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Here come the Security Police

Security teams often attract antagonism from the business that they are supposed to serve, appearing as self-appointed policemen in a police state. This is unhelpful and not what we are or should be aiming for. Security departments should be providing a secure environment in which business users are free to do what they want. Obviously this environment will have boundaries, but they must be agreed with the business and not just imposed arbitrarily.

Take an example from children's play areas, children should be safe within the confines of the soft play area and not too much harm will come to them. They can run around and play whatever game they like as long as they stay within the boundaries. Children can't wear shoes in a soft play area as they may hurt another child, but this doesn't stop them from doing what they want as the play area has been engineered so that they don't need shoes to stop them from hurting their feet or getting wet and dirty.

The same principles can be applied to security. If we build a safe and secure environment that has everything that people need within it already then they are free to do what they want and need, and are far less likely to break the rules or circumvent security controls. The architecture has to be secure and services should be tailored to the business functions and not just imposed by the security teams. A good example is to provide a Choose Your Own device (CYO) offering to avoid the problems of Bring Your Own (BYO) or the restrictions of imposing a single device. It is possible to support a range of devices and then even offer a restricted service on some further devices, but allow the users choice.

In the end there will always be a certain amount of policing required, but if, as a security professional, you are spending most of your time in that role then your network, architecture and attitude are wrong.

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