Good Security Belongs in the Background

information securityBy Mike Patterson

You may have read that Jason Bourne took the #1 spot at the domestic box office last weekend, with $60 million in ticket sales—one of the better debuts of the summer. That translates into approximately 6 million people seeing the movie, and probably less than a dozen noticed the minor role Rook Security and I played in the fictitious Exocon show at the Aria in the second half of the movie. That’s because after a week of shooting this January, only 30 seconds or so of the footage made its way into the final cut—which for Rook Security amounted to two seconds of my forehead and hair seen through a prop.

(To be fair, we were warned far in advance that all, some or none of the footage would be included in the final version.)

The final cut used a number of camera angles that did not show our elaborately constructed booth or what I thought to be my Oscar-worthy performance as a security expert being interviewed by a reporter. Heck, I was so devoted to my extra role that I even grew my beard out for 12 weeks to look more like a security guy and less like a suit. However, given how the movie turned out, I am happy that 10% of me was onscreen for even a small amount of time. Many other companies that participated weren’t even close to being in the final cut. I was at least partially visible and our booth was an IMAX lens, a prop or an editor’s decision away from getting a moment of solid screen time.

I was a little down, thinking that I hadn't made it into the film at all until I re-watched the scene and spotted myself. While it would have been great to have a larger presence—and credit for Rook Security—someone pointed out some similarities between that role and the one that security teams play every day, which made me feel a little better:

1. Being In The Background Is A Good Thing: If security is doing its ninja job properly, no one should be the wiser. Eyes should be on Matt Damon and the other stars … not on the background players like IT/security. If security happens to be playing a “starring” role, chances are something is wrong.

2. Teamwork Is Critical: What I wasn’t prepared for on set was the tremendous amount of teamwork involved behind the scenes. The crew spent a lot of time making our booth look as conference-ready as possible for shooting, no matter the likelihood that it would be in the final shot or even discernible. I was driven to Fry’s to get replacement cables for our video screens by a faithful crew driver. Victor Brunette, in particular, was up until 11 p.m. the night before the first day of shooting to make sure everything looked perfect for us. Security is a team effort as well and requires everyone’s cooperation to become a success.

3. Detail Matters: I was stunned at the level of detail on the set. Exocon hats, shirts and other gear was “for sale” at a booth not seen in the final cut. Expo maps were around the set in a font so small it would be impossible to see the names listed even in IMAX, but they were there anyway. All of the crew and set dressers would do great in a Security Operations Center—no stone went unturned and every opportunity to provide a value add was pursued.

4. We Get To Do Cool Stuff Everyday: Not many people get the opportunity to go to Vegas for a week and a half as part of a movie shoot and watch Matt Damon slip in and out of a hiding spot right next to your company’s conference booth (and generally have your logo in his face for an hour). And not many people get to be on the front lines of the security fight, playing an important role in protecting the interests of our clients and country. 

In closing, thank you to the cast and crew Jason Bourne for inviting us to participate in your film. At the end of the day, we were happy to embrace our security role and blend into the background (as usual). My IMDB page will just have to wait a little bit longer. 

Mike Patterson is Vice President of Strategy, Rook Security, a global IT security solutions provider.

Posted on August 4, 2016

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