Archive for the ‘risk management’ Category
It’s been a busy year for IT security incidents. Yesterday, John Markoff and Nicole Perlroth with The New York Times told us about yet another incident, this time a cyberattack involving antispam group Spamhaus and an anonymous group unhappy with their efforts.
But the list goes on and on. From the discovery of sophisticated toolkits with ominous names like Flame to cross-platform zero-day vulnerabilities, both consumers and corporations have been inundated with advisories and alerts regarding emerging threats. The frequency of data breaches and incidents—which had already hit a new high in 2011—continued their upward trajectory.
At the mid-year of 2012, IBM’s X-Force team predicted that the explosive nature of attacks and security breaches seen in the first half would continue. Indeed this was the case. While talk of sophisticated attacks and widespread distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attempts made the year’s headlines, a large percentage of breaches relied on tried and true techniques such as SQL injection.
What continues to be clear is that attackers, regardless of operational sophistication, will pursue a path-of-least-resistance approach to reach their objectives. Integration of mobile devices into the enterprise continues to be a challenge. In the previous report, X-Force looked at some of the pitfalls and perils of implementing BYOD programs without strict formulations of policy and governance to support the use of these devices.
That said, recent developments have indicated that while these dangers still exist, and X-Force believes mobile devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. While this prediction may seem far fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.
In its latest report, X-Force explores how security executives are advocating the separation of personas or roles on employee-owned devices. It also addresses some secure software mobile application development initiatives that are taking place today. The distribution and installation of malware on end-user systems has been greatly enabled by the use of Web browser exploit kits built specifically for this purpose.
Exploit kits first began to appear in 2006 and are provided or sold by their authors to attackers that want to install malware on a large number of systems. They continue to be popular because they provide attackers a turnkey solution for installing malware on end-user systems.
Java vulnerabilities have become a key target for exploit kits as attackers take advantage of three key elements: reliable exploitation, unsandboxed code execution, and cross-platform availability across multiple operating systems. Java exploits have become key targets in 2012 and IBM X-Force predicts this attack activity to continue into 2013.
As X-Force also reported in the mid-year, spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012, with India claiming the top country of origin for spam distribution, but the nature of spam is changing. Broadly targeted phishing scams, as well as more personalized spear-phishing efforts continue to fool end users with crafty social-engineering email messages that look like legitimate businesses. Also, fake banking alerts and package delivery service emails have been effective as attackers refine their messages to look like the authentic messages that customers might normally receive.
Whether the target is individuals or the enterprise, once again, X-Force reminds organizations that many breaches were a result of poorly applied security fundamentals and policies and could have been mitigated by putting some basic security hygiene into practice.
Web applications are still topping the chart of most disclosed vulnerabilities, rising 14% in 2012 over the 2011 end of year numbers. As reported earlier in the mid-year report, cross-site scripting (XSS) dominated the web vulnerability disclosures at 53% of all publicly released vulnerabilities. Although SQL injection attack methods remain as a top attack technique, the actual disclosures of new SQL injection vulnerabilities remain lower than the 2010 peak X-Force recorded.
Social media has dramatically changed our lives with new ways to connect, personally and professionally. From this constant availability of information about individuals, attackers can readily access data to use in their activities.
Now, more than ever, individual employees who share personal details in their social profiles can be targeted for attacks.
2012 X-Force Trend And Risk Report Highlight
Malware and the malicious web
- In 2012, near daily leaks of private information about victims were announced like game scoreboards through tweets and other social media. Personal details, such as email addresses, passwords (both encrypted and clear text), and even national ID numbers were put on public display.
- Based on data for 2012, it is not surprising that the bulk of the security incidents disclosed were carried out with the majority of attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. X-Force attributes this to the wide public availability of toolkits and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.
- The year began and ended with a series of politically motivated, high-profile DDoS attacks against the banking industry. An interesting twist to the banking DDoS attacks was the implementation of botnets on compromised web servers residing in high bandwidth data centers. This technique assisted in much higher connected uptime as well as having more bandwidth than home PC’s to carry out the attacks. In the sampling of security incidents from 2012, the United States had the most breaches, at 46%. The United Kingdom was second at 8% of total incidents, with Australia and India tied for third at 3%.
