Managing information security

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Managing information security

“Protecting proprietary information is becoming ever more important. To do so, many companies are looking beyond technology-and their technology managers. “

The McKinsey Quarterly, 2002 Number 2

Policy relevance:

On 23 April 2002 the Commission adopted a draft Council framework decision on “attacks against information systems”. Member States should implement this Decision by 31 December 2003. The Commission should, by 31 December 2004, submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the operation of the Decision, accompanied where necessary by legislative proposals.

Main conclusions:

  • Attacks on corporate information systems by hackers, viruses, worms, and the occasional disgruntled employee are increasing dramatically, and costing companies a fortune;
  • Because of concerns of negative publicity, almost two-thirds of all incidents probably go unreported;
  • Most companies continue to view information security as a technological problem, calling for technological solutions;
  • Some companies are hiring a chief security officer (CSO), who works with business leaders and IT managers to assess the business risks of losing key systems and to target security spending at business priorities;
  • The role of information security, and therefore of the CSO, varies by industry, the value of the company’s data, and the intensity of the regulatory requirements it faces;
  • Today, most business leaders currently pay as little attention to the issue of information security as they once did to security;
  • In a networked world, however, companies at risk can no longer dismiss hackers as “merely pesky trespassers” who can be kept at bay by technological means alone.

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