Last month, I’d the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion at our Security Strategist event. The panel comprised chief security officers and security vendors, and the moot point was whether we need to rethink the information security strategies in the wake of the ever-changing threat landscape. In the last couple of years, we have seen the emergence of the new breed of threats, which is more malicious, sophisticated and targeted. We have seen attacks motivated not by financial reasons but political as well. The panelists agreed that we need a completely different security architecture, which is more dynamic and flexible to deal with the more advanced and persistent threats. I think it’s some for enterprises to turn the whole concept of security on its head and approach it with a focus on the human factor. All along, the focus has been on processes and technologies, with little attention paid to people, and to use the cliché, it is always the weakest link. Companies spend a fortune on security products and solutions, but precious little has been done to educate and create awareness among users. What is the point in having finely crafted security policies if your employees are still writing down passwords? As one of the panellists noted, the new perimeter is the human being and it’s time for IT decision makers to take the lead and crate the culture of security in their enterprises.
Another point of debate was the reactive nature of the security model – we patch vulnerabilities only after they are exploited. Our panel unanimously agreed there is an urgent need for all of us to move to a proactive security mechanism that can thwart the threats and vendors are taking steps in the right direction. Some of them are starting to share threat intelligence in real time which will help enterprises to respond to threat much faster. A case in point is Microsoft, which has recently announced that it is looking to share security information through a new real-time threat intelligence feed. The project, which is still in oven, aims to provide the software vendor’s security information on dangerous threats to organisations ranging from business partners and private companies to governments. Eventually, this feed will be open to the public as well. While vendors are doing their bit, it would be a good idea for enterprises also to share the security threat information and help the whole security community to be proactive and close the gaps.