Monday, April 21, 2014

Research and Failure

By Pat Muoio

Folk wisdom has it that a good research program should fail at least 70% of the time. This might lead one to think that research is the perfect endeavor for the lazy and the inept. Yet research remains a respected pursuit; and researchers are generally thought to be driven and accomplished (insert image or your favorite inventor or mad scientist here). So how do we reconcile this drive for truth and innovation with the complacent acceptance of a high failure rate?

First we have to recognize that not all failures are created equal. There is one species of failure that results from lack of critical thinking, misunderstanding of the problem, unchallenged assumptions, poor experimental design, or general incompetence. This kind of failure is no more acceptable in research than it is in development or operations. The desirable species of failure comes from taking significant technical risk and pushing the boundaries of what is currently known. The thinking is, if you go out on a technical limb, it will fail to bear your weight a good percentage of the time. You can increase your chances of being supported by staying close to the trunk, or by only venturing out on the thick limbs that have been around for a while, but you can’t reach very far from these vantage points. To expand the scope of your grasp, you need to explore the less mature parts of the tree.

But falling out of a tree hurts (to torture this analogy just a little bit more) so why is climbing trees a good thing? For one, the view from the top when you are successful is spectacular. For two, you learn a lot about the problem, and about the limits of our understanding, every time you fall. And, if you are self-critical about your climb, your analysis of what went wrong improves your chances of succeeding the next time. This learning, born of risk-taking, is the value of failure in research.

Yet taking risks is not the same as being foolhardy, and it is critical to keep this in mind when embarking on a research activity – good research needs a strategy. You can assess the resilience of the branches of the tree you want to climb. You can tell in advance that some branches are just too weak, or are pointing downward and so won’t improve your view in any case. You can trace a path through the tree that enables you to jump to a nearby branch when you hear the one you are on starting to crack. And you can put a knowledge-collecting net near the base of the tree so you can bounce back up after the fall.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G2 Leadership.

By: Paul Green, CEO

Eight things I believe about Leadership:

1. Being a Leader is a choice and does not require a title.

2. Leaders act with integrity and are fair. The bedrock of leadership is integrity. Integrity is the product of moral character and honesty and is closely associated to the consistency of our actions. If one says they are going to do something and then does not do it, they risk having their integrity called into question.

3. Leaders are trustworthy. Trust is a belief that something or someone has integrity. In other words it is the belief that something (or someone) will work as you expect. If you want people to trust you focus on consistently doing what you say you’re going to do, and always be fair to others.

4. Leaders create positive environments by being approachable and willing to listen to the ideas and concerns of anyone in the company. Leaders are willing to be transparent about how they make decisions. They have high expectations of others, offer praise when it is deserved and provide candid and timely feedback when those expectations are not met.

5. Leaders create a sense of belonging by building teams of people whose personal ideals and motivations are aligned with the core mission and values of the organization, and by helping each member of their team understand how they can contribute to the team’s shared goals.

6. Leaders inspire others. They keep us focused on our most important goal, remind us of why this goal is meaningful and lead by example.

7. Leaders build the esteem of others. Leaders let their people know they believe in them and their potential. They take the time to celebrate the successes of their peers and direct reports in front of others. Leaders offer meaningful encouragement, and help others realize their own success even when they can't see it for themselves.

8. Leaders empower others. They see more in people than they see in themselves. Great leaders hold us accountable not only for what must be done, but also to realize the fullness of our potential.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Leveraging the Cybersecurity Framework to Protect Critical Infrastructure

By Brian Hubbard

After a year of working hand-in-hand with NIST to develop the Cybersecurity Framework, G2 has established an Implementation Support team to help critical infrastructure organizations leverage the Framework to improve their cybersecurity programs.

Our Implementation Support team assists organizations in the following areas: identification and scoping of their cybersecurity programs, development and analysis of their cybersecurity profiles, the analysis of gaps, and the development of action plans to close gaps.  In addition, we help those organizations implement those action plans with the intent of moving the organization toward their targeted state.

As an added value, G2 also provides training on the Cybersecurity Framework.  Our tiered training sessions are rooted in the many lessons that we learned while supporting the Cybersecurity Framework’s development and implementation.  We offer training that ranges from informational overviews for C-level executives to implementation seminars that focus on helping managers and operators understand how the Framework can improve their cybersecurity programs.  Beyond that, we facilitate workshops that help organizations develop detailed Framework implementation plans.

Our support doesn't stop at training and planning.  Our Implementation Support team also provides the expertise required to continually maintain and evolve your security program as the target state profile continually evolves to address newly identified threats, security vulnerabilities, or changes in technologies.  Additionally, our implementation team defines security target states for organizational suppliers. 

Our Supplier Risk Management capability identifies security risks imposed by your suppliers and establishes target profiles to manage the risk your suppliers impose.

For more information on our services supporting the implementation of the Cybersecurity Framework, or any of our other services, feel free to contact Brian Hubbard at or 301-575-5106.