Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers. There is much to be thankful for if you are in the ICS security community. In my S4x20 keynote this past January, I contended that this is a great time to be in ICS security.
Two months later, COVID shook the world. I know many of you lost your jobs or had serious difficulties in your company. Even in companies where the numbers weren’t impacted, working remote became the rule and this stressed the people and systems. Some asset owners are even having some or all of their SCADA Operators working remote, which is an interesting note for the future.
Even with COVID, the price of oil, and other 2020 craziness, it still is a great time to be in the ICS security business. The hiring of ICS security professionals has resumed, and we are back near the point where talent has its choice of many job options.
And what I said in the video remains true: “this is not the time to be doing drudgery you don’t believe is going to make a difference.” Find work in the ICS security field that you love and and believe in. We are very fortunate to be an interesting, fast growing field where one person can actually make a significant difference.
I’m also thankful for all of the engineers, technicians, automation professionals and others who design, deploy and maintain these control systems. The automation and reliability is truly amazing given the complexity of the processes. They take it as given that the process needs to stay up and move heaven and earth to prevent and recover from an outage.
The best part of working with any asset owner / operator is visiting the system and learning about the process. From pipelines to pet food factories to ammonia plants to power stations to … Each one is different and has its own revelations, and the team is usually happy to explain how the process works. It beats working in a data center or stale office building. We are fortunate.
Just because the job market in a field is hot, doesn’t mean the work is varied or exciting. ICS security professionals are again lucky to have a wide open field of areas to pursue. And since the field is still so new and resistant to change, you can work with, and even become, best in world in a ICS security niche in short time.
The biggest challenge I find is there are too many things I want to learn about and explore. Too many ideas. Too many opportunities. What a happy problem out there for an ICS security professional. My solution is to try to sample as many and can and bring them to the ICS security community in S4 events, podcasts, OTT shows, articles and other content.
Finally, I’m thankful for all the ICS security pro’s out there, and those joining in, who are trying to create the future. Especially all of you with fresh ideas, even or especially when the disagree with mine, and the courage to try to make them happen.
On a personal note, I have so much to be thankful for with family and friends. Unfortunately not able to see most this year, but this too shall pass. And yesterday we picked up Grace’s new puppy Roxy, one more blessing.