February 18, 2015
Meet the "Cyber-Metaphorians"
I’ve discovered the most brilliant site to share with you:
Begun by Bruce Hallas, an English advisor on cybersecurity training and
awareness programs, TAP uses analogies to help spread a message
to people across the whole of society on the importance of an unsexy and often
complex topic—the critical issues surrounding information security.
Information security may not be on your Top 10 list of concerns, but you will
be amazed at how entertaining, engaging, and important this topic becomes in the
skillful hands of the clever TAP analogists you meet on his
site, or, as I call them, “Cyber-Metaphorians.”
As of this writing, there are 135 stories from 11 countries and 77 contributors
on the site, some outside the cyber industry from film, law, and comedy.
(Because the contributors come from different countries, some of the analogies
may be longer than you might use in the U.S., but all are wonderful examples of
how, with a little thought, analogies and metaphors can be two of the most
powerful tools you have to engage listeners on any
topic, shape thinking, and get results.)
Below are the beginnings of two stories from the site with links to the complete
How Can Playing Poker Teach Us to Make
Better Security Decisions?
poker players are known to perform well under pressure. They play their cards
based on rigorous probability analysis and impact assessment. Sounds very much
like the sort of skills a security professional might benefit from when managing
information security risks.
Photo Credit: Cian T Murphy Photography (also on Facebook) via Compfight cc
What can security professionals learn from a game of cards?
(Emphasis mine) It turns out, quite a bit. Skilled poker players are very good
at making educated guesses about opponents’ cards and predicting their next
moves. Security professionals are also required to be on the forefront of
emerging threats and discovered vulnerabilities to see what the attackers’ next
move might be.
Cleavage and Clouds
By Sarah Clark
thing up front: This is not, in case you were hoping, an attempt at adult
Rather, it should resonate with anyone using, or planning to use cloud solutions
and anyone who’s seen or heard of a celebrity being caught unawares by
paparazzi. If you’ve ever registered the latter, you probably thought one of the
Credit: jeffbalke via Compfight cc
“Serves them right for behaving like a moron” or
“Poor sod, that’s their career over”
On the other hand, you might have spotted the story, but not summoned the energy
to care. That’s almost certainly because a red hot PR machine sprang into action
to spin it just right then make it disappear.
If you have an example in mind, keep it there while reading on.
When deciding what to wear on a night out, if a woman has any social awareness,
she will want it to be appropriate for the occasion.
Sometimes, with some groups, it will be ok to wear that shorter skirt.
Sometimes it may even be ok to give the girls a bit of an airing, but the bits
in between are strictly reserved for a very limited audience.
Make the wrong choice and you lose control over your image in the eyes of those
present and if cameras are around, you may lose control of your image all
together. It is hard to build a reputation, but even harder to rebuild one if
you mistakenly expose yourself in the wrong circumstances.
The same is true for your cloud usage choices. What do you want to
expose in the cloud? Not all cloud environments, like not all crowds, are equal.
On the Same Page
Like The Metaphor Minute (which is I why I love TAP)
the stories on TAP are from readers who create analogies between what
people already know, or find interesting (such as politics, art, history,
theatre, sport, science, music and everyday life experiences), and the points
they want to drive home about information security.
What analogies and metaphors can you use to create interest in whatever you
communicate to get the results you want?
“I can think of nothing that an audience won’t
understand. The only problem is to interest them; once they are interested, they
can understand anything in the world!” Orson Welles, (1915-1985)
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
For more information on Bruce Hallas and his services, visit
www.marmaladebox.com See how Bruce even used an analogy to name his
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