Why digital and physical security teams need to work together

Responsibility for information security is often put completely on the shoulders of the IT department’s security team, which is logical. It’s also misplaced.

As a column this week by Scott Simkin of Palo Alto Networks reminds us, there are a number of departments who have responsibilities, including security operations, network operations and physical security. They all have to work together or the goal of better securing the enterprise won’t be met.

Consider, he writes, that an attacker not only wants to penetrate the network, move around laterally, steal credentials and exfiltrate data, their tools may include finding ways to impersonate employees, contractors or delivery personnel and walk into a building. Dropping a malware-filled USB key is just as good a strategy as a spear phishing email.

“The SecOps, NetOps and physical security teams need a single executive sponsor to ensure all elements of the security program are working together,” writes Simkin. Reports of physical and cyber intrusion need to be shared between the physical, cybersecurity and IT teams. When problems are found  that should lead to an examination of  processes, policies and technology to determine where the shortcoming was and how to fix it.

What’s interesting in this context is a survey of 200 managers and directors of British companies released this morning by Juniper Research. Among the findings was that one-third of respondents believed the IT department solely responsible for handling security threats, and almost two-thirds believed it was not their department’s responsibility.

Ultimately, responsibility for security falls on everyone in the organization. All employees have to realize they are responsible for safe practices on the phone, on PCs, on mobile devices. And the organization is responsible for having policies — including co-ordinating physical and digital security teams — and training staff.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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