Friday, 29 April 2011

InfoSecurity Europe 2011

InfoSecurity Europe is over for another year. Once again there were several interesting companies and sessions worth noting. The 'themes' (if they can be called that) or 'hot topics' were cloud security again, social media and mobile access/the consumerisation of IT. The big difference seemed to be in the attitudes of people - more 'how can we reduce the risks to an acceptable level?' rather than 'we can't secure it, so we won't allow it!'

We are seeing a shift in the types of systems end users are accessing the corporate network from. The IT department are no longer dictating what will or will not be allowed. More and more users want to use their own personal devices, such as iPhones or iPads, on the network. In the past IT departments have resisted this and said no to the users. However, this attitude is beginning to change and there were a raft of organisations with solutions to help secure these devices and manage the data they contain. However, an awareness of risk and what it means to consumer devices and ownership must be understood beforehand.

With cloud security a big issue, and still stopping some organisations from adopting cloud services, I decided to speak to some of the cloud services providers about their security. Many of them couldn't give me the real technical details, but some of them did have some reassuring things to say. Unfortunately, not all services are equal and organisations are still going to have to do a lot of research on the providers and make sure that they ask to see independant reports on the security of any potential provider. Make sure you ask them the difficult technical questions and only use their service if you are happy with their answers. Again, always remember that you can't outsource risk, so think carefully about what you want to use the cloud for.

Social media is still an issue that some organisations are solving by blocking it and others are ignoring. With the latest generation of products, again we can be quite granular with the level of access granted to social media, so a default blocking isn't necessary in all circumstances. The (ISC)2 have conducted a very interesting survey on security that shows some interesting trends, not least of which is that 49% of organisations block Facebook and around 20% don't monitor social networks at all. As social engineering and backdoors through user activity are some of the main causes of problems, this is worrying. Indeed, the survey showed that security professionals put education and policy mechanisms as the top 6 security security solutions required, with software and technologies coming in 7th and 8th respectively.

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