The other day my co-workers and I were having lunch and I was eating fruit. One of them noted that he really doesn’t enjoy fruit very much. When I replied that I only really like fruit that is “not a lot of work” — the chop busting began. It only got worse when my answer was cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple. Their opinion was that they were the hardest fruits to eat because of the amount of work necessary. When I explained that I thought the hardest fruits to eat were apples, oranges, and pears — they had a good laugh at my expense — as they thought I clearly had things backwards.
I understood their reasoning and frankly felt a little dumb for not being able to communicate my reasoning a bit better. It was not until a week later when I was cutting a pineapple that I came to the realization about why I feel the fruits I mentioned are easier to eat. They are easier to eat because you only have to make the effort to prepare them once. After cutting them up — there is large amount of delicious fruit that is easy to enjoy for an extended period of time.
In an odd way — its sort of the same way with establishing an Information Security Management System (ISMS). I’ll illustrate my point with a recent project I worked on.
We were engaged by an engineering client to implement a NIST 800-53 R4 based ISMS to meet the flow-down requirements of a contract they had won. Like many organizations things were done in a largely ad-hoc manner — so we were starting from scratch. Much like a ripe pineapple — building an ISMS based on NIST 800-53 in a compressed time frame can be daunting to tackle; with little immediate payback.
However, after a few weeks of hard work, things began to crystallize. We were able to jointly implement a strong road-map for their ISMS program. Ripe pineapples & information security management systems – done right — both can be fruitful.