Many Canadian security pros would rip up their architecture

Ever feel like tearing down your organization’s IT security architecture and starting all over again?

You’re not alone.

Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of Canadian security pros surveyed by security vendor Websense recently said they’d do a complete overhaul of their current IT security system if they had the resources and opportunity.

On the one hand, that means 70 per cent of IT departments are satisfied with the products and architecture they’ve put together to defeat cyber threats. On the other hand, the fact that so many are apparently unhappy with the defence they have is “quite a stark finding,” said Jeff Debrosse, Websense’s director of security research.

Nearly half also said they felt frequently disappointed with the level of protection a security solution they bought actually delivered.

The results, released today, were part of a worldwide survey of 5,000 security professionals Websense did earlier this year. It put out the figures in two waves, with today’s answers to questions focusing on responses by 236 Canadians.

Another telling result Debrosse found was that 23 per cent of respondents said their IT security teams never speak directly to senior executives about security issues. Of those that do, 23 per cent speak only once a year, another 24 per cent said they meet with execs twice a year, 13 per cent said the security team will see executives quarterly and only two per cent said it happens weekly.

That’s terrible, said Debrosse, who believes someone from the security team should make a situation update at least once a week — even if it’s to say “all is well.”

“That weekly discussion is where we need to be. Pushing it out to a monthly discussion with the frequency of attacks and the velocity of cyber crime means it has to be a much more frequent discussion. We do that for software development — we have regualar agile-type planning, we have frequent standups where we talk about what needs to be done, what wasn’t done well, and where we are today. That’s how security in an organization needs to be regularly communicated.”

The survey response suggest there’s a lack of communication between security professionals and C-level executives, he said.

When it was suggested that respondents didn’t say whether security concerns are communicated through CIOs or IT managers, Debrosse said it doesn’t matter. IT people see the world differently than security pros, he said — IT talks in things that can be measured (“we do regular backups, ensure business continuity”), while security pros talk about risks.

That’s why IT security has to be able to make its own presentations to management, he said.

The study also found that only 31 per cent of Canadian IT pros surveyd feel that their company is investing enough in skilled personnel and technologies to be effective in executing its cyber security objectives or mission.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including 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 [@]

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