Category Archives: Networking

Be the muscle for the digital age

Neelie Kroes, European commissioner for digital agenda, said in a speech recently to the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy that her ambition is to “reinforce” the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) as the world moves to even greater connectivity. Globalisation in a trade sense of the word was step one of two of making the world a smaller place. The digital age is step two. To add a bit of magniloquence to the blog, the revolution to bring humanity together is on the precipice of being achieved. World peace will be the final chapter to that story.

Anyways, that’s a digression. Ms Kroes outlined two ways in which this can be achieved.

“First, ENISA must be able to attract and to retain the very best IT security experts in Europe. Second, ENISA staff and stakeholders must have the best conditions for networking. This is essential for the Agency to carry out its mission successfully,” she told colleagues in Brussels.

What her comments highlight is the simple fact that this is an important age for professionals operating in governance & compliance and the information security & risk management industries and all affiliated sectors. What she wants is for robust defence mechanisms to be in place by 2015, which experts like yourself can help make a reality. The European Commission wants digital security to be more “muscular”, language which suggests a move towards being more proactive – swift and thorough reactive approaches are brilliant, but preventative is always preferable to damage limitation.

Interestingly, in her speech Ms Kroes suggested that powerful countries like those in the eurozone, China and, of course, the United States would benefit from working with, cooperating and up-skilling so-called “third” countries – by which we deduce she meant third world/emerging countries.

The truth is, in order to minimise their chances from being caught, punished and reprimanded by the authorities, cyber criminals attempt to lose themselves in a digital and physical maze within these respective countries. Cross-collaboration, the sharing of information and a genuine multi-disciplinary approach has positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

This has already been touched upon in the idea of Pefias – a pan-European framework for electronic information, identification, authentication and signature. Can you contribute to this? What ideas do you have? One place to share your thoughts and ideas is at our monthly RANT event. Be part of the conversation. Be the change Ms Kroes is looking for.

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Everyone needs to (attend) RANT

It’s good to RANT.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of a rant by the way is: “speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way.”

We like impassioned, there’s a positive in that description. The word angry we don’t like so much.

So, it’s good to RANT.

You might have observed the capitalisation of RANT, which is deliberate. It’s the acronym for Risk and Network Threat, a monthly, informal networking forum held by Acumin Consulting and NGS Secure.

It’s an event where senior end users in the information security and risk management industry meet with other professionals and experts to discuss – or rant if you will – about pertinent industry issues. It’s not only a great platform for debates, discourse and blue-sky thinking, but also an apt, focused and beneficial space in which to network.

Note – there are no security vendors or consultancies in attendance at such events. It’s not about sales. RANT exists as a genuine meeting place for like-minded thinkers to convene, whether it’s to query issues, rant about projects highlight certain topics or simply to listen and be informed. All under Chatham House rules.

If anything is sold, then it would be knowledge, and the price of that is, so long as you’re a member of the RANT community, absolutely zilch.

So why is face-to-face networking important? In a digital age where conversations occur over screens, where we can comfortably ring one another wherever we may be, send a tweet and get a tweet back almost instantaneously, it could be argued that such events are redolent of a bygone era.

Which would be a huge mistake. Human beings are, after all, sociable creatures – actual human interaction, as opposed to virtual relations, is almost innate, part of our DNA. Furthermore, 80 per cent of our communication – in fact, some studies suggest as much as 90 per cent – is non-verbal.

That in itself, without the need for me to elaborate, speaks volumes. An informal chat with one of your peers at an event like RANT, beer in hand, in comfortable surroundings, is conducive to creating a productive environment. Not to mention the invaluable face-time with the Acumin consultants who have their ear to the ground on all industry developments every month beofre RANT.

There’s the classic saying that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. A classic for a reason, there is, of course, a semblance of truth in the maxim, but we like to go one step further and come up with a modified version:

“It’s what you know and who you know combined that provides you with a strong foundation.”

From which the opportunities are abundant. You just have to look for it, be amongst your professionals and get talking.

Let’s get ranting at RANT…impassionedly of course.