I recall an incident many years ago – one of those facepalm moments – where a company, in an urge to be environmentally friendly, took all of their paper which would have been recycled, and reused it instead. Now, done in the right fashion, this might have been a good idea. Or at least not awful.

Turns out, those recycled sheets had a secret life – they were the backs of invoices, employee records, and a treasure trove of personally identifiable information. Somebody, perhaps the CFO or the Director of Sustainability, saw a golden opportunity (single-sided paper) but missed the memo on potential repercussions.

Potential Consequences of Reusing Assets

Asset and code reuse has a long history. From turning newsprint into wrapping paper or using old servers to quickly spin up a snazzy marketing site, everyone, from cozy home offices to big-shot Fortune 100 companies, loves to skip the ‘start from scratch’ part.

Test data copied from production. LLMs seeded with personal data. Storage buckets switched to public to quickly share some documents. A network configuration copied over from a public web server to an intranet system. A database that could be extended “just a little bit” to meet a deadline.

Don’t be Next Year’s Holiday Party Story

As the end of the year comes and goes, teams will be racing to meet their commits for the year, and reusing existing assets is a quick way to get that win and ensure your holiday bonus comes through. Yet this holiday season, let’s be merry, but let’s also be wise. Don’t leave your data under the Christmas tree of oversights. Secure it like the gift it is, and you’ll be rewarded with a peaceful and joyous season!

Could your data security strategy use a little help from Santa’s elves? Watch this talk to learn the key mistakes to avoid and strategies for securing data in the cloud.