Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quick Tought - The Pelzman Effect

I was reading about Ralph Nader on Wikipedia, and came across something called the Pelzman Effect.

This is something I see a lot and I spend a lot of time in my induction meetings trying to work against.

The Pelzman Effect (named after Sam Peltzman, a professor of Economics) is when you are aware of safety controls.

Knowing that you are fairly well protected, you take more risky behavior. This essentially makes all the controls less valuable, worthless or actually creates more risk than if the controls were not in place.

Two of these controls (Firewalls and Antivirus) are important but they do not cover 100% of all risk and users need to know that they must not assume total protection but need to take some of their own precautions.

Backups are even worse.. they are not magical but they are assumed to be.