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3 simple ways to improve your IT security investments

Global security chiefs explain how technology investments can aid business productivity and reduce risk.

By Duncan Macrae

The Security for Business Innovation Council, created by RSA, has advocated three key areas for technology investment that could help build better anticipatory defences while also improving business productivity.

Its new report, Transforming Information Security: Focusing on Strategic Technologies, identifies three key areas for technology investment as cyber threat resiliency, end-user experience and cloud security. The report offers organisations insight from top security leaders to dramatically strengthen security capabilities and maximise technology investments when considering complex deployments.

In their roles, Council members collectively observe the major innovations underway in security technology and contend that these technologies are not being developed or implemented quickly enough.

Organisations now acknowledge the inevitability of breaches, and have turned attention to minimising their impact. As such, security leaders are focusing on strategies and technologies that help provide threat resilience versus prevention and prioritising investments in solutions that provide better detection and response capabilities.

Against this backdrop, the report affirms that big data analytics is a foundational technology needed to help achieve a stronger cyber defence. Next-generation anti-malware technology is also identified as a key area where organisations should add new techniques to baseline capabilities. Council members highlight the importance of improving end-user experience for business productivity gains and suggest investments in more flexible methods for authentication and Identity and Access Management that help reduce risk. Furthermore, the report evaluates the latest claims about cloud security services designed to help enterprises with visibility and control.

The Council details three recommendations that provide prescriptive guidance to successfully navigate new technology deployments and maximise security investments:

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1. Look at least three years ahead

By using SWOT analysis, aligning with IT and the business, creating an enterprise-wide big data strategy, and engaging with auditors, organisations can formulate plans to determine what security capabilities will be needed to protect against a dynamic threat landscape.

2. Achieve a bigger picture through integration

When investing in security technologies today, the greatest payoffs often come from connecting and consolidating information from multiple applications. Technologies are now available that make it easier to integrate systems such as data analytics, security intelligence, and GRC platforms.

3. Maximise value through formalised technology developments

Leading security teams familiar with the pitfalls of technological change, budgetary shortcomings, and the failure of new product expectations advise having formal approaches to deployment in order to proactively manage the risks.

Amit Yoran, senior VP, RSA, said: "Increasing resilience is core to any organizations’ cyber defence strategy. Employing the right technologies that provide better visibility and analysis to actually anticipate attacks can and should reduce risk to the business. This report provides the necessary guidance to help security teams determine how to make the right technology investments."

Simon Strickland, global head of security, AstraZeneca: "The speed of change is quicker than it’s ever been. You’ve got to inject flexibility and innovation into your strategy. Because 18 or even 12 months down the line, technology will have moved, your adversaries will have moved on, and you can pretty much guarantee there will be questions about why you’re not keeping up with developments."

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