AusCERT and the Award for Information Security Excellence

I've been at the AusCERT conference this week which has presented a rare opportunity to walk to a major event from my home rather than fly to the other side of the world. And what an awesome walk too, right on the turn into "winter", which means something quite different in this part of the world:

At the gala dinner last night, without any warning beforehand, I somehow walked away with this:

(Yes, that guy is wearing a cape, it was a Star Wars thing.)

In years gone by, they've publicised the nominees so there's been time to think about what you might say if you end up on the stage. I've never previously ended up needing to use those mentally prepared statements and in the case of last night, there was definitely nothing prepared. If I'm honest, I was a bit lost for words.

The first thing I realised I should have said when I came off the stage was that the support of my wife (who was there in the audience), has been an enormous part of what I do. I've spoken about this publicly in the past (deep link to the point in my "Hack Your Career" talk where I discuss this), but the blogging and the speaking and the courses and the HIBP stuff and especially the travel puts a lot of burden back onto Kylie. We always discuss big effort commitments like the Europe trip I'm about to head off on and decide together what makes sense to do, but they're ultimately only possible with her support.

The other really big thing is that all those activities are only possible because I have an audience to consume them. That's you guys and your appetite for content is what allows me to do what I do. And trust me - I pinch myself every day when I think about what a great time of life it is for my family and I - but it's only possible because people have given me a platform on which to do what I do. Remember also, this has all only happened because I started writing a blog in 2009, in fact I discuss that in the aforementioned talk about hacking your career. That first ever post was just me saying "I reckon good things can happen if you make a public platform for yourself" and 9 years on, here we are.

Finally, AusCERT themselves deserve a hat-tip here too. Not just because of the award or the event, but because of the role they play here in Australia. It was AusCERT I first went to in 2016 with the Red Cross Blood Service data breach and it was them who turned an otherwise very unfortunate event (which included Kylie's and my data), into what is now frequently referenced as the "Gold Standard of Breach Disclosure". I was on a panel yesterday that was talking about breach disclosure and time and time again, it came back to "do what the Red Cross did". That's AusCERT's work right there.

A big thanks to everyone who's supported, encouraged, argued and otherwise contributed to helping me do what I do today. I'll talk more about this and share further thoughts in my weekly update vid later today.

Awards