Spending under pressure won’t make your enterprise more secure, CISOs advised

The annual RSA Conference  is a valuable place for infosec pros to broaden their knowledge. It’s also a huge marketplace.

I was reminded of this as I elbowed through the aisles of the trade show, where around 550 big and small vendors had set up booths to hawk their wares.

It was loud — one vendor was attracting crowds by smashing laptops for some reason — making it at times hard to for me to do interviews. Made me wonder how sales staff clinched deals.  But security sells, these days more than ever, because CISOs are buying.

However, that doesn’t mean they should spend impulsively. Jack Danahy co-founder and CTO of the endpoint security company Barkly made the point well in a recent column at Security Week when he observed that certain events — a DDoS attack, a breach or a breach at a competitor — may put the squeeze on CISOs to suddenly invest in solutions.

But that might force cheques being sent out before thinking sets in.

Although independent consultants say the first step in a security strategy is to identify and protect valuable assets, that doesn’t mean they should get first priority of a sudden impulse (or permission) to spend on improving defences, Danahy says. Plug the real holes first.

“If you feel pretty good about your security before you are asked to invest more, then you have time to do the right thing,” he argues argues. “Make sure any investment you make will have the kind of impact that you think is most important to your goals.”

He also urges CISOs not to go overboard on solutions that collect reams of data, which can burden security teams if they’re not equipped to do the analysis necessary to make it useful.

“Spend a little time to create a list of options to choose from, and factor in the real appetite that your management will have for the actual implementation of the solutions you choose to consume,” he concludes.

It’s worth thinking about.

Read the full column here.

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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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