Friday, 8 August 2014

Security groups should sit under Marketing, not IT

Ok, so I'm being a little facetious, but I do think that putting Security departments under IT is a bad idea, not because they don't naturally fit well there, but because usually it gives the wrong impression and not enough visibility.

Security is far more wide reaching than IT alone and touches every part of the business. By considering it as part of IT, and utilising IT budgets, it can be pigeonholed and ignored by anyone who wouldn't engage IT for their project or job. Security covers all information, from digital to paper-based and is concerned with aspects such as user education as much as technology.

There is a clear conflict of interest between IT and Security as well. Part of the Security team's function is to monitor, audit and assess the systems put in place and maintained by the IT department. If the Security team sits within this department then there can be a question over the segregation of duties and responsibility. In addition to this, Security departments can end up competing with other parts of IT for budget. How well does this work when project budgets are allocated to one department responsible for producing new features and fixing the vulnerabilities in old ones?

The Security department should answer directly to the board and communicate risk, not technology. It is important that they are involved with all aspects of the business from Marketing, through Procurement and Legal, to the IT department. You will, more often than not, get a much better idea of what the business does and what's important to it by sitting with the Marketing team than with the IT team. Hence the title of this post.

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This blog is about network and information security issues primarily, but it does stray into other IT related fields, such as web development and anything else that we find interesting.

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