The Trials And Tribulations Of Public Sector CISOs

Khalid Kark

Khalid Kark

Just the other day, I was speaking with a state CISO about the security challenges she's facing in today's environment. In many regards, she echoed what I've heard from other CISOs in the private sector -- the business (Govenor) is expecting us to do more with less, Web 2.0 bring along a whole new challenge in terms of security, etc. At the same time, she reminded me just how different things are for the public sector by articulating the extra challenges she has on top of all the usual ones:

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From Scapegoat to Savior: The Risk Manager Story

Chris McClean

Chris McClean

Even in the toughest times, winners will invariably emerge. With the way expectations are changing regarding corporate controls and disclosure, risk management professionals (whose lack of influence was seen as a substantial cause of our current state of affairs to begin with) will likely be among the first beneficiaries of our new outlook on business.

Forrester customer inquiries seem to have taken a step back when it comes to risk management. While there are still plenty of incoming technology and vendor selection questions, there has been a noticeable spike in calls about fundamental issues, such as how to build and organize risk management programs. Knowledge and experience in risk management basics is in high demand.

Last week, the New York Times emphasized this demand by highlighting the current value of graduate degrees or certification related to risk management. The article explains:

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Don't Rely On Industry Averages For Cost Of Downtime

Stephanie Balaouras

Stephanie BalaourasOn a weekly basis, I get at least one inquiry request from either a vendor or an end-user company seeking industry averages for the cost of downtime. Vendors like to quote these statistics to grab your attention and to create a sense of urgency to buy their products or services. BC/DR planners and senior IT managers quote these statistics to create a sense of urgency with their own executives who are often loath to invest in BC/DR preparedness because they view it as a very expensive insurance policy.

BC/DR planners, senior IT managers and anyone else trying to build the business case for BC/DR should avoid the use of industry averages and other sensational statistics. While these statistics do grab attention, more often than not, they are misleading and inaccurate, and your executives will see through them. You'll hurt your business case in the end because you haven't done your homework and your execs will know it.

I saw a study recently that stated the cost of downtime for the insurance industry was $1,202,444 per hour. You might be tempted to grab this statistic and throw it into the next presentation to your C-level exec but what is this statistic really telling you? Do the demographics of the companies in the study match yours? Do you trust the accuracy of the data? Consider the following:

 

  • What is the definition of insurance industry in this case? Is it companies that focus solely on insurance or does it include companies that also provide financial advice and monetary instruments to their clients?

     

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Denial Of Service Attacks Have The Internets All A Twitter

John Kindervag

John Kindervag

My BlackBerry battery died more quickly than usual yesterday as I received a wave of calls from reporters wondering about the denial of service (DoS) attacks against Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites.  It seems many people are not aware of the long and storied history of denial of service attacks and this is their first personal experience with DoS. These types of DoS attacks have been around since the creation of the public Internet. A 15 year old named Mafiaboy famously brought down many of the top Websites of the day at the beginning of this millennium using similar techniques.

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Hathaway resigns … another one bites the dust

Khalid Kark

Khalid Kark

Hathaway joins a distinguished group of highly respected and accomplished people who have quit the position of Cybersecurity Czar. She wasn’t even the actual Cybersecurity Czar, she was just the acting one, but it appears even that was too much to take for her. She cited personal reasons for resigning, but media reports suggest a more plausible reason for resigning – frustration at “spinning her wheels” and not being able to accomplish anything. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Whether you are a Cybersecurity Czar or a CISO, the challenges for this position are very similar. 

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Please Fill Out These Forms...The SEC Will See You Now

Chris McClean

Chris McClean

Is regulatory oversight more or less invasive than oral surgery? Sure, both are necessary sometimes. But however you feel about the current level of corporate scrutiny, it’s clearly increasing, and that means the jobs of corporate governance, risk management, and compliance professionals are going to get even tougher.

