SC Total Security Conference: Language and risk assessment need to be more realistic

News by Dan Raywood

Consumerisation, governance and board communication are identified as the biggest challenges for businesses when it comes to security.

Consumerisation, governance and board communication are identified as the biggest challenges for businesses when it comes to security.

Speaking at the SC Total Security Conference 2013, Professor Fred Piper, formerly of the information security group at Royal Holloway University of London, said that as technology is changing so fast, security cannot keep up. “Everything is on mobile and business has lost the ability to slow down so security is on the back burner,” he said. “The biggest problem is so advanced as people want everything so soon, so security cannot keep up.”

Ailsa Beaton, CIO of the Metropolitan Police, said that there is often a tension between what users want to use to do their jobs, with the impossibility to make as secure as the company would like them to be.

Conference chair Pamal Sharma, global CIO of Fujifilm, commented that this is a business risk and not just an IT risk, and business needs to consider that.

This theme continued with Greg Day, EMEA CTO of FireEye, who commented that governance is a huge realm and as it has got so big and complex, security is so fragmented and the big picture is diversifying better visibility is needed.

He said: “The most rudimentary piece is on the technology view and business view, our recent survey showed the gap in the depth of the problem. We talk the wrong language and while there should be a dependency on IT and what most critical to business, it is also what is the IT dependency on that.”

Beaton said: “The governance issue around information security and cyber seems to be becoming a more specialist type of field and it is not a board room issue, and the balance between utility and security is to mitigate the risks around mobile and have senior managers make decisions on risk. There is too much put on the toes of information security professionals on the need to be secure.”

“We need to simplify as we appearing like King Canute and need to change our strategies as we need to keep up with the constant level of change; a level of change that we cannot control.”

Looking at the future, Piper made a positive point in universities training people, but admitted that the future should almost 'give up trying to achieve perfect security and live with risk minimisation and management and let it go'.

Beaton said: “These sort of topics will be on board agendas and not just security professionals presenting with everyone on the table keen to move on, but the management feeling able and empowered to respond.

“We don't do ourselves any favours in the language we use, and we need to make senior leaders understand so we need to speak in English than in three-letter acronyms.”


Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Video and interviews