It can be so hard to choose a career when you’re starting out. There are many factors to keep in mind when deciding: how well a certain job pays, how fast you can progress and what options it might open up for your future. Those wise enough will ask for opinions and the most common answer will always be “do what you love!”

Inspirational posters and quotes aside, “Do what you love” is indeed good advice. After all Confucious was onto something when he said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If you care about what you do, you will always strive to make it better. You will go the extra mile to ensure the product or service is at its best and striving for excellence will come naturally.

I’ve chosen to work in the security field and since this is such a vast industry there are many things that can drive you crazy but there is also an even larger number of things to love. The security field is also somewhat misunderstood, which means employees in the security are seen as the bad guys.

Software such as Internet Control Systems are seen by employees as a way for management to spy on them as well as a way to squeeze out every productive second. While it is true some of these tools can be misused to do just that, the idea behind them isn’t to attack employees on multiple fronts, on the contrary, the main idea is to protect them. 

Software such as GFI WebMonitor can be seen by employees as a way for management to play big brother but one of GFI WebMonitor’s best features is the ability to block malicious sites in real time. It may sound hard to believe but think about it for a second. Let’s take the case of an employee who stumbles on a malicious website while spending a few minutes surfing the web at work. If Internet control software was present the employee would have been prevented from viewing the site, yet if no internet control software was present the malicious payload would have done its job and infected the network with malware.

If said employee is part of a strict work environment he might receive a written warning but normally employees do get away with an insignificant punishment even though such a breach would have cost the company time and money had it been successful.  However, if the consequences are more serious and the malware infects a network, the business will have to lose money cleaning the infection. With ransomware, important information could be lost. Worst yet, in the event of said malware having a backdoor the business might have to tell its clients that they have suffered an intrusion. If the situation deteriorated to such a point an employee’s job will be in danger even if this was nothing but an honest mistake. Monitoring software can be a hindrance for the user but it can also be the difference between being employed and looking for work.

But what does all this have to do with striving for security excellence? Security is not about stopping viruses and hackers. Security is about protecting people and information. It is about making sure people have access to the information needed to successfully do their job but at the same time, making sure that information is only accessed by those who have a legitimate reason to access it. Everything boils down to this core set of values.

We love the challenge these values bring with them and here at GFI Software we not only relish that challenge, but we love the awesome feeling of a job well done. The nice old lady living around the corner will not have to explain to her bank that the massive charges on her bank statement aren’t hers but resulting from her favorite online store fighting off an intrusion that could have resulted in her details being stolen. 

Security is a tough job. Being good enough just doesn’t cut it as the odds are forever heavily stacked against you. Security is a zero sum game between people running/using/protecting systems versus people who want to access/use/attack those systems.