- IBM Managed Security Services (MSS) security incident trends are markers that represent the state of security across the globe. The relative volume of the various alerts can help to describe how attacks are established and launched. They also frequently provide hints about how methods have evolved. Based on this, the main focus in 2012 may have been the subversion of systems, with larger coordinated attacks being executed across fairly broad swaths of the Internet.
- IBM MSS has noted a dramatic and sustained rise in SQL injection-based traffic due, in large part, to a consistent effort from the Asia Pacific region. The alerts came from all industry sectors, with a bias toward banking and finance targets.
- Web browser exploit kits (also known as exploit packs) are built for one particular purpose: to install malware on end-user systems. In 2012 X-Force observed an upsurge in web browser exploit kit development and activity—the primary target of which are Java vulnerabilities—and X-Force supplies some strategies and tips to help protect against future attacks (see end of post to download full report).
- Java continues to be a key target for attackers. It has the advantage of being both cross-browser and cross-platform—a rare combination that affords attackers a lot of value for their investment. Web content trends, spam, and phishing Web content trends Top used websites are readily deployed as IPv6- ready, although attackers do not yet seem to be targeting IPv6 on a large scale.
- One third of all web access is done on websites which allow users to submit content such as web applications and social media.
- Nearly 50% of the relevant websites now link to a social network platform, and this intense proliferation poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information.
Spam and phishing
- Spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012.
- India remains the top country for distributing spam, sending out more than 20% of all spam in the autumn of 2012. Following India was the United States where more than 8% of all spam was generated in the second half of the year. Rounding out the top five spam sending countries of origin were Vietnam, Peru, and Spain.
- At the end of 2012, IBM reports that traditional spam is on the retreat, while scam and spam containing malicious attachments is on the rise. In addition, attackers are demonstrating more resiliency to botnet take downs which results in an uninterrupted flow of spam volume.
Operational Security Practices
Vulnerabilities and exploitation
- In 2012, there were over 8,168 publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. While not the record amount X-Force expected to see after reviewing its mid-year data, it still represents an increase of over 14% over 2011.
- Web application vulnerabilities surged 14% from 2,921 vulnerabilities in 2011 to 3,551 vulnerabilities in 2012.
- Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities accounted for over half of the total web application vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012. Cross-site scripting dominated the web vulnerability disclosures. Fifty-three percent of all publicly released web application vulnerabilities were cross-site scripting related. This is the highest rate X-Force has ever seen. This dramatic increase occurred while SQL injection vulnerabilities enjoyed a higher rate than 2011 but were still down significantly since 2010.
- There were 3,436 public exploits in 2012. This is 42% of the total number of vulnerabilities, up 4% from 2011 levels.
- Web browser vulnerabilities declined slightly for 2012, but not at as high a rate as document format issues. While the overall number of web browser vulnerabilities dropped by a nominal 6% from 2011, the number of high- and critical severity web browser vulnerabilities saw an increase of 59% for the year.
- Few innovations have impacted the way the world communicates quite as much as social media. However, with the mass interconnection and constant availability of individuals, new vulnerabilities and a fundamental shift in intelligence-gathering capabilities has provided attackers and security professionals alike with information useful for enhancing their activities.
- Rather than seeing a particular enterprise as an individual entity, attackers can view enterprises as a collection of personalities. This gives attackers the opportunity to target specific people rather than enterprise infrastructures or applications. Furthermore, targeted people may also be targeted as individuals and not just as employees. In other words, the personal activities and lives of employees can be leveraged to target an enterprise.
Emerging Trends In Security
- Prediction: Mobile computing devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. This is a bold prediction that IBM recently made as part of its look ahead in technology trends. While this prediction may seem far-fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.
- Separation of personas or roles: While a small percentage of enterprises have dealt with BYOD by using virtualized desktop solutions to separate and control enterprise applications and data from the rest of the personally owned device, a greater number of enterprises have wanted or required some form of separation or dual persona on mobile devices. This difference in use or adoption could be the result of greater numbers of devices driving greater risk in the percentage of personally owned mobile devices versus personally owned PCs in a BYOD program.
