During the last 12 to 18 months, there have been a number of notable natural catastrophes and weather related events. Devastating earthquakes hit Haiti, Chile, China, New Zealand, and Japan. Monsoon floods killed thousands in Pakistan, and a series of floods forced the evacuation of thousands from Queensland. And of course, there was the completely unusual, when for example, ash from the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland forced the shutdown of much of Western Europe’s airspace. These high profile events, together with greater awareness and increased regulation, have renewed interest in improving business continuity and disaster recovery preparedness. Last quarter, I published a report on this trend: Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Are Top IT Priorities For 2010 And 2011.
For the second year in a row, I have the honor of hosting our Security Forum EMEA in London, March 17th - 18th. This is Forrester's 5th annual Security Forum in Europe, and each year brings a larger, more influential audience and more exciting Forrester and industry keynotes. The theme of this year's event builds on our fall event in Boston - Building The High-Performance Security Organization. It would have been easy to focus the event on one of the myriad of threats and challenges facing security and risk (S&R) professionals today — from the emergence of advanced persistent threats to the security and risk implications of cloud services, social technologies and consumer devices in the workplace — but the real challenge for S&R professionals is not in the specific response to today's threats. It's building the oversight and governance capabilities, repeatable processes, and resilient architectures that deal with today's threats but can also reliably predict, analyze, mitigate, and respond to tomorrow's threats and new business demands. For many of us in security, we are mired in day-to-day operational responsibilities — or as some of us like to call it, the Hamster Wheel Of Hell.
It's that time of year when we begin planning our spring Forums. Our Security & Risk Forum EMEA will take place in London, March 17th and 18th. Planning and content creation for that Forum is already well underway and we're looking forward to another great event. But I also wanted to highlight our spring IT Forum. Mark your calendars for May 25-27 in Las Vegas and June 8-10 in Barcelona. Not only is there a dedicated track for Security and Risk professionals at IT Forum but there is an opportunity for Security & Risk pros to learn about broad IT challenges and trends. I believe this is critical because in order for security organizations to become much more proactive and less reactive, they have to understand what's happening across IT and not just narrowly within security. We need to be ready for the next major business or IT shift before it happens.
As technology becomes more accessible through mediums beyond IT's control, you have but one choice: Get proactive by empowering employees, or swim against the current. Successful BT leaders will react not by blocking access but by lending their expertise to increase the chances of technology success and empowering the users to solve customer and business problems. This year's IT Forum will provide a blueprint for reaping the benefits of your empowered organization — complete with case studies, methodologies, and step-by-step advice tailored to each IT role.
Here at Forrester, we like to eat our own dog food. Hot on the heels of the book launch of Empowered, Forrester has launched an online community for security and risk professionals. The community is a place for security and risk professionals to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions with each other. Forrester analysts will also be part of the community, helping facilitate the discussions and sharing their views.
The community is open to all security and risk professionals, whether you’re a Forrester client or not. Do you want to know if your peers plan to support new consumer mobile devices in the workplace? Do you want to know how your peers are promoting cyber awareness? You can post these and other questions, thoughts, and ideas to the community.
I’m excited to announce the launch of this community. At our recent Security Forum in Boston, the topic of better information sharing and collaboration — among security and risk professionals and between the public and private sector — came up on numerous occasions. In this new era of advanced threats from well-organized and well-funded crime and state sponsored agents, together with the rapid pace of innovation from mobile to social to cloud, I believe the active exchange of best practices and solutions is a critical need for the security community.
Here’s what else you’ll find in the community:
A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers
Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues.
Fresh perspective from peers, who share their success stories and best practices.
Content on the latest technologies and trends — from Forrester and other thought leaders.
Last week, I wrote a blog post summarizing the Day 1 opening keynotes at Forrester’s Security Forum. This week, I’d like to recap the Day 2 opening keynotes. The second or last day at any event is always a challenge; attendees are always tempted to leave early or to stay in their hotel rooms to get some work done or if the event is in Vegas, squeeze in some craps (my favorite) or drop a few coins in a nearby slot. Luckily, we held the event in Boston and the lobsters have nowhere to run, so most attendees were happy to stick around until the end of the day. Not only did we have great attendance on Day 2, but there was a palpable buzz in the air. The audience asked tough questions and no one was spared — Forrester analysts, industry guest speakers, and vendors. While the main topic of Day 1 seemed to focus on risk and overall strategy, governance, and oversight, Day 2 focused on coming up with the specifics — the specific plans, the specific policies. As Andrew Jaquith stated in his keynote, to provide better data security, “you don’t need more widgets, what you need is a plan.”
Below are some of the highlights from the Day 2 keynotes:
Security Forum 2010 is upon us, and the stage has been set. After my welcome remarks this morning, Forrester’s own VP & Principal Analyst Khalid Kark kicked us off with a fantastic keynote: “Maturing The Security Organization.” Next up, Malcolm Harkins, CISO of Intel, spoke about the misperception of risk as “The Most Significant Vulnerability We Face." After Malcolm, Forrester was happy to welcome a quartet of IBM security experts and customers for a panel discussion on “Smart Security." Daniel Barriuso, CISO of Credit Suisse, finished up our morning keynotes with a presentation outlining the essential steps to build a “Holistic IT Security Management organization”.
Even though each of these presentations addressed different security challenges, in the end they delivered many common recommendations. For example, the need for strong governance and oversight and the ability to objectively identify and assess future risks. There were a few other key points that I want to highlight:
I had the chance to sit down with Credit Suisse’s CISO and Head of IT Risk, Daniel Barriuso, to ask him a few questions about his role at Credit Suisse and his approach to security. Daniel will be keynoting this week at Forrester’s Security Forum, which kicks off this Thursday, September 16th. Here’s a sample of our Q&A below:
Why is a more holistic approach to IT security so important today?
[Barriuso]: Given the complex and fast changing IT security landscape, a holistic approach is key to being able to effectively understand the end-to-end threat landscape and manage it proactively. This entails planning for both current and emerging threats, identifying future trends, and making conscious decisions on the security investments required.
What were some of the most important lessons that you learned over the last several years?
[Barriuso]: A key lesson that I have learned through my career is that governance is the foundation for a strong IT security organization. Often organizations focus on technology and technical controls as the main driver to secure data. Instead, a top-down approach is required, beginning with the policy, governance bodies, and risk management framework.
What advice would you give to other senior security leaders who want to move to this more holistic approach?
I just completed my second quarter as the Research Director of Forrester’s Security and Risk team. Since no one has removed me from my position, I assume I’m doing an OK job. Q2 was another highly productive quarter for the team. We published 20 reports, ran a security track at Forrester’s IT Forum in Las Vegas and Lisbon, and fielded more than 506 client inquiries.
In April, I discussed the need to focus on the maturity of the security organization itself. I remain convinced that this is the most important priority for security and risk professionals. If we don’t change, we’ll always find ourselves reacting to the next IT shift or business innovation, never predicting or preparing for it ahead of time. It reminds me of the Greek myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a crafty king who earned the wrath of the gods. For punishment, the gods forced him to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill, only to watch it roll back down just before he reached the top — requiring him to begin again. Gods tend to be an unforgiving lot, so Sisyphus has to repeat this process for the rest of eternity.
If my protestations don’t convince you, perhaps some data will. The following are the top five Forrester reports read by security and risk professionals in Q2: