Corporate security is more of a strategic issue than a technological battle, and chief security officers should be treated as trusted experts by boards, delegates at the Compsec 2003 were told last week.
Outsourcing, email management and financial or regulatory pressures such as Basel II in Europe and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US have driven this approach, the security conference heard.
"The chief security officer should now be positioned as a trusted advisor to the business, moving away from operational delivery towards understanding and managing risk," said Phillip Gregory, head of UK security at financal services firm Norwich Union.
Security is less about technology and more about establishing consistency in the processes and procedures that the technology supports, he added.
Whether outsourcing key functions to a third party or establishing a new email policy, preparation is key.
Paul Stimpson, ABN Amro UK head of global information systems service delivery, stressed that security stakeholders in the business need to be involved at an early stage in the formation of any policies.
"It is important to manage expectations. Identify issues early, raise awareness of your requirement and become part of the process," he said.
Ian Angell, information systems professor at the London School of Economics, repeated warnings to spend more time on due process and less on technology as a panacea.
"The bag men of the profligate state, together with the self-important private regulators, have invented the morally justified extortion racket," he said.
"Companies cannot simply renounce technology. However, success and failure will be determined by unique social, political, organisational, and particularly personal factors, not just the functional."
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