- In many cases, enterprises have made significant investments into implementing Secure Software Development Life Cycle (SSDLC) processes. Today’s mobile application development benefits from this. Tools exist to support secure development as part of the process instead of being conducted in qualification or production. As a result, it should be more common for enterprises to have more securely developed mobile applications than their existing legacy applications. Closure of vulnerabilities in some traditional computing applications may only conclude as existing versions are sunset and replaced with newer, more securely developed replacements.
- Over 2012, it is safe to conclude that more enterprises are supporting BYOD or the use of personally owned devices than previously. In the last two years, IBM Security has spoken to hundreds of global 2000 customers and out of those interviewed, only three said they had no plans to implement any kind of BYOD program.
To learn more on how your organization can work to address these types of vulnerabilities, download the full IBM X-Force 2012 Trend And Risk Report here.
If you’ve followed the headlines recently, you can’t help but notice the constant barrage of news concerning security break-ins at some of the most public cloud sites on the planet: Facebook, Google, Evernote…the list goes on and on.
Yet in spite of the looming cloud security concerns, enterprises and organizations continue to ramp up their investments in both public and private cloud infrastructure as a cost-effective, dynamic way to scale up their IT capacity.
At the IBM Cloud Security roundtable here at IBM Pulse 2013 yesterday in Las Vegas, several IBM security experts came together to discuss some of the challenges, best practices, and solutions to protect against threats and provide security-rich cloud computing environments.
Jack Danahy, director of security for IBM North America, hosted the panel before the gathered industry press, and offered up some prefacing comments to set the stage for the security discussion.
Jack began by stating that 9 out of 10 global CEOs say that cloud computing is critical to their business plans and “a way to increase their organizational productivity, but all also admit security is a lingering concern.”
Brendan Hannigan, the general manager for the IBM Security Division, explained that there are some key basic security concerns around cloud, including the safety of enterprise data, and whether or not it can be compromised or lost.
Hannigan explained: “Cloud is simply another computer upon which we can deploy capabilities for our customers, and we should be able to look at cloud security the same way we do across other domains.” That includes giving organizations a single view of identity across their cloud environments.
Kris Lovejoy, general manager for IBM Security Systems, discussed some of the key inhibitors to organizations providing more effective cloud security measures, and explained that the cloud is actually inherently more securable than traditional IT infrastructure because of they way it’s designed and the manner by which you can replicate security controls.
So if the cloud is inherently more securable, why the seeming contradiction that nobody seems to be able to effectively secure it?
Because, Lovejoy explained, when you buy public cloud capability you typically have to buy the security features as an added extra, and may customers don’t do so.
“Think about the provider as being a hotel,” Lovejoy explained, “and in each hotel room they have a series of diseases. The provider must provide you good housekeeping to protect you from diseases in the other rooms, and yet so many cloud computing tenants don’t make that obvious investment to protect their cloud applications and data.”
When Danahy asked the panel about what can be done to make executives more comfortable with the idea of security investments in the cloud space, Hannigan chimed in, and explained the rationale comes down to a distinction in the type of data you’re working with, and delineating between the information that is critical and that which is less sensitive.
“When you have a specific application or data set,” Hannigan explained, “there are wonderful opportunities afforded by the cloud because in security, one of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between locking the infrastructure down and providing free and unfettered access to the that information customers and employees need.”
Lovejoy explained it was not dissimilar from the crazy notion of automakers selling cars without seatbelts or brakes. “You don’t want to suddenly discover you don’t have these features going 60 miles per hour down the interstate.”
Kevin Skapintez, program director of product strategy for IBM Security, said that the need for more cloud security standards reminded him of the late 1800s, when fire hydrants had different nozel sizes that required varying widths of connectors for the hoses.
“You have to have standards related to identity,” Kevin explained, “so you don’t have to build different registries per cloud!”
“More organizations needed to also heighten their log management regimes,” he explained, “so that they have improved visibility to see if they have the right controls in place and where incidents are occuring.”
