Monday, 5 October 2009

The Sad, The Mad and The Bad.

A while ago, I was asked to take part in the Microsoft Technet Community Council. We had a meeting a few weeks ago and it was really positive – from comments made on the day, I think that Microsoft are serious about listening to people and taking their views on board.

Whilst I was at the meeting, I met several of the Technet staff, including James O’Neill – I’ve followed some of the stuff that he has done in the past, and it was really good to see the person behind the writing, so to speak. He’s really driven by his passion for technology and has written eloquently on several topics which I have found of real value. Catch it here at:

So I was saddened to read his latest piece - it turns out that he has been the victim of a theft, and has lost many treasured items that were in his laptop bag. No top of the range gizmos, but none the less, things that mean a lot to him. His blog shows the anger and frustration he feels – it’s a terrible thing to become a victim and although several other people have offered their condolences, I know that he will still feel the pain of the loss.

Many people have their lives in the mobiles or on their laptops – contact details, names, addresses, numbers. Many others keep other ID details and some even keep credit card or other bank information in their devices. Losing the device is bad enough, but then these people are unable to run their normal lives until they can replace the missing information. And if that information falls into the hands of bad guys, then they really have major problems.

People are generally trusting; we assume that other people will behave in a way that is similar to the way that we ourselves would behave. It’s a terrible blow when we realise that some people are not as trustworthy as we would like. It’s even worse when the people concerned are people that we know or trust. In this case, it was a public event organised by Microsoft for technology specialists - in other words, probably one of our own.

For many years, I worked as a manager for a number of the bigger UK retailers, some of whom are still around, a couple long gone. At the start of my training, I attended a security session – the trainer was the company CSO, a former senior officer with the Metropolitan Police. His first words to our groups of trainees were, “There are only 3 types of people in the world; the Sad, the Mad and the Bad. Everyone falls into one of these 3 categories – and that includes all of you”.

His cynicism was the result of many years dealing with the public – no doubt, he had heard every excuse, every sob story, met people that had suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and met many, many people that were just no damn good. But everyone? And he then made the statement that we lost more through staff theft, than through pilfering by customers. I argued with him, but to no avail; and his response was that one day I would understand. And I hate to admit it it, but yes he was 100% correct.

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