INFORMATION SECURITY - Are you feeling anxious?

Tribridge CIO Andy SwensonWHO:        Andy Swenson, CIO of Tribridge talks about information security

WHAT:      SECURITY - Are you Feeling Anxious?

WHERE:    Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers

WHEN:      October 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

WIN:         All pre-registered attendees will be entered into a raffle to win a $50.00 gift certificate at Best Buy


Awareness of the problematic nature of information security is approaching an all-time high. Out of every IT dollar spent, 15 cents goes to security. Security staff is being hired at an increasing rate. Surprisingly, however, enterprise security isn't improving.

In 2007, for the fifth straight year, CIO and CSO published select results and analysis from the "Global State of Information Security" survey, the world's largest, most comprehensive annual information security survey. And the first question to ask is, Are you feeling anxious?

Are you feeling the disquiet that comes from knowing there's no reason why your company can't be the next TJX? The angst of knowing that these modern plagues—these spam e-mails, these bots, these rootkits—will keep coming at you no matter how much time and money you spend trying to stop them? The chill that comes from knowing how much you don't know?  Yeah, you're feeling it.

You're feeling it because you're seeing it. According to the 2007 survey, a comprehensive canvassing of 7,200 respondents on six continents, you see the information security problem more clearly than ever before. You're seeing it because you've created tools and systems in order to see it. For example:

·       You've added processes. Three years ago, only 37 percent of companies reported having an overall security strategy. This year, 57 percent did. Also, nearly four out of five companies conducted enterprise risk assessments, at least periodically.

·       You've deployed technology. Nine out of 10 respondents said they use firewalls, monitor users and rely on intrusion detection infrastructure, and that number approached 98 percent when responses were limited to larger companies (more than $1 billion in revenue). Encryption is at an all-time high, with 72 percent reporting some use of it (compared to 48 percent last year).

·       You've hired people. The number of CISOs and CSOs employed continues to rise. And the mean number of information security workers per company has topped 100, most likely due to more outsourcing and the use of contract employees.

You've crafted an infrastructure for understanding. You're seeing it, and that's why you're feeling it. You're undergoing a shift from a somewhat blissful ignorance of the serious flaws in computer security to a largely depressing knowledge of them

The Infrastructure Is in Place

Baseline deployment of people, process and technology continues to rise steadily, sometimes dramatically. Among those companies that don't have these techniques in place, the priority for adding it is remarkably low, indicating that most people who think they need these things now have them.




Priority for 2008

People: You have a...
















Processes: You have...




An overall security strategy




A baseline for customers/partners




Centralized SIM




Technology: You deploy...












IDS/A-V/other detection*




Data backup




User security/ID management*








Internet security*




* Before 2007, these categories were not consolidated. The percentage listed is the highest percentage given for one of the subcategories now consolidated into the new category.

Likely Sources of Incidents

Recognition of the insider threat is a sign that awareness is increasing, largely due to the controls that have been put in place over the past five years.

Who attacked us?







2007 Security Executives Only

Employee/former employee









Have employees suddenly turned more malicious? Are inside jobs suddenly more fashionable and productive than they used to be? Probably not. Most security experts will tell you that the insider threat is relatively constant and is usually bigger than its victims suspect.

What can be done about all this? Be strategic. Security investment must shift from the technology-heavy, tactical operation it has been to date to an intelligence-centric, risk analysis and mitigation philosophy.

Information and security executives should, for example, be putting their dollars into industry information sharing; collaboration is key.  They should invest in security research and technical staff that can capture and dissect malware, and they should troll the Internet underground for the latest trends and leads. Dozens of security companies do just this and provide subscriptions to research services.

We have to start addressing the human element of information security, not just the technological one. It's only then that companies will stop being punching bags. Only then will they be able to hit back.  The state of Internet security is eroding quickly. Trust in online transactions is evaporating, and it will require strong security leadership for that trust to be restored. For the Internet to remain the juggernaut of commerce and productivity it has become will require more, not less, input from security.


More about Andy Swenson:

Andy began working in information technology in 1982 and has experience in government, middle market and Fortune 500 companies. His experience includes all aspects of information technology, including information security and infrastructure services, strategic planning, new product development, and project management

Prior to joining Tribridge, Andy founded Integration Specialists, Inc. (ISI), which was acquired by Tribridge in July 2003. ISI specialized in information security and infrastructure services. Prior to founding ISI, Andy served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer with two Tampa-based public companies – Sykes Enterprises, Inc. and ABR Information Services, Inc.

While at Sykes, a multi-national corporation that provides call center and fulfillment services to high-tech and financial clients, Andy guided the company’s global information technology strategy, which spanned 60 locations in 14 countries. His responsibilities included consolidation and standardization of technology and telecommunications, strategic planning, resource management, and revenue generation through the development of new service offerings.

While at ABR, a publicly traded benefits administration outsourcing company, Andy was responsible for all aspects of the company’s information systems. Under Andy’s leadership, his group developed new product lines to help expand the business from $8 million to $50 million in annual revenues.

Andy is on the board of the Tampa Chapter of Infragard, the Tampa Bay Chapter of ISSA, the advisory board for Florida Metropolitan University and for EpicTide Software. He has appeared on NBC Daytime as an Internet Security Expert a panelist for Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist on Internet Security. Andy was also a founding member of the CIO Council and has taught several sessions at St Pete College and speaks at Infragard, ISSA and