Lovejoy explained that “most organizations have a pretty defined pathway to cloud success.” Many are using develop and test environments and are moving to non-core workloads, allowing a lot of applications to emerge and consolidate on the cloud.
At the same time, she explained, most companies are planning a security operations optimization and that the cloud is a remarkable opportunity. “As we consolidate,” she explained, “things get simpler. Companies need to think about this in the context of business transformation. You need to adopt the cloud in a safe and reliable manner while managing the risk.”
During the Q&A, I asked the panel whether or not all these very public public cloud security incidences we’ve seen in the headlines were driving any real productive conversation in terms of making cloud security more of a priority.
Lovejoy explained the scenario typically went something like this: A CEO would call up their provider, ask for an assessment, give them a threat briefing, then go to a third party standard to see if they matched the security checklist.
But that not enough of them were what she termed “security aware.”
Hannigan concluded, “It’s a classic dilemma with security spending. Security concerns are not specific just to the cloud, and clients are working about losing data, period. The question is, can they invest all the money necessary to adequately secure those environments?”
To date, the answer seems to largely be “no.”
Day 3 at Information On Demand 2012.
The suggestion to “Think Big” continued, so Scott Laningham and I sat down very early this morning with Nate Silver, blogger and author of the now New York Times bestseller, “The Signal and the Noise” (You can read the review of the book in the Times here).
Nate, who is a youngish 34, has become our leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling, but made his original name by building a widely acclaimed baseball statistical analysis system called “PECOTA.”
Today, Nate runs the award-winning political website FiveThirtyEight.com, which is now published in The New York Times and which has made Nate the public face of statistical analysis and political forecasting.
In his book, the full title of which is “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” Silver explores how data-based predictions underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling to weather forecasting to the stock market to chess to the war on terror.
In the book, Nate poses some key questions, including what kind of predictions can we trust, and are the “predicters” using reliable methods? Also, what sorts of things can, and cannot, be predicted?
In our conversation in the greenroom just prior to his keynote at Information On Demand 2012 earlier today, Scott and I probed along a number of these vectors, asking Nate about the importance of prediction in Big Data, statistical influence on sports and player predictions (a la “Moneyball”), how large organizations can improve their predictive capabilities, and much more.
It was a refreshing and eye-opening interview, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Scott and I enjoyed conducting it!
I blogged about IBM’s 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study recently, the headline of which was this: Managing reputational risk is crucial to many organization’s business, and managing IT is a major part of their efforts.
I also interviewed Brendan Hannigan, the general manager of IBM’s Security Systems Division, at IBM InterConnect last week about some of these critical security matters.
Today, IBM made a move designed to reduce the biggest security inhibitors that organizations face in implementing cloud, mobile and big data initiatives with the announcement of a broad set of security software to help holistically secure data and identities.
New IBM Security Solutions
IBM’s new software capabilities help clients better maintain security control over mobile devices, mitigate internal and external threats, reduce security risks in cloud environments, extend database security to gain real-time insights into big data environments such as Hadoop, and automate compliance and data security management.
Along with IBM Security Services and IBM’s world-class research capabilities, this set of scalable capabilities supports a holistic, proactive approach to security threats spanning people, data, applications and infrastructure.
“A major shift is taking place in how organizations protect data,” said Brendan Hannigan, General Manager, IBM Security Systems. “Today, data resides everywhere—mobile devices, in the cloud, on social media platforms. This is creating massive amounts of data, forcing organizations to move beyond a traditional siloed perimeter to a multi-perimeter approach in which security intelligence is applied closer to the target.”
IBM is unveiling ten new products and enhancements to help organizations deliver real time security for big data, mobile and cloud computing.
Real Time Security for Big Data Environments
State of the art technologies including Hadoop based environments have opened the door to a world of possibilities. At the same time, as organizations ingest more data, they face significant risks across a complex threat landscape and they are subject to a growing number of compliance regulations.
With today’s announcement, IBM is among the first to offer data security solutions for Hadoop and other big data environments.
Specifically, Guardium now provides real time monitoring and automated compliance reporting for Hadoop based systems such as InfoSphere BigInsights and Cloudera.
