Strategy should include a security assessment

July 2003 News

Many businesses respond to increased information security threats by shoring up their perimeter defences. Implementing tools that serve a very specific purpose is part of the solution, but smart organisations are waking up to the need to implement a strategy that also includes security assessment.

In fact, says Anthony Southgate, general manager: Security Solutions at Dimension Data, one of the biggest issues surrounding information security investment is the fact that many senior managers simply do not recognise or understand the threat to their business. It is difficult to quantify the actual threat or calculate the ROI of any project.

"Before approving any budget plans, management therefore needs to understand the real impact of a breach on their security systems. It is also critical to be able to discern the fact from the fiction in terms of security mythology," he adds. According to Southgate, companies need to establish what degree of risk is acceptable.

55% of organisations surveyed already use security assessments as part of their ongoing strategy; 60% of the remainder intend to do so in the near future.

However, the costs of a security breach cannot always be easily quantified. Damage to reputation and brand can often be as detrimental as the physical harm done to an organisation's systems. It is vital that CEOs and senior management understand just what it means for their organisation if breaches occur. It is therefore important that organisations use regular benchmarks to help them understand their risk exposure and how this compares to their competitors.

A recently commissioned Di-Data survey revealed that while many were still focusing on products to provide protection, a significant number of organisations indicated that they wanted to move toward investing in security consultation and managed security. Of those organisations that confirmed further investment, 89% intend to allocate budget to security consultation and 62% to a managed security strategy.

"This clearly indicates a move away from creating a defence against every eventuality, toward adopting a more pro-active strategy on what to do should an attack occur," says Southgate.

"By focusing less on eliminating all risks, and more on developing a strategy for how to deal with attack, organisations will be able to benefit from a pragmatic approach to security that does not negatively impact their ability to innovate."

For more information contact Bronwyn Goeller, Dimension Data, 011 575 0000.

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