A look back at 2020

Last year, I set myself some goals for 2020 but I failed at most of them. Without going into the details, I struggled a lot this year.

Nevertheless I want to write this short blog post to keep the tradition alive.

2020 goals

Even when for most of the year I was just trying to survive and protect myself and others from getting this horrible disease, I want to reflect about the goals I set myself at the end of 2019.

I wanted to reach people that need to improve their security the most. I also wasn't planning to speak at security conferences.

One of the reasons I don't intend to speak at security conferences is because I want to put more energy in spreading security awareness. And the people that need it the most are typically not attending these conferences. I want to expand on the October awareness blog series and create new content. This could be video content, but also presentations at user groups or non security conferences.

Well, I didn't speak at any security conference, except at Bsides Newcastle, so I guess you could say I reached that goal ;-). Except for a few awareness blogs, I didn't create any new awareness content and I didn't give any presentations at (online) user groups or non security conferences.

It's a shame, really. It's never been easier to reach the audience that I wanted to reach as a lot of them are now confident with using online video chat applications. But I simply had no energy in the tank for most of the year. I'm feeling it's getting a bit better, so hopefully I can revisit these plans in 2021.

Some letterboxes in a row on a typical american street.
Photo by Yannik Mika / Unsplash

At the beginning of the year I started a weekly security newsletter. It was my view/analysis of the security news that grabbed my attention that week. The number of subscribers grew pretty fast and I really got good feedback. How much I wanted to keep delivering the newsletter, I struggled more and more every week to get it out. It was many hours of work which just wasn't maintainable anymore. So I took a break to give me some time to regain energy and rethink the newsletter.

I was so relieved that I didn't have the pressure (which I put on myself) to release a newsletter every week. I have been thinking about doing a newsletter every 2 weeks, but to me it doesn't make a lot of sense for a newsletter that covers current security affairs. I still don't have worked out how to make it less time consuming, so if you have ideas or suggestions please reach out and I'll take them into consideration.

Oh and the other plans I made to create my own security awareness podcast, well they are in the bin for now :-).

Some positives

The pandemic made me realize that I was overdoing things.

On top of a full-time job doing so much (unpaid) infosec stuff just wasn't healthy anymore. I'm really glad that I've found a much better balance and the time spent with my close family is so much more worth than anything else.

Like I said in my blog of last year:

"Feeling better physically will definitely help me to get the balance right. Less time behind the screen, more time for my family and my own fitness!"

I'm realy happy that fitness improved a lot. At the beginning of 2020 I weighed almost 100 kg and could barely run 6 km.

I got my weight just below 90 somewhere in the middle of the year and ran 15km, but a heart surgery and a month of inactivity afterwards set me a bit back.

But, given where I come from, I'm really happy with my stats for this year.

runs 2020
bike rides 2020

2021 goals

Currently the only goal is to stay healthy and help protect the ones I love. For the rest, I'm not planning anything yet.

I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy in 2021. And keep in mind it will take time but things will improve in 2021!

John Opdenakker

John Opdenakker

Blogger | #Infosec | #AppSec | Security awareness | Occasional Public Speaker | Cycling | Running | Enjoying life