Information security – the changing face

In a previous article, I discussed the changing shape of Information Security and the influence it is having on the future of business—through an expanding scope and stakeholder base—and the resultant need to review how it is positioned organisationally. The other equally important element that complements the changing shape of Information Security is the changing face of Information Security specialists.

We all know that the unrelenting pace of technology change has driven many organisations to rethink business strategies and models to embrace new capabilities and extend their market reach. Increasingly this means the boundaries between IT and business are being blurred. Many companies would collapse—even in the short term—without their IT. Furthermore the changing technology and business world comes with an overlay of a growing regulatory, audit, compliance and threat landscape. This presents a major challenge to managing typically resource-strapped Information Security.

Keeping across evolving technology on all its levels is nothing new for Information Security specialists, this is, after all, bread and butter—their passion, and what they have always done best. But to step into the shoes of the business and its consumers and consider security in terms of agility, flexibility, compliance, awareness, strategic direction, pragmatism, and so on, is another ball game entirely. These are whole new skill sets for most Information Security specialists that they now require to be effective in their work. That these remain elusive (I would suggest) is, in large part, because we are stuck in the past and not thinking outside the square.

Despite business powering onwards and upwards with new technologies, business structures tend to remain static. This is no exception for Information Security. If I have already urged a review of the positioning of Information Security in the organisational structure, it follows that I also urge a review of what an Information Security specialist is, and what their skills look like. There is so much more to know and understand now, and so many skills that haven’t figured in this space until recently. Soft skills and non-technical skills are now critically important in handling the creeping scope of Information Security—and to overcome the general reticence of business stakeholders to engage. But how often does one find a masterful technologist that is also a masterful administrator/communicator/business driver/compliance expert? They exist, rarely.

In my opinion, the changing needs of the business must be supported and guided by an holistic Information Security capability that can no longer subscribe to the traditional one-size-fits-all team model, but rather a combination of complimentary skill sets. Information Security can comprise virtual members and perhaps outsource some functions. There can be dotted line reports, formalised security responsibilities arching across the organisation to leverage existing and specialised skills both technical and non-technical (such as communications or legal) to build the broader skills required without demanding it all from a single Information Security team. I’m not saying get rid of the Information Security team but rather leverage and diversify. This approach certainly works in other areas of the business and IT, and can also be a successful model for Information Security—in fact I would suggest this is the ideal model.

Done correctly, an incorporated Information Security structure will be targeted, agile, effective and efficient. Benefits are many, including broader exposure of Information Security practices and more timely risk management, increased business engagement, relevance and awareness with the ultimate benefit being cost savings to the business. Sharing the load makes sense—after all security is everyone’s responsibility.

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Sue Strodl

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place