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There’s no question that the threats to corporate security are numerous, complex and growing. As a result, all types of organizations have to spend an increasing amount of time and resources confronting the security (and risks) landscape. For many companies, the issue is no longer simply a matter of protecting the network or guarding against more and more viruses, Trojan horses, or malicious software downloads. Instead, the issue of security has come full circle from simply an IT nuisance and expense to business critical one that can impact everything from a company’s brand image to meeting regulatory requirements. In short, the new security landscape is scary and extensive.

Based on discussions with industry leaders and executives, I see a new approach to enterprise security evolving—that changes the focus from security technologies and approaches that are seen as sunk cost for IT, to a proactive way of both managing business and corporate risk while enabling new classes of applications and business processes. Although it takes investment and time up front to identify and understand an organization’s risk profile, the money is well spent if it’s followed by a security strategy that addressed the most important areas and downplays areas of risk where there is less business risk.

I believe that most enterprise security approaches will evolve from separate IT-centric ones that deal with the digital world and traditional physical ones that deal with “real-life” security to combined solutions that intermarry a person’s digital identity with their physical presence to enable more efficient and manageable security operations—as well as opening up new capabilities. Along the way, we’ll see an ever expanding definition of identity management (see some of my previous columns which discuss the application of identity management to individual application services that can be used, managed, and billed across networks) to better security frameworks and ways for organizations to structure their security analysis.

Real security measures aren’t simply about pumping money and resources into preventing problems—though a solid defense against basic issues is certainly a good starting point. By evaluating the business risk associated with potential risks, organizations will realize they they’re not all the same, and that the real investment of security money and resources can be directed against specific areas that are the highest risk. Not only does this save an organization money by preventing over investment in unnecessary areas (well, in areas where the investment has a lower payback), it also enables an organization to focus on and invest in the specific areas of risk and security concerns that will provide the highest payback the company—either in terms of risk reduction or the enablement of new opportunities.


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