Earl Perkins, Research Vice President in Integrated Security and Risk Strategies, opened the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel with a statement that summarises the current state of play in the intersection between technology, business and security. The conference theme, managing risk and delivering security, is founded on six principles that will allow businesses to deliver on business needs in an increasingly complex adversarial environment.
"We’re at an intersection of two extraordinary digital trends - digital business and the growing scale, capacity and capability of adversaries," says Perkins.
The blurring of the line between the digital and physical worlds, has created "profound disruption” according to Perkins.
“Every business is becoming a digital business”.
Perkins highlighted the transformation, noting Garter’s research expects that by 2017 50% of the company’s IT spending will be outside traditional IT department control.
Unless companies are able to adapt, they will fall by the wayside.
Perkins pointed out that traditional measures such as antivirus software and firewalls have failed to protect us from determined adversaries. Nation states are no longer focussing on purely government or military targets with commercial targets now in their sights.
So, how can companies protect themselves? Perkins sees some changes happening. In particular boards and senior management are now putting the spotlight on security giving technology leaders are given access to increased budgets and
“Don’t blow it all on shiny new security toys”.
Instead, Perkins says there’s a need to redefine the security and risk conversation through a new organisational role.
"The Digital Risk Officer is the future of technology security management”.
The key goal, says Perkins, is resilience. Using the examples of San Francisco and Holland, Perkins highlighted that governments have put in place steps to make them more resilient to potential natural disasters. The governments of those places have put detection, emergency response and mitigation strategies in place for the most likely risks and not every possible breach.
“Resilience is our new standard of success, our guiding light,” says Perkins.
Perkins elucidated Gartner’s six principles of security management
- Move from checkbox compliance to risk-based thinking
- Move from singular focus on protecting the infrastructure to supporting business outcomes
- Move from being defenders to facilitators of a banalise between the need to protect and the need to deliver business outcomes.
- Move from controlling the flow of information to understanding information flows
- Move the focus from technology to people
- Move from prevention only to detect and respond
Tom Scholtz, Gartner VP and Fellow, says the C-suite didn’t want anything to do with IT security as they saw it as a technical problem and not a business one. However, they are now seeing things differently, in response to legal action taken against individual board members following recent mega-breaches such as the Target breach and others.
"Perfect protection is an impossible goal,” he says.
Scholtz noted that "after the fact” analysis makes it easy to think breaches were preventable. However, in most cases, companies that were subject to mega-breaches had appropriate compliance and mitigation systems in place. It wasn’t until forensic investigation after a breach that established standards and systems that had been considered adequate were found to have flaws.
People-centric security is critical, says Scholtz. This can make a more resilient organisation, noting one company that had put in place a number of new people-centric security initiatives, using both positive measures and appropriate discipline for personnel that were deliberately misusing company assets to both simplify and strengthen the company’s resilience.
Scholtz handed the presenter’s baton to Gartner Vice President Gregg Kreizman, who focussed on identity and access management and how they relate to Gartner’s six principles. Kreizman noted this would be challenging, requiting a bimodal approach where the rigidity of many IAM systems needs to be altered to better match the needs for business agility.
This will happen through a greater focus on people rather than technology he says.
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