[ISN] Techies don't get security either

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Sep 16 05:02:24 EDT 2005


By John Leyden
15th September 2005 

Heads of information security functions are more likely to be business 
managers than techies in future as companies take a more strategic 
approach that balances IT security threats against business drivers. 
That's according to analyst house Gartner which predicts security will 
evolve into an element of a wider risk management strategy.

It reckons the days of security people blocking projects without 
considering the wider picture are numbered. "Business lives by risk. 
But the concept of 'acceptable risk' is an oxymoron to many security 
professionals," said Paul Proctor, research vice president with 
Gartner's Information Security Group. He explained that large 
organisations thrive by having a developed understanding of risk, and 
by accepting it when it offers a business advantage.

Instead of the ability to scare budgets out of chief information 
security officers, a future risk management officer will be 
well-versed in communication and project management skills and more 
likely to have trained in business school than as a techie. This will 
leave technical staff unable to rise beyond a certain position in 
their company unless they get a business degree.

"The ability to determine what constitutes risk, and the requirement 
to report that risk to executive decision makers, can be a highly 
political activity requiring excellent written and oral communication 
skills with a good knowledge of business. Generally, these skills have 
been lacking in traditional technically-oriented information security 
specialists," Proctor added.

"The days of security being handled by the 'network person' who did 
security in their spare time are over and increasingly we are seeing 
seasoned professionals with real business experience and business 
school qualifications stepping into the security space."

Business people also need to adapt and realise the security cannot be 
achieved by technology and needs to be built into a corporate culture. 
This will require cultural, behavioural, procedural and technical 
change, according to Gartner.

Proctor made his comments during a presentation at the Gartner IT 
Security Summit in London on Wednesday. ®

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