Highlighted data security solutions:
NEW: IBM InfoSphere Guardium for Hadoop
ENHANCED: IBM InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy
ENHANCED: IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager
To learn more about the data security portfolio go here.
Mobile Security: Improving Access and Threat Protection
Today IBM is also announcing risk-based authentication control for mobile users, integration of access management into mobile application development and deployment as well as enhanced mobile device control.
IBM is also announcing a comprehensive Mobile Security Framework to help organizations develop an adaptable security posture to protect data on the device, at the access gateway and on the applications.
Highlighted mobile security solutions:
NEW: IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile
ENHANCED: IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices
Go here to learn more about specific mobile security product attributes.
Cloud Security: From Inhibitor To Enabler
While the cloud can increase productivity with anywhere, anytime information access, it can also introduce additional challenges for enterprise security.
IBM today is announcing security portfolio enhancements designed to address these new challenges, providing improved visibility and increased levels of automation and patch management to help demonstrate compliance, prevent unauthorized access and defend against the latest threats using advanced security intelligence.
With IBM’s new SmartCloud for Patch Management solution, patches are managed automatically regardless of location and remediation cycles are reduced from weeks to hours thereby reducing security risks.
Additionally, IBM is announcing enhancements to its QRadar Security Intelligence Platform that provides a unified architecture for collecting, storing, analyzing and querying log, threat, vulnerability and security related data from distributed locations, using the cloud to obtain greater insight into enterprise-wide activity and enable better-informed business decisions.
The new IBM Security Privileged Identity Manager is designed to proactively address the growing insider threat concerns and help demonstrate compliance across the organization.
IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile which provides enhanced federated single sign-on to cloud applications is now available with improved out-of-the-box integration with commonly adopted SaaS applications and services.
Highlighted cloud security solutions:
NEW: IBM SmartCloud for Patch Management
NEW: IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile
NEW: IBM Security Privileged Identity Manager
ENHANCED: QRadar SIEM and QRadar Log Manager
Visit here to learn more about specific cloud security product attributes, please visit
Enhanced Mainframe Security Capabilities
In addition, IBM is announcing mainframe security capabilities that enhance enterprise-wide security intelligence based on QRadar security solution integration that provides real time alerts and audit reporting.
The mainframe offers Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ (EAL 5+) certification for logical partitions, providing a platform for consolidating systems, helping protect private clouds, and helping secure virtualized environment.
New IBM Security zSecure improvements help to reduce administration overhead, automate compliance reporting, enforce security policy, and pro-actively detect threats.
Highlighted zSecure security solutions:
ENHANCED: IBM Security zSecure
Through IBM Global Financing, credit-qualified clients can take advantage of 0% interest for 12 months on qualifying IBM Security products and solutions.
About IBM Security
With more than 40 years of security development and innovation, IBM has breadth and depth in security research, products, services and consulting.
IBM X-Force is a world-renowned team that researches and evaluates the latest security threats and trends. This team analyzes and maintains one of the world’s most comprehensive vulnerability databases and develops countermeasure technologies for IBM’s security offerings to help protect organizations ahead of the threat.
IBM has 10 worldwide research centers innovating security technology and nine security operations centers around the world to help global clients maintain an appropriate security posture.
IBM Managed Security Services delivers the expertise, tools and infrastructure to help clients secure their information assets against attacks, often at a fraction of the cost of in-house security resources.
The Institute for Advanced Security is IBM’s global initiative to help organizations better understand and respond to the security threats to their organization. Visit the Institute community at www.instituteforadvancedsecurity.com.
Scott Laningham and I are starting to think about repacking our suitcases and preparing to head back out on the road, this time across the pond to Madrid for the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit May 22-24.
In Madrid, we expect to hear quite a bit about IBM’s investment in the analytics space, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait to visit the Prado to relate some interesting details about business analytics.
Specifically, predictive analytics that can help companies across the span of industries to prevent fraud.
Here’s a sound byte you may not have yet heard: Did you know that insurance fraud has reached an estimated $80 billion per year in the U.S. alone??
And in South Africa, the rate of short-term insurance fraud is about 15 percent of all premium costs.
