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. =AE
Sept 16-18th, 2005
San Diego, California