Relationships, Process & Technology – What vehicle repair and cybersecurity have in common

June 2nd, 2017
Ed Snodgrass, CISO, Secure Digital Solutions

Recently I started on a lengthy, long desired journey. My son and I have been looking for an automotive restoration project for a while and as it turns out, we finally found a ‘perfect’ candidate. Weeks of research and dozens of inspections later, we finally netted a gem – a 1989 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition equipped with a highly sought-after 351 Windsor engine. The body is in decent shape and it has under 100k miles, but like all older vehicles, it will take work to get it into fighting shape. We knew going in that this would be a mutual ‘sweat equity’ endeavor and since both of us work long hours and rarely see one another, it would be a wonderful opportunity for father-son time (something I took for granted when I was his age). Ultimately it will be his vehicle and we were both looking forward to embarking on this project. As we drove in into the garage and turned off the ignition with a sense of mutual triumph, we wondered where the heck to we begin?

I knew that we needed an authoritative source before we started the real resto work, so I ordered the Chilton Manual for our specific vehicle. We now had a standard to go by. The next milestone would be a comprehensive review by an experienced mechanic. Both of us have solid knowledge in this area but in no way does it compare to an expert. Better to know what we need to do, and in what recommended order, before we potentially make things worse by flying blind. The Bronco goes in this weekend to be fully assessed. In the meantime, we’ve started building a detailed spreadsheet outlining the usual suspects: cost, parts, manufacturers, vendor websites, etc., in preparation for what we want to do.

Now begins the assessment of our current capabilities. What tools will we need and what do we currently have? We’ll need to address certain fixes right away that will likely be revealed in our mechanic’s check-up, but we’ve also got a wish-list of what we want to do. For example, this motor came standard with electronic fuel injection but we’re contemplating swapping that for a carbureted setup. We know we want aftermarket exhaust as well and all that goes into the spreadsheet with options, cost, etc. We’ve started discussing what days and times we’ll be able to work on this each week but everyone knows that work schedules are simply guidelines and rarely stay static. Our assumptions? Into the spreadsheet. He’ll need a daily driver on the days that we’ve got critical components out of the engine so there’s another scheduling task. Our spreadsheet is growing as well as the ‘master’ schedule but between the two of us we should be able to keep everything on track.

I’ve started searching for some application that may exist to put all of this into a single source, but so far I’ve come up empty. We’ll keep at it and continue to learn, plan, and execute along this exciting journey. We’re under no illusions that this will be an easy road, but the satisfaction of the final product will be fantastic. Fortunately, in my security world, there is a single source with which I can manage multiple complex initiatives. That single source is TrustMAPP.