January 20, 2016

The Meaning Of Secure Business Agility

By Evelyn de Souza

Secure Business Agility

As cloud continues to accelerate business delivery and shift away the balance of power from IT and InfoSec to business users, organizations need to find ways to ensure that security is part of a business process rather than an afterthought. Today’s organizations are transacting some of their most valuable data and services in the cloud. While the promise of instant availability, convenience and cost are very attractive the damage to brand, reputation and trust could be irrevocable to businesses if security is not built in.

Many CISOs and InfoSec teams continue to struggle with the new order in which business users have unprecedented freedom over how they work, what devices and applications they use to accomplish their work and from where they work. Most want to partner with their business users to figure out optimal ways to engage in cloud services securely but most don’t think of how IT security integrates into business processes. The result is that we often see burdensome processes within organizations where business users have to take extra steps to categorize data or to register new cloud security services. And, in doing so InfoSec and IT might be creating a bigger risk where business users will further make a run around InfoSec and IT. When business users are pressed for time extra processes become doubly burdensome.

Insider Threat Vectors

Over the last year there has been a rise in both accidental and mis-intentioned insider threat vectors. With personal and business lines of work so blurred it’s easy for business users to accidentally drag and drop the wrong attachment into an email, or in the spur of a moment accidentally post a message that alludes or pertains to confidential company information, or post a regulatory-related file on an unsecured file share site in order to make it easier to work on.

The key to secure business agility in the cloud is through ongoing dialog and automation.

evolution-tech

Ongoing dialog:

  • Given the fast changing pace of today’s business environments IT and InfoSec and business users need to have constant check-ins to ensure a fruitful relationship. Needs are going to change rapidly as increasingly more services are migrated to the cloud.
  • Security processes need to be designed to be business intuitive. If business users are going to required to own the data classification process, categories should be few and very intuitive. And, so, too the process for the onboarding of new cloud services.

Automation:

There are now a slew of cloud security services that enable business users to remain agile while preserving security in a less intrusive way.

  • Emerging data security toolsets leverage big data analytics and machine learning to automate the data classification process. Such toolsets should be explored within the business culture, geographies and trialed before going broadscale.
  • Self service portals can be designed with a standard set of security profiles built in. This helps not only automate the cloud security provisioning process but also allows for consistent implementation company-wide and across the many different types of cloud services a company many engage.

As we enter into 2016, I encourage IT and business users to find more meaningful ways to ensure securely accelerate cloud services.

By Evelyn de Souza

Evelyn de Souza

Evelyn de Souza focuses on developing industry blueprints that accelerate secure cloud adoption for business as well as everyday living. She currently serves as the Chair of the newly formed Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) data governance and privacy working group. Evelyn was named to CloudNOW's Top 10 Women in Cloud Computing for 2014 and SVBJ’s 100 Women of Influence for 2015. Evelyn is the co-creator of Cloud Data Protection Cert, the industry's first blueprint for making data protection "business-consumable” and is currently working on a data protection heatmap that attempts to streamline the data privacy landscape.
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