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Security Audits, House Cleaning and College Roommates

December 20, 2019

My daughter is home from her first semester at college. She was roommates with her best friend from high school. Her first semester went about like you’d expect. Her grades were lower than when she was in high school. (College is hard.) She got on TV a couple times at sporting events. And her relationship with her best friend changed.

Our family once wanted was considering renting our friend’s house. It was only a few blocks away from our current rental. Unfortunately the current rental had an unapproved swimming pool on the bottom floor every time it rained.

Our friends were very concerned with the care of thier house. They’d built it themselves. The wife was getting older and unsteady on her feet. She couldn’t easily navigate the four stories in their home. And it was a beautiful home, immaculately kept. . .as people tend to make their homes after their kids are gone.

One day we were talking with Carrie on the phone. She still wasn’t sure if she was willing to rent.

I just don’t know. You have all those kids. I’m not sure you’d be able to keep it clean.

Well, it’s important to us to keep our house clean.

Can I come over?

Sure. But, why?

If I came over right now, what would your house look like?

She wanted to do a spot inspection. The thing is, she would have found our house looked like it had just been cleaned. Because it had just been cleaned. It was cleaned everyday.

My kids thought it was a punishment. From the time they were old enough to pick up their toys, we made them “help” clean the house. They weren’t very good at it. Not at first. Sometimes we had to spend twice as much time on a task teaching the kids to do it. It would have been quicker to do it ourselves. But, we were more interested in teaching children than in getting the house cleaned quickly.

As the kids got older they took on more and more responsibilities. Eventually they started washing their own clothes. They took turns cooking meals. They learned to vacuum, scrub toilets, dust. And generally they resented it.

My kids asked my daughter what bothered her about her friend. You know what it was? Her roommate wasn’t as concerned with cleaning as she was. I decided I’d found a teaching moment.

Kids, you will have a lot of roommates in your life. It might be college, or missions, or simply sharing a room. You will never have roommates as interested in cleaning as you are. You guys thought it was punishment all those years. You should thank your mother for teaching you how to clean.

I’m not sure they bought it, but they didn’t object.

Our client does inspections of our call centers and data centers on an annual basis. They do scheduled inspections, but this year they added surprise inspections.

Each inspection involves a long list of items that are inspected. Failure on any one of them could result in a failure of the audit, or at least a finding that has to be corrected.

I’ve always appreciated, even welcomed auditors in my career. As a Program Manager, I’ve built the best possible system I could. An auditor is someone who is going to come in and test my system and then tell me where the weak spots are and how to fix them.

I attend, and am mostly responsible for the security audits. We have a dedicated security analyst, but if only one of us can attend, it’s generally me.

However, not everyone has my view of audits. They are generally considered high stress. What makes them easier to take is the same attitude we had when my friend asked us about how clean our house was. We operate our centers as if we are being audited every day. While we prepare for an audit, the preparation is to review the checklist and identify anything that might be an issue.

What we don’t do is we don’t change our standard operating procedures. We don’t start doing the things we should have been doing all along. We don’t clean our house because company is coming. We just keep it clean.

We have issues with our audits, of course. Systems that were operating within acceptable parameters the previous check may have drifted out of alignment. But, we never have to make huge radical changes. We never have to clean like college students trying to get a security deposit back at the end of the semester.

It’s an attitude my daughter can appreciate.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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