The last month has seen some dramatic news related to corporate disclosure, most notably a bill approved by the House Financial Services committee that would require public companies to explain executive and employee compensation packages, and to write rules that would prohibit any compensation that could have a substantial, negative effect on financial markets. Lawmakers expect that this bill, if approved, will be rolled up with other legislation.

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Cloud DR Services Are Real

Stephanie Balaouras

Stephanie Balaouras

There is a lot of hype surrounding cloud and I'm usually not one to join the hype but in the case of cloud-based backup and disaster recovery services (I'm trying to use the IT service continuity but it hasn't caught on yet), these service are available today and they address major pain points in IT operations and organizations of all sizes can leverage these services, not just small and medium businesses.

Storage-as-a-Service is relatively new. Today the main value proposition is as a cloud target for on-premise deployments of backup and archiving software. If you have a need to retain data for extended periods of time (1 year plus in most cases) tape is still the more cost effective option given it's low capital acquisition cost and removability. If you have long term data retention needs and you want to eliminate tape, that's where a cloud storage target comes in. Electronically vault that data to a storage-as-service provider who can store that data at cents per GB. You just can't beat the economies of scale these providers are able to achieve.

If you're a small business and you don't have the staff to implement and manage a backup solution or if you're an enterprise and you're looking for a PC backup or a remote office backup solution, I think it's worthwhile to compare the three year total cost of ownership of an on-premise solution versus backup-as-a-service.

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Is IT Risk Management Compatible With ERM?

Chris McClean

Chris McClean

Every month or so, news events (attacks on government sites, massive privacy breaches, etc.) provide a ‘wake-up call’... a proof point used by vendors and practitioners alike that protecting our national and corporate information assets has never been more critical. On occasion we even see these incidents yield promises of action, for example the anticipated appointment of a US Cybersecurity Czar, which my colleague Khalid Kark discusses here

But in spite of these warnings, my conversations with enterprise risk and IT risk professionals still reveal many disconnects, including that IT risks are not measured consistently with other enterprise risks. In addition, many IT risk professionals do not see their biggest risks showing up on the corporate risk register.

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Cybersecurity Czar – Where art Thou?

Khalid Kark

Khalid Kark


Bill Brenner at CSO recently wrote an interesting piece highlighting the urgency of having a cybersecurity leader. Although I do not agree with him that the simple DDOS attacks on government Websites could have been prevented by having a Cybersecurity Czar, I do agree with him that we need a cybersecurity leader – now!  


We all rejoiced when President Obama ordered a 60 day cybersecurity review shortly after taking office. We were all excited when, on May 29th, a report summarizing the findings of the cybersecurity review was released and the president declared cybersecurity as a national security priority for his administration, and a personal goal for him.

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Deduplication Market Undergoes Rapid Changes

Stephanie Balaouras

Stephanie Balaouras In May, I blogged about NetApp's announced acquisition of deduplication pionneer, Data Domain. The announcement triggered an unsolicted counter-offer from EMC, followed by another counter from NetApp. But after a month of offers, counter-offers and regulatory reviews, EMC ultimately outbid NetApp with an all cash offer of $2.1 billion. I believe that Data Domain would have been a better fit in the current NetApp portfolio; it would have been easier for NetApp to reposition its current VTL as a better fit for large enterprises that still planned to leverage tape. It's also said that more than half of Data Domain's current employees are former NetApp employees so there would have been a clear cultural fit as well.

 

For $2.1 billion, EMC gets Data Domain's more than 3000 customers and 8000 installs but it also gets a product that in my opinion, overlaps with its current Quantum-based disk libraries, the DL1500 and DL3000. In Forrester inquiries and current consulting engagements, Data Domain is regularly up against the EMC DL1500 and DL3000. EMC will need to quickly explain to customers how it plans to position its new Data Domain offerings with its current DL family, both the Quantum- and Falconstor-based DLs as well as its broader data protection portoflio that includes Networker and Avamar - which also offer deduplication.

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