And yet, we’ve also found that organizations that effectively apply predictive analytics are 2.2 times more likely to outperform their peers.
One such client of IBM is Santam, South Africa’s leading short term insurance company, which has saved $2.4 million on fraudulent claims in the first four months of using IBM business analytics software.
This new analytics solution has not only enhanced Santam’s fraud detection capabilities, however — it has also enabled faster payouts for legitimate claims.
In partnering with IBM, Santam’s claims division developed a new operating model for processing claims, depending on varying risk levels. IBM’s predictive analytics software has enabled Santam to automatically assess if there is any fraud risk associated with incoming claims and allows the insurer to distribute claims to the appropriate processing channel for immediate settlement or further investigation, which in turn optimizes Santam’s operational efficiency.
In turn, Santam is able to reduce the number of claims that need to be assessed by mobile operatives visiting the customer or claim site, resulting in further considerable cost savings for the company.
IBM: Investing In Analytics, Predicting Results
In the last five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in acquisitions. With investments in SPSS, Clarity, OpenPages, i2 and Algorithmics, and others, IBM is building business analytics solutions providing clients with capabilities for managing fraud, risk and threat. In addition, IBM has assembled almost 9,000 dedicated analytics consultants with industry expertise, and created a network of eight global analytics solution centers.
The Santam project also illustrates IBM’s leadership in analytics in Africa. IBM is also actively laying the foundations for a major presence throughout the African continent, with offices in more than 20 African countries, where the company is assisting businesses and governments in building strategies, expertise, solutions, frameworks and operating procedures to help improve performance.
I’m back from IBM Impact 2012…but my brain is still processing all the information I took in through all the interviews Scott and I conducted for ImpactTV and for all the sessions I attended…and I won’t mention all the cocktails in the evenings where I learned SO much from my industry peers.
I’ll be putting together a recap post of some of the major announcements, and I’ve still yet to transcribe my interview with Walter Isaacson, but first, I wanted to highlight an important new study from IBM on the security front.
For those of you who follow the Turbo blog, you know the issue of security (particularly cybersecurity) is one I take very seriously and that I follow closely, partially because of my longstanding interest in the topic, and partially because I recognize we live in an imperfect world using imperfect technology, created and used by imperfect humans.
But the promise and hope for security, fallible though it may sometimes be, is a worthy aspiration. There are ideas, assets, and often even lives at risk, and the more we move up the stack into an intellectual capital driven global economy, the more there is at stake and the more that will be needed to protect.
So, that’s a long way of saying expect to be hearing even more from me on this important topic.
Chief Security Officers: “We’ve Got Our CEO’s Attention”
To that end, now for the new information security study results. The new IBM study reveals a clear evolution in information security organizations and their leaders, with 25 percent of security chiefs surveyed shifting from a tech focus to one of a more strategic business leadership role.
In this first study of senior security executives, the IBM Center For Applied Insights interviewed more than 130 security leaders globally and discovered three types of leaders based on breach preparedness and overall security maturity.
Representing about a quarter of those interviewed, the “Influencer” senior security executives typically influenced business strategies of their firms and were more confident and prepared than their peers—the “Protectors” and “Responders.”
Overall, all security leaders today are under intense pressure, charged with protecting some of their firm’s most valuable assets – money, customer data, intellectual property and brand.
Nearly two-thirds of Chief Information Security Executives (CISOs) surveyed say their senior executives are paying more attention to security today than they were two years ago, with a series of high-profile hacking and data breaches convincing them of the key role that security has to play in the modern enterprise.
Emerging Security Issues: Mobile And A More Holistic Approach
More than half of respondents cited mobile security as a primary technology concern over the next two years. Nearly two-thirds of respondents expect information security spend to increase over the next two years and of those, 87 percent expect double-digit increases.
