Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

01:13 PM
Connect Directly

CSOs Say: 'Court' Your Middle Managers, Too

Security for Business Innovation Council (SBIC) members warn of 'disruptive' technologies for 2013 that will test enterprise security

Everyone talks about winning over the executive boardroom, but top security executives from the world's largest corporations say middle managers are also key to making information security part of the business plan.

A new report published today by the Security for Business Innovation Council (SBIC), which is made up of top security executives from Global 1000 companies, including ABN Amro, AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola, eBay, FedEx, EMC, Fidelity Investments, Johnson & Johnson, and Walmart, calls for security teams to forge closer ties with their organizations' middle managers.

"At most organizations, the C-suite 'gets it' but security teams now face resistance from middle managers who don't want to expend their resources on security. Security teams must build these relationships, helping middle managers to understand security's value," the SBIC report says.

Cloud computing, social media, big data, and mobile devices are the big "disruptive" technologies facing security teams in the new year, according to the SBIC, and security pros must hone their risk management and business skills to address the inevitable infiltration of these technologies. They also must ensure that their IT supply chain is trustworthy and doesn't introduce new threats and risks into their organizations, the report says.

But bonding with middle management may be one of the surprising keys to good security amid a more mobile and cloud-dependent organization. "The growth of information protection regulations and the escalation of cyber threats mean that most of them understand the importance of information security and consider it a priority. Today, it is common for CISOs to meet regularly with executive leadership and the Board. In many cases, information security has attained the sought-after attention from the top," the SBIC says.

The challenge today is selling middle managers on security: "Middle managers don't want to use their resources on security. They are incentivized by timeline and budget; adding security doesn't fit into their objectives," the report says. "Security teams need to build relationships with middle managers, helping them understand the value of information security. It may be a harder nut to crack than the C-suite."

Eddie Schwartz, CSO for RSA Security, says courting middle management is crucial for a successful security strategy. "We've seen a lot of growth in creating security champions within the business at the middle level," he says. "Your business success in your IT area depends on doing this right from a security perspective. Getting them interested in things like secure coding and assurance processes" helps foster a culture of security from the ground up, he says.

Information security isn't only about IT anymore, says Martijn Dekker, CISO for ABN Amro, and a co-author of the report: "Trends like cloud computing and consumerization are quickly extending the information-security role. It’s about business. It’s about people. It’s about risk management."

The punch list of managing the security of cloud computing, social media, big data, and mobile devices is a tall order. Which is likely the top priority of the list? RSA's Schwartz says mobility is probably the top one.

"[Some of our CSO] peers look at mobility as the only way they are going to interact with consumers in the future. They look at the mobility channel as bigger than the Web channel," Schwartz says. "Today there's an enormous complexity accomplishing what most of us consider classical security objectives within that framework of mobility."

Big data also tops the list, he says. "Security has [to] actually integrate itself into the rest of the business and understand that all data may have some security [relationship] to it," Schwartz says. "Security needs to embed itself into different parts of the business."

The full SBIC report, "Information Security Shake-Up: Disruptive Innovations to Test Security’s Mettle in 2013," is available for download here (PDF).

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio


Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/6/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
RIOT 2020.04 has a buffer overflow in the base64 decoder. The decoding function base64_decode() uses an output buffer estimation function to compute the required buffer capacity and validate against the provided buffer size. The base64_estimate_decode_size() function calculates the expected decoded ...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
Froala Editor before 3.0.6 allows XSS.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
The O2 Business application 1.2.0 for Android exposes the canvasm.myo2.SplashActivity activity to other applications. The purpose of this activity is to handle deeplinks that can be delivered either via links or by directly calling the activity. However, the deeplink format is not properly validated...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
NeDi 1.9C is vulnerable to a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. The application allows an attacker to execute arbitrary JavaScript code via the Topology-Map.php xo parameter.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-07
NeDi 1.9C is vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. The application allows an attacker to execute arbitrary JavaScript code via the Assets-Management.php sn parameter.