Security Lessons from Nature – Fierasfer
All over the Internet, the fierasfer (aka pearlfish) is defined as: A genus of small, slender fishes, remarkable for their habit of living as commensals in other animals. One species inhabits the gill cavity of the pearl oyster near Panama; another lives within an East Indian holothurian. Not only does this go to show that almost no one does anything original on the Internet anymore, but also that fierasfers are some of the coolest fish ever.
What makes them unique is that they live inside other animals. Some may live inside other fish, clams, starfish or sea cucumbers. In most cases, they don’t harm the other creature, they just live together and share resources. This is much like a business that incubates other businesses. In this model, the larger business shelters and stabilizes the smaller startups, and the startups in turn, allow the larger business to be more nimble and responsive to market demands.
However, there is one small flaw in the plan. That flaw is known as Carapus acus. This pearlfish lives inside sea cucumbers and swims out at night looking for food. If food cannot be found, they eat the organs of the host. This would be like a startup having difficulty with cash flow and solving the problem by just taking money out of the accounts of the larger firm. Sadly, it can happen.
So, what lesson can be learned here? Well, one would be to not go swimming where fierasfers abound. A more practical one would be to be careful with whom you choose to partner. At the very least, be sure that any financial systems are separated. At most, you might want to find some way to keep the systems audited and make sure that the line between the companies are clear.
This way, you can keep your organs from being eaten while you sleep.