Rather than just reactively responding to security incidents, the CISO’s role is shifting more towards intelligent and holistic risk management– from fire-fighting to anticipating and mitigating fires before they start. Several characteristics emerged as notable features among the mature security practices of “Influencers” in a variety of organizations:
- Security seen as a business (versus technology) imperative: One of the chief attributes of a leading organization is having the attention of business leaders and their boards. Security is not an ad hoc topic, but rather a regular part of business discussions and, increasingly, the culture. In fact, 60 percent of the advanced organizations named security as a regular boardroom topic, compared to only 22 percent of the least advanced organizations. These leaders understand the need for more pervasive risk awareness – and are far more focused on enterprise-wide education, collaboration and communications. Forward-thinking security organizations are more likely to establish a security steering committee to encourage systemic approaches to security issues that span legal, business operations, finance, and human resources. Sixty-eight percent of advanced organizations had a risk committee, versus only 26percent in the least advanced group.
- Use of data-driven decision making and measurement: Leading organizations are twice as likely to use metrics to monitor progress, the assessment showed (59 percent v. 26 percent). Tracking user awareness, employee education, the ability to deal with future threats, and the integration of new technologies can help create a risk-aware culture. And automated monitoring of standardized metrics allows CISOs to dedicate more time to focusing on broader, more systemic risks.
- Shared budgetary responsibility with the C-suite: The assessment showed that within most organizations, CIOs typically have control over the information security budget. However, among highly ranked organizations, investment authority lies with business leaders more often. In the most advanced organizations, CEOs were just as likely as CIOs to be steering information security budgets. Lower ranking organizations often lacked a dedicated budget line item altogether, indicating a more tactical, fragmented approach to security. Seventy-one percent of advanced organizations had a dedicated security budget line item compared to 27 percent of the least mature group.
Recommendations to Evolve the Security Role in an Enterprise
To create a more confident and capable security organization, IBM recognizes that security leaders must construct an action plan based on their current capabilities and most pressing needs. The report offers prescriptive advice from its findings on how organizations can move forward based on their current maturity level.
For example, those “Responders” in the earliest stage of security maturity can move beyond their tactical focus by establishing a dedicated security leadership role (like a CISO); assembling a security and risk committee measuring progress; and automating routine security processes to devote more time and resources to security innovation.
About the Assessment
The IBM Center for Applied Insights study, “Finding a strategic voice: Insights from the 2012 IBM Chief Information Security Officer Assessment,” included organizations spanning a broad range of industries and seven countries.
During the first quarter of 2012, the Center conducted double-blind interviews with 138 senior business and IT executives responsible for information security in their enterprises. Nearly 20 percent of the respondents lead information security in enterprises with more than 10,000 employees; 55 percent are in enterprises with 1,000 to 9,999 employees.
Click here to access the full study.
Things just haven’t been looking up for Tiger Woods. I watched Phil Mickelson pound him last Sunday in the last round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and then Thursday, he loses to Nick Watney in the second round of the Accenture Match Play tournament, 1 down on the 18th where his putter failed him once again with a 5 1/2 foot birdie putt.
I’m still excited about catching more of the Accenture this weekend before I head off on a two-week travel swing (First stop, Toronto, in the Great White North…although I hear it’s not going to be so white!)
In the middle of this trip, you’ll find me in Viva Las Vegas for the IBM Pulse2012 event, being held at the MGM Grand March 4-7.
Let me just say, if you’ve followed the systems management space for any length of time, this is most definitely not your father’s Tivoli. Through acquisitions of the likes of Tririga and Maximo, the IBM Tivoli line has become an instrumental component in the IBM Smarter Planet initiative, with technology that now manages not only your computer systems, but also everything from physical assets to building space.
This year, Pulse will focus on several key areas, including cloud, mobility, smarter physical infrastructure, and security. We’re expecting some 8,000+ atttendees, including your peers focused on fundamentally and cost-effectively changing the economics of IT and speeding the delivery of innovative products and services.
We’ll also have some very special guests in attendance, including Maroon5 to entertain our tired and weary service management masses, along with Steve “Woz” Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.
Yours truly, along with my partner-in-crime, Scott Laningham, are going to be in attendance, blogging and broadcasting live (and on demand) from the Pulse showcase floor.
More details as they emerge…which they surely will.
In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday and the Academy Awards broadcast, and don’t forget to follow the Twitter sentiment being tracked by IBM and the Annenberg School via the “Senti-meter.”