The Dominos Theory of Cybersecurity


What FTI cybersecurity expert Greg Berkin knows about setting (and crashing) dominoes may just keep your organization from being hacked.

We are all familiar with the art and science of falling dominoes from childhood. You place dominoes on their tails and knock over the first one in a row to create a chain reaction. A successful “run” is a continuous (and satisfying) flow of knocking down tiles until the last one.

On the biggest stages, the most spectacular domino races involve thousands of tiles, complex patterns and 3D stacking. Engineering success on that scale requires patience, vision and foresight — and a helping of creativity.

Greg Berkin brings those virtues—developed through his passion for knocking down dominoes—to his role as a senior advisor at FTI Cybersecurity. Berkin has more than three decades of experience as an application software developer and program manager that includes engineering complex platforms to protect organizations from cyberattacks. The beginning of his “running” goes all the way back to 1984, when he founded an educational software company for an emerging company called Apple.

Earlier this year, Berkin’s signature skills earned him an invitation to appear on “Domino Masters,” an unscripted reality show that aired on Fox TV (Disney). Teams of three competed in making the most complex and artistic dominoes. Berkin’s team, “OG Toplers”, with almost a century of experience, reached the semi-finals of the competition.1

The event reinforced Berkin’s thinking about how closely his occupation is connected to his calling. “The skills required in the art of domino flipping have real-world applications,” he says. “I often find myself applying the lessons learned from the viral domino building sensation to my work in cybersecurity consulting.”

Setting yourself up for success

You don’t have to be a domino master or chief information security officer to know how critical and expensive cybersecurity has become. Global spending on related products and services is projected to exceed $1. This may interest you : Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity | 4-week Online Classes.75 trillion cumulatively for the five-year period ending in 2025.2

FTI Journal asked Berkin to further break down the connection between the digital world of cybersecurity and the analog science of dominoes. Here are three of his theories.

Theory 1: Tiling before recording the room is stupid

Experienced domino flippers look carefully at the area they are working in before they draw tiles. To see also : Why Are Cyber Forensics Professionals in Demand in 2022? – EC-Council. Each space has its own nooks and crannies, and the tools and tricks that can be pulled out for spectacle often vary.

The same applies to establishing an effective cyber security strategy. Preparing for a cyber attack requires taking into account the nature of the business, the amount and type of information it retains, as well as local regulatory requirements.

Just as each location places unique demands on the domino toppler, organizations face unique challenges based on the scale of their overall digital footprint. Find out what makes your needs unique and opt for a customized approach over cookie-cutter solutions.

Theory 2: Each. Single. Dominoes. Count.

One tile is out of place. That’s all it takes to create a massive failure in your flip. Read also : “Using cyber security as the example to follow”. A single vulnerability in your security system can also cripple your business and even damage your company’s reputation. In either case, mitigating risk starts with recognizing the hyper-connected nature of your assets.

Whether you’re creating a crash plan or a cybersecurity plan, you need to understand that your setup is only as strong as your weakest link or links. But it’s also important to know that focusing on a single domino in a race involving a million pieces means you may never be fully positioned. Similarly, performing day-to-day business operations while looking for potential weak points in your system can prevent you from meeting your deadline. Or in the budget.

Theory 3: Always have an alternate route to the last tile (prepare for contingencies)

In the digital world, you cannot compromise mission-critical functions; they have to run all the time. A successful domino run must also keep moving, knocking over the next piece in the right sequence.

In both disciplines, you have to prepare for all kinds of contingencies to make sure you run consistently and run reliably. This means having backups and knowing they will work if a failure occurs elsewhere.

In knocking down dominoes, this involves setting up an alternate path to the goal with additional dominoes being separated so that if one path fails, the other can succeed. In cybersecurity, this means not only building digital backups of your system, but also simulating real-world scenarios to test resilience and improve your responses to potential attacks.

The big picture

Berkin is a firm believer in working together. Like creating a cybersecurity plan, he says setting up a massive domino race on your own can be tedious and even ineffective. “While it is possible to go it alone, of course, partnering with other experts is the key to better engineering,” he says. The domino master adds that with cybersecurity, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae and anxiety of the moment. “You can end up missing the forest for the trees,” he says. “Or maybe I should say, ‘crash for the tiles’.”

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