Editorial: Support from an unexpected ally
Editorial: Support from an unexpected ally

House prices are rising, the earth is getting warmer, trains are overpriced and overcrowded, and Tony Blair is the prime minister. I could have written those words 12 months ago when I took over the editor's chair. Some things have changed in that time, however.

A year ago, there was still a feeling that technology alone could solve many of the threats businesses face and that dealing with those dangers was the domain of the IT department. IT security and information security were indivisible, in strategy as well as in execution.

Now we are seeing an intellectual shift in perception. On its own, IT security is seen more and more as simply the art of keeping the tin polished. It's a maintenance job and only part of a wider strategy. Washing the office windows may add lustre to the company HQ; it doesn't achieve much on its own.

Over the past 12 months, SC has been fundamental in driving this shift - hence our increasing focus on how information security and risk management are business enablers.

It continues in our choice of features this month. In Don't Lose Face (p32), David Quainton grapples with the thorny issue of brand perception. Those charged with protecting the business who fail to grasp the importance of brand value in today's market are the security professionals that won't survive. As you will discover there are lessons you can learn from people you might not normally speak to. When was the last time you wandered by your marketing teams?

Our cover this month features a very chilly looking Eugene Kaspersky, someone whose business has been built on developing tools to deal with a very high-profile component of the risk and security mix: anti-virus. Part of my time with Kaspersky included a tour of his brand new labs in a Moscow suburb, where teams of dedicated and very young-looking programmers spend ten-hour shifts finding and destroying viruses.

Highly impressive stuff, but Kaspersky also realises that the future lies in developing and selling intelligence-based products and risk analysis to his customers. A first part of this has been the creation of the InfoWatch service to monitor the behaviour of data. Read more on Kaspersky's plans starting on page 26.

Of course we are not about to abandon technological issues entirely, and Mark Mayne has been looking at the threat to mobile devices (page 38). Yes, you've heard this before, and as yet not much has happened in this space but our feature shows, that is not a cause for celebration or complacency. Quite the opposite.

Finally, the response by the UK internet service provider community to the findings of the Lords science and technology committee on internet borne threats is disappointing (The Month, page 8).

Despite the appalling levels of spam and viruses that their customers have to endure, the ISPs' answer has been to shift the responsibility on to the government and law enforcement. It's akin to the motor industry refusing to add anti-theft devices to cars because the government should do more to catch car thieves.