Skip to main content

The Disconnect between Security and Senior Management

There is often a fundamental disconnect between security professionals and senior management. As I have stated in a previous post about slips, mistakes and violations, if senior management don't 'buy in' to security then nor will the rest of the organisation and ultimately it will fail. Middle management want to be senior management and will model themselves on them, often seeing the breaking of rules as a mark of status. So, it is vital that senior management lead by example.

Unfortunately, it is often very hard to get senior management to 'buy in' to this concept and not have a 'them-and-us' attitude of there being those rules that apply to the rest of the organisation and those that apply to them. This is as much the fault of the security professionals as senior management though. Security professionals have spent so long saying "no" to everyone and stalwartly refusing to budge or see someone else's point of view that people have stopped listening and taking note. To be honest, rightly so.

If you want someone to change their point of view or come round to your way of thinking, by far the easiest way is to sell it to them as a positive thing that will be beneficial to them and 'bring them with you' rather than dictate. Saying "no" all the time is not positive and will ultimately fail as people will stop listening. Make it personal to them and put it in terms they understand. Relating security to risk and money will usually be more successful.

Comments

Popular Posts

You say it's 'Security Best Practice' - prove it!

Over the last few weeks I have had many conversations and even attended presentations where people talk about 'Security Best Practices' and how we should all follow them. However, 'Best Practice' is just another way of saying 'What everyone else does!' OK, so if everyone else does it and it's the right thing to do, you should be able to prove it. The trouble is that nobody ever measures best practice - why would you? If everyone's doing it, it must be right.

Well, I don't agree with this sentiment. Don't get me wrong, many of the so-called best practices are good for most organisations, but blindly following them without thought for your specific business could cause as many problems as you solve. I see best practice like buying an off-the-peg suit - it will fit most people acceptably well if they are a fairly 'normal' size and shape. However, it will never fit as well as a tailored suit and isn't an option for those of us who are ou…

Coventry Building Society Grid Card

Coventry Building Society have recently introduced the Grid Card as a simple form of 2-factor authentication. It replaces memorable words in the login process. Now the idea is that you require something you know (i.e. your password) and something you have (i.e. the Grid Card) to log in - 2 things = 2 factors. For more about authentication see this post.

How does it work? Very simply is the answer. During the log in process, you will be asked to enter the digits at 3 co-ordinates. For example: c3, d2 and j5 would mean that you enter 5, 6 and 3 (this is the example Coventry give). Is this better than a secret word? Yes, is the short answer. How many people will choose a memorable word that someone close to them could guess? Remember, that this isn't a password as such, it is expected to be a word and a word that means something to the user. The problem is that users cannot remember lots of passwords, so remembering two would be difficult. Also, having two passwords isn't really…

Trusteer or no trust 'ere...

...that is the question. Well, I've had more of a look into Trusteer's Rapport, and it seems that my fears were justified. There are many security professionals out there who are claiming that this is 'snake oil' - marketing hype for something that isn't possible. Trusteer's Rapport gives security 'guaranteed' even if your machine is infected with malware according to their marketing department. Now any security professional worth his salt will tell you that this is rubbish and you should run a mile from claims like this. Anyway, I will try to address a few questions I raised in my last post about this.

Firstly, I was correct in my assumption that Rapport requires a list of the servers that you wish to communicate with; it contacts a secure DNS server, which has a list already in it. This is how it switches from a phishing site to the legitimate site silently in the background. I have yet to fully investigate the security of this DNS, however, as most o…