TZL 1475 (web)



Nice budget – too bad it’s wrong

Y ou likely have no reason to know the name Walter Bailey. A lot of people owe him their life, though. Don’t be a victim of continuation bias; it’s time to completely change your IT strategy in the face of the ongoing cyber threat.

In 1977, Walter was a busboy at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Kentucky. When a fire broke out, Walter (against the direction of his manager) stepped up to the microphone in an effort to get everyone out safely. He went to the stage in a room holding somewhere between 900 and 1,300 guests, all waiting for that evening’s main event: John Davidson. (Nobody cared in those days that the space had enough capacity and exits for 600 people.) Several warm-up acts, including a comedian, had already performed. So, it’s easy to understand why the crowd didn’t exactly snap to attention when a busboy started telling people about the fire and instructing them to move in an orderly way to one of the exits. A few laughed, thinking it was part of an act. Most just dismissed him. Four minutes later, the lights went out; and over the course of the next few hours 167 people would die.

The Beverly Hills Supper Club would become known as the location of one of the largest fires on record (and one of the deadliest). CONTINUATION BIAS AND YOUR BUDGET. The death toll at the Beverly Hills fire was impacted by continuation bias. This is the bias that makes us want to stick with the original plan, even when we get evidence that reveals the original plan is a bad one. Call it tunnel vision. Call it being hard-headed. Call it whatever you like – continuation bias drives poor decisions even when circumstances demand we step back and take another look. And this is why your nice, shiny, brand new budget is likely wrong (or at least part of it). THE PROBLEM. Cybersecurity is a charged word. It is something most do not understand, and also a word that has been used to instill fear in the market. The

Mark Hodges

See MARK HODGES, page 10


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