed, headlines and TV news stories remind us of all that can go wrong when our applications, data, and networks are accessed by bad actors. It can cost big money, loss in customer trust, damage to the brand, exposure of intellectual property, and more.

So techs try to prevent all that by doing patches and trying to guard again vulnerabilities.

But that can make these individuals, and their higher ups, feel as if they’re in a never-ending battle whose sad conclusion is inevitable.

As Thomas Todt, senior sales engineer with Flexera Software, notes in a recent blog, it’s kind of like what Greek mythological figure Sisyphus ended up doing.

This king of Corinth is the dude who is frequently pictured pushing a boulder up a hill, a never-ending task he was assigned for his trickery. That’s because Sisyphus was wise but wily, and he cheated death by convincing Hades to put his handcuffs on himself rather than on Sisyphus, who then locked Hades in a closet for many years. Sisyphus faced Hades again later, but it didn’t turn out as well, so Zeus punished him by assigning him the task of rolling a boulder up a hill. But Zeus had the boulder roll away from Sisyphus each time he approached the top of the hill.

But while Sisyphus faced this fate, Todt says organizations don’t have to remain stuck in the repetitive and time-consuming loop of vulnerability and patch management. Instead, he says, they can call on professionals to provide them with the research they need to secure their organizations as opposed to researching solutions on their own, which can be a thankless task.

“Don’t act like Sisyphus,” he says. “You may feel that this behavior is dictated – but you as a free, responsible, person could make it much better.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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