Sheltering At Home, A Day In The Life In The COVID-19 Pandemic | #corporatesecurity |

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I live in Metropolitan Washington, DC area where the spread of COVID-19 is not rampant. Because it is such a political city and is the focus of policies that evolve in addressing mitigating COVID-19, residents here are continually engulfed with news and activities surrounding the pandemic. I am one of them.

There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a cataclysmic impact on our lives no matter where you may live. Our work and social routines have been usurped, and we live in fear of becoming infected with a virus that is massively contagious and potentially lethal.

For many people, the situation in Washington DC resembles the theme of the classic movie Ground Hog day, repetition of the same activities over and over each day. After all, sheltering at home can be limiting. Still we must move ahead and adapt to the new challenges of sheltering at home and getting through each day of the pandemic.

For me personally, my daily routines have not seen a major upheaval. Thankfully, my daily routines have been adaptable to the work environment shaped by the Covid-19 crisis. Last January, I transitioned to my own consulting business where I now have more control over my own destiny. This change has allowed me to better pursue my variety of security passions and business interests. Also, I no longer have to worry about corporate hierarchy issues or commuting to and from work.  I now work with a variety of clients plus I serve as faculty at Georgetown University where I teach courses on homeland security, emerging technologies, and on cybersecurity (now online). 

My longtime career focus has been in cybersecurity, homeland security, and in emerging technologies as a strategist, implementer, and subject matter expert for much of the past two decades. I have been in senior leadership roles in both government and industry in my career. I worked almost a decade for the later Senator Arlen Specter on security and technology issues on the Hill, and have served in VP roles for government relations, marketing, and business development for several Fortune 1000 companies.

In my field, there is always a crisis around the corner. Security requirements never go away and to keep up in the field you have to be always be learning. Cybersecurity is a case in point. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began cyber-attacks have been on the uptick, particularly phishing attacks posing as health resources for dealing with the virus.

I believe that most of my perspectives in security are ingrained from my experience of being a “Plank Holder” (original member) at the Department of Homeland Security when the federal agency was first stood up in 2004. Part of my work early on was to help prepare our bio-pandemic and bio-terrorism experts to testify before Congress. In my role I became knowledgeable on the issues and aware of the relative ease of how a virus or disease could spread, intentionally or unintentionally. The threat of pandemics frightened me then and still frightens me now. It also paved my interest in developing expertise in the corresponding cyber threat of digital viruses.

In my field, there is always a crisis around the corner. Security requirements never go away and to keep up in the field you have to be always be learning. Cybersecurity is a case in point. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began cyber-attacks have been on the uptick, particularly phishing attacks posing as health resources for dealing with the virus. Researchers at the company Checkpoint said such COVID-19 cyber-attacks now number around 5,000 a day. 

As a regular speaker at conferences, I can no longer travel to them for a while but I can still participate in webinars and write. Still, I do manage to keep quite busy and my weekdays are filled with business related activities and conference calls.

Like many of you out there, I also try to order food and supplies online to meet the longer than planned confinement in my house. Trying to order is like playing slots. When you get the products you are seeking and a delivery date, you have hit the jackpot.

I do miss going to restaurants (my wife and I are foodies), working out at the gym (I am a former competitive power lifter), and socializing with friends. For now my leisure activities will be confined to reading, watching many series from the paranormal Travel Channel, news, and of course documentaries such as Netflix’s the Tiger King. There are a lot of entertainment venues accessible online and on cable nowadays.

Like many of you out there, I also try to order food and supplies online to meet the longer than planned confinement in my house. Trying to order is like playing slots. When you get the products you are seeking and a delivery date, you have hit the jackpot.

There is a silver lining to being self-quarantined. I am very grateful to have both daughters home from college (Bucknell) where we all get to spend great quality time. And I recognize our pets, a soulful pug and a pampered Persian cat, have really been happy with having us all around 24/7. There is some good that can come about during trying times, including spending more time with loved ones. The outflowing of charity and people helping others, especially those in the medical and first responder communities is heartwarming. 

All said, I hope we all do not have to shelter at home for too much more time and that life can get back to normal. I particularly empathize with those who have loved ones that are ill or who have lost their jobs and are enduring economic hardship. It is especially anxious time for many around the globe.  I am optimistic that new therapies for the virus will soon be discovered and that healthier and happier days are ahead.

Chuck Brooks is a Forbes Contributor and a globally recognized thought leader and evangelist for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn,” He was named by Thompson Reuters as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer” in 2018. He is Faculty in the graduate Applied Intelligence and Cybersecurity Programs at Georgetown University. He is also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, and Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today.  

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