Welcome!

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Cloud Security: Article

Selling Security

Enterprises can no longer afford to see their CISOs confined to the dark recesses of the IT department

The threats facing network operators all over the world, spanning service providers, enterprises, cloud and hosting providers and mobile operators alike, are by no means stalling. While optimism is always the name of the game, we know all too well in security that trying to keep pace with the slew of attack vectors out there today is an unfortunate reality. As our 9th annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report reveals the magnitude of attacks is on the upswing once again and coupled with increasingly complex, multi-vector style attacks, the threat is all too real.

Winning the battle against those threats depends on many factors: the expertise of the security organization; response plans and resources; and the ability to put those plans into action. Increasingly, part of the challenge for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) is in getting the right support from their senior management. That's not necessarily a new hurdle for CISOs to overcome. Management buy-in has always been vital for dealing with IT security threats. But with threats becoming more complex, the priority for CISOs is ensuring that they have sufficient resources to deal effectively with those issues.

Executive and board-level awareness of these threats is already pronounced: recent research found that senior executives and risk managers within American and Canadian enterprises today are more concerned about losing money through cyber threats than they are through property damage or investments or securities failing.[1] This growing board-level awareness as to the severity of IT-based attacks means CISOs have an opportunity to champion their own role as a risk manager and defender of the business. By showing leadership and engaging proactively with other heads of department, CISOs can show how their expertise adds a ‘return on prevention' value to the business.

However, when it comes to getting their voices heard, many CISOs face an uphill struggle from day one - everything from IT being seen as ‘just' the cost of doing business and not an asset, to board members with vastly different priorities (i.e., those who would rather wait for their house to be on fire to call the fire department versus taking preemptive action upfront). If CISOs are to deliver an understandable call to action and gain the credibility to push their strategic plans, they need to deploy a range of tactics to make their voices heard including:

  • Discuss security risks in a way that resonates with management: Expecting the management/executive team or board to learn the information security professional's vocabulary can be unrealistic. Instead, the CISO must communicate threats in a way that the leadership team understands. This language barrier doesn't need to be a hindrance though; approached in the right way, it can actually be an excellent way for CISOs to showcase how their role fits within the overall corporate risk management strategy.
  • Translate prevented costs to realized goals: The substantial increase in botnet code modification and botnet node recruitment may be crucial in the understanding of how attacks are developing, but bring these terms up in a conversation with a CFO and you're likely to see their eyes glaze over faster than you can say Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). The primary message a CISO needs to get across is the threat that attacks of any kind pose in terms of lost revenue, reduced productivity and damage to the business brand.
  • Anchor the threat in your own organization: Engage with the CFO and COO to obtain financial figures relating to the cost of your operations and the amount of money generated through online services and a workforce reliant on a fully functioning IT network. Armed with these figures, CISOs can offer a realistic estimate of the negative financial impact of a level-one cyber attack where key IT services might be adversely affected. In an age where many institutions have built strong revenue streams and enhanced customer loyalty through online and mobile services, it also provides an opportunity for CISOs to demonstrate the crucial role they can play in preserving business operations.

These days, no enterprise risk assessment and business plan is complete without taking into account the operational risk represented by cyber security attacks intended to have a negative effect on the availability of key online services. Enterprises can no longer afford to see their CISOs confined to the dark recesses of the IT department because as DDoS attacks and other cyber threats have become increasingly high-tech and more complex, enterprises need a technologist with a seat at the table.

But with greater responsibility comes the challenge of gaining and maintaining credibility within the C-suite. And it is only by conveying this threat in a language the business understands - by demonstrating the potential outcomes using examples familiar to other business heads - that the CISO will be able to get the buy-in they need to do their job properly. This is the challenge and the opportunity - the opportunity for the CISO to get the recognition they deserve and the backing to deal with the ever-growing threat faced by organizations today.

Resource:

  1. Execs Say Cyber-Attacks a Top Threat: AIG Survey-CNBC News-6 February 2013

More Stories By Rakesh Shah

Rakesh Shah is Director, Product and Strategy Marketing of Arbor Networks. He has been with the company since 2001, helping to take Arbor's products from early stage to category-leading solutions. Before moving into the technical marketing team, Rakesh was the Director of Product Management for Arbor's Peakflow products, and he was also a manager in the engineering group. Previously, Rakesh held various engineering and technical roles at Lucent Technologies and CGI/AMS. He holds a M.Eng. from Cornell University and a BS from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign both in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, gave users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion with b...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, discussed using predictive analytics to mon...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...