Whatever you happen to be doing, it is usually a good idea to be doing it right. That involves following the basic steps needed to successfully get from the starting line to success – steps that have usually been discovered and developed by the legions who have gone before you who have tried things out, learned from their mistakes, tried again and succeeded.
Take cooking a steak as an example. There are some things you always do, and some things you definitely don’t do – say, put frosting on it, or let the dog play with it. And there are some things you MAY do – if you really know what you’re doing. The things you MAY do usually don’t take much extra effort or time, just a little more knowledge – but usually, it’s those discretionary steps that make the difference between “pretty good” and “fantastic.”
So how do you cook a perfect (or nearly perfect) steak? Here are the ground rules:
- Plan ahead – Pull your steaks from the fridge at least one hour before cooking. Why? Because when a steak is cooked cold, it’s hard to cook the meat in the middle. You wind up with an overdone outside and an underdone middle. (Pro tip: Use this time to rub the steak with olive oil, and sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance the flavor. You can thank me later).
- Use High Heat – Make sure your pan or grill is preheated on high before you start cooking. This helps to caramelize the outer coating of the steak, giving it just a little crunch – and “sealing in the flavor,” as they say on the commercials.
- Pay attention to detail – Ideally, you should only have to flip a steak once. The timing of that flip depends on the thickness of the cut. For an average 1″-1.5″ thick cut, here are some proposed times: For medium Rare: cook on the first side for five minutes, then flip and cook side 2 for 3.5 minutes. For medium, add 2 more minutes to the first side and 1 more minute on side 2. Be careful not to cook for too long – going anywhere past “just right” leaves you with a tough piece of meat, or perhaps a very expensive chew toy for Fluffy.
- Rest – Let your steaks to rest on a plate for 5 minutes or so – but not longer – before serving or cutting. The internal cooking process continues even after you’ve pulled them from the pan, creating a more even texture and enhancing flavor – and the natural juices run out, which can be poured back over the steak when served.
Good cooks may do things a little differently. After all, there might be such a thing as a “happy accident” in the kitchen – and if not, you can always cover with “That’s the way mom (or “real Italian chefs” or “Anthony Bourdain”) does it. But happy data security accidents…? Not so much. Sometimes you just have to know and follow all the rules.
At Red Level, we know how to cook up a good metaphor. So here are our ground rules for security:
- Preparation – You can’t just pull your security device out of the box and let it warm up to room temperature. You will need to plan for installation, evaluate all the features you will be utilizing, and assess the steps needed for a successful implementation.
- High Heat – Not so great for equipment, but a good analogy for the pressure your security team should feel when making significant changes to your security setup. Deficiencies in your design, implementation plan, or procedures can leave vulnerabilities in your solution, leaving it overcooked – and decidedly unpalatable.
- Attention to detail – Consistent monitoring of your security is critical. You can always send an over- or under cooked steak back to the kitchen – but you’ve got exactly one shot at getting your security setup exactly right, and you’ve got to keep an eye on it at all times.
- Let it rest – Said no security expert ever! Real security is a process, not a destination – a constantly-maintained, constantly-tended process of implementation, evaluation, and improvement designed to meet current challenges and anticipate future ones. Anything less isn’t a real solution – and doesn’t fully protect your business.
Can you trust us behind a grill? Probably.. Can you trust us with keeping your business data secure? Definitely. And we’ll always serve it up “well done.”
Join us for our signature Steak & Security event Wednesday, September 14th beginning at 11:30 am at The Capital Grille in Troy, MI.