CSO: the art of catching the board's ear

Being a propeller head might get you so far in security, but it will be a security leader's finesse, business nous and human touch that will ensure security programs succeed.

Security investments that enable business

If security is to be viewed by CIOs, business unit leads and the board as a worthwhile competitor amidst other much larger technology projects, there will need to be a compelling argument behind it.

Girn believes the next security technology that has this quality for the enterprise is identity management. 

“Over the next few years, I think the main area where security can contribute is this whole concept of how to do identity management across mobile payments and the internet — the number of log-on IDs people need is amazingly high.

“That’s the next opportunity for some firms to work out how to allow access in a convenient way for customers. You need a log-on and a password for accessing online services and each of these require a different format. 

“Some want lower case, some want capitals, some want one numerical, some want two numericals. It’s actually creating the reverse effect of security in that people are writing down their 10 logons for internet services on a post-it and keeping it in their wallet,” says Girn.

It’s not just tech titans like Microsoft, Yahoo and Google that are considering the challengeof single-sign on to reduce complexity. 

“ Even companies themselves have struggled with creating consistent logons for their customers,” says Girn. However, he notes where it has been achieved, albeit only for parts of an organisation, it has delivered benefits.

“Where firms have standardised on a common approach, for example a bank across wealth, retail and trading services, it’s actually had a very positive effect on customer experience, convenience and security; one entry point and one log-on with an ability to navigate across services inside the organisations online offerings.

“So, the business opportunity is there for how you do that across the internet, covering services from banking, retail, travel and many others. A common industry approach on this would be a huge step to securing companies better, and enabling service that’s more convenient,” says Girn.

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