Prevention or Cure?

The Ambulance Down in the Valley

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its edge had once slipped a duke,
And full many a peasant.

The people said something would have to be done,
But their plans did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Others, "An ambulance down in the valley."

The lament of the crowd was profound and loud,
As their hearts overflowed with pity;
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
And it spread through the neighboring city.

A collection was made to accumulate aid,
And dwellers in highway and alley
Gave dollars and cents, not to furnish a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

Picture of ambulance driving into a valley.

"For the cliff is all right, if your careful," they said,
"And, if folks ever slip and are dropping,
It's not the slipping and falling that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally,
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With the ambulance down in the valley.

Said one in his plea, "It's a marvel to me
That you'd give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause,
Why, you'd much better aim at prevention.

For the mischief, of course,
Should be stopped at its source.
Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally.
It is far better sense to rely on a fence
Than an ambulance down in the valley."

"He is wrong in his head," the majority said;
"He would end all our earnest endeavor.
He's a man who would shirk his responsible work,
But we will support it forever.
Aren't we picking up all, just as fast as they fall,
And giving them care liberally?
A superfluous fence is of no consequence,
If the ambulance works in the valley.

The story looks queer as we've written it here,
But things oft occur that are stranger;
More humane, we assert, than to succor the hurt
Is the plan of removing the danger,
The best possible course is to safeguard the source;
Attend to things rationally.
Yes, build up the fence and let us dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley.

This is a variation on the original poem, written in 1895, attributed to Joseph Malins.

Why it Matters

Equifax, one of the big three consumer reporting bureaus made headlines in 2017 when it disclosed that it had been hacked.  The breach impacted as many as 143 million Americans as well as Canadian and British citizens. Personal information exposed included social security numbers, credit scores, driver’s license numbers, payment card data, and account numbers.

A single employee could have prevented this breach.

Equifax confirmed that attackers entered its system through a known vulnerability.  Had Equifax acted when the patch was released two months earlier, the breach would not have happened. 


Prevention Versus Cure
Article by K Rudolph, CISSP © Native Intelligence, Inc.    All rights reserved.