Monthly Archives: June 2013

IT industry facing some hefty challenges

The IT security industry is going through some of the largest changes in its history with several different phenomenons shaping the sector.

One of the biggest innovations in recent years has been the implementation of cloud computing. Since its inception it has boomed and now many organisations are using it to make drastic savings and – in some cases – simply keep up with the competition.

This rapid leap to cloud is causing IT departments plenty of headaches as information security becomes much more difficult.

Another similar security issue that has cropped up in recent years has been the new trend of bring your own device – which has given us the fabled BYOD acronym.

Of course, this has happened thanks to the huge rise in mobility brought about by devices such as tablets, smartphones and even Ultrabooks in some cases.

Many companies across the globe are now allowing their employees to use their own laptops and other mobile devices in order to improve flexibility and generate cost savings.

Naturally, if staff are using their equipment at work, organisations will not need to fork out money on buying it themselves and if staff want to work from home they can, which is certainly useful for those trying to raise a family.

However, the downside to this is there are so many devices to keep track of. A few years ago, a firm would buy in all the equipment and staff would use them. It would all be the same, therefore keeping track of it and installing relevant software was easy.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and IT security managers have to keep track of dozens of different smartphone, tablet and laptop brands, while making sure all of them are up to date with protection software.

This will be a key challenge for many within the IT industry over the coming years as BYOD is showing no sign of slowing down.

It’s topic such as this that many professionals like to rant about at the Risk and Network Threat Forum (RANT) conferences that take place up and down the UK every month. Last month’s event took place in St Paul’s, London and it was a fantastic day filled with a tonne of topical debate.

Q&A with Ed Gibson, speaker and panellist at tomorrow’s RANT Conference

Can we have a sneak preview of what you’ll be talking about at the panel discussions?
I think provocative would be the word. All of us have attended conferences; we hear from the same people about the same things. Each panel member has so much experience that it will not be the same discussions about how we can boil the ocean and make the world a safer place.

It will be about things we can all do. One of the major problems is that people attend conferences and leave saying, ‘the world is falling apart – what can I do about it?’. We want to leave the audience with an idea of one thing they can do when they get home to help make their own environment more secure.

That sounds a bit different from the usual fear, uncertainty and doubt that you get from many conferences. This sounds much more practical.
Yes, and you often hear about how it must be the Chinese or North Koreans that are stealing all out IP… Well, maybe they are contributors but I think we need to get our minds set toward being more open. If we focus on one or two particular countries we are going down the wrong track. I think that will draw a fair bit of discussion.

Any time we deal with something we are not entirely familiar with there is a fear factor built in. If that’s not handled properly we can drive ourselves into a death spiral. I’m not sure we should be doing that. Yes, there are people out there who can exploit technology for the purposes of whoever they are acting on behalf of, but I’m not sure that’s different from other industries. And I think there are more people out there who want to make things better than want to destroy them. There are people out there with thoughts other than doom and gloom.

I think every day there are people making things better – whether that’s through law enforcement, security services or a combination of commerce and government agencies working together or informal CISO to CISO level at businesses.

You have held a number of fascinating roles in the security industry, working with the likes of Microsoft and the FBI over a long career. How has the industry changed over that time?
Sometimes I have to smile at what’s happened. I was talking about these things back in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Anyone who had some foresight back in 2000 into the security problems that could and indeed have developed was extremely frustrated because no one wanted to listen; we as consumers demanded that things just worked.

So in conclusion, what do you hope attendees will get out of the RANT conference?
You have to question why you really want to attend a security conference. There are hundreds of stands of people selling their security technology, how do you make a decision as to what security product is best for your environment? If so, how do you make that determination? Networking? Seeing what others are buying? The same way I buy wine – cheap and with a nice label?

I think what the organisers have done is a pretty spectacular thing; they’ve developed a forum that enables and facilitates different thoughts – maybe those thoughts that people want to say but haven’t said in public. Here’s an opportunity like no other to change our thought process and perception and understanding and maybe walk away with a different and more truthful understanding of what’s happening in the world.

Next week’s RANT Conference attracting some of the IT industry’s biggest names

IT professionals from around the country are currently preparing for this month’s RANT Conference, which is now merely days away from taking place.

The Risk and Network Threat Forum (RANT) Conference has been run by Acumin since 2007 and this month’s event is being held in St Paul’s London, in the heart of the UK’s IT industry.

Every month a new speaker attends the conference to start a rant about a hot topic within the IT sector. Of course this is not just a one way conversation and the audience is actively encouraged to interact and pitch in with their own points of view, opinions and suggestions in what is a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Tuesday (June 11th) will see many top industry professionals take to the stage to engage with an audience that is growing month-by-month. Well known speakers Stephen Bonner of KPMG and Mark Stevenson of Futurologist will be there to talk about some of the biggest issues the sector is currently trying to tackle.

Naturally, there is so much to go through considering the changes occurring in the industry and this month’s agenda is simply massive and there will be plenty to talk about both at the presentations and in the pub afterwards with the infosec community.

Bring your own device will feature heavily in the conference and all advantages and disadvantages will be explored. Mobile device management, secure outsourcing and the major threats currently facing cyber security will also all be discussed.

The RANT Conference is designed for passionate information security managers, directors, chief information security officers and other senior information security and risk professionals who work within end user organisations.

A short teaser video for the RANT Conference has been devised and can be viewed here. It was made by Twist & Shout Media – @twistandshoutUK on Twitter if you’d like to give them a follow – the team behind restrictedintelligence.co.uk.

Next week’s RANT Conference is going to be huge and there are set to be 60-80 ranters in attendance. Places are going fast so professionals are urged to register ASAP to secure their place.