Security leaders: The art of problem solving

In the intense and fast-moving world of cyber security, problem solving capabilities are key. New trends and new organizational conundrums crop up on a daily basis, meaning that businesses need to be able to innovate on the fly and launch new cyber security campaigns quickly. As the CISO of Delta Airlines says, “To excel in this field, you have to be a good problem solver, not necessarily a strong programmer.”

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a new wave of problems into computing ecosystems. For CISOs, there has been no truer test of cyber security problem solving skills than across the past 16 months. CISOs have transitioned thousands of employees into remote work situations, have had to develop new means of securing cloud infrastructure and have reformed practices to accommodate relentless ransomware threats.

Puzzling over problems

A passion for solving problems leads many CISOs and cyber security professionals to enjoy puzzles of all kinds. Individuals in these roles can’t afford to have languishing or lethargic problem solving skills. As a result, many computing professionals play strategy games on the weekends (either of the board-game variety or the video game version), seek out abstract art problems to solve, enjoy identifying complex patterns in everyday life, spend time untangling anagrams and appreciate the good old-fashioned crossword puzzle.

The brain and crosswords

Although data does not confirm that crossword puzzles will prevent Alzheimer’s or boost your ability to find your car keys in a hurry, they can offer you personal rewards. Evidence suggests that crosswords can enhance mental fluency, enabling you to find words more quickly and to better articulate your ideas among friends and colleagues.

In addition, crossword puzzles can a provide a brief break in the day that enables you to mentally regroup and refocus. “Solving crosswords eliminates worries. They make you a calmer and more focused person.” – Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword editor and NPR puzzlemaster

If crossword puzzle practice can make you sound smarter and can help you manage your mood mid-day, why not give this cyber security themed one a whirl?

Cyber security crossword

If solving a puzzle with pen and paper is easiest, print out this page. Click here for the answer key.

Crosswords: Celebrities love them too

It’s not just the computer club and the clueless who champion crosswords. Celebrities from Bill Clinton, to New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, to Daily Show host John Stewart enjoy increasing their knowledge, calm, and problem solving capacities through crosswords. In fact, John Stewart loves the puzzles so much that he famously proposed to his fiancée via crossword puzzle.

Creativity in cyber security awareness

You can also consider using crosswords and other gaming gimmicks as a means of educating your staff about cyber security. According to Scientific American, puzzles get people to think outside-of-the-box and keep people ready for whatever comes next. And that’s exactly what we need amidst this moment of global uncertainty.

If the puzzle above was too easy, move on to elite crossword challenges with McKinsey and Company. Lastly, be sure to sign up for our cyber security newsletter, here.