Note To CISOs: Be the Automator, Not The Automated

Rob Whiteley

I’d like to take a small commercial break from your regularly scheduled security & risk programming to bring you the following observation . . .

I was recently in a client session with one of our great infrastructure & operations (I&O) analysts, Glenn “Automation” O’Donnell. His research on IT automation is extremely interesting both tactically (advice for improving IT operations) as well as philosophically (a call to arms for IT professionals to update their skill set — or risk obsolescence).

Anyway, in this session Glenn made a great observation: IT is at a key inflection point in 2009 and it’s never going back. He was distilling the result of three IT macro-level events colliding: 

  • Business Technology (BT) architecture redefining how we define IT services
  • Cloud computing and virtualization redefining how we build IT services
  • Automation and ITIL redefining how we run IT services

But the big takeaway form me was automation. It’s the main ingredient in transforming information technology.

And now as we return to our regularly scheduled security & risk programming I’d like to pose the following question: What is automation doing for information security? My take: Not much.

Sure, we see pockets of automaton in information security. I’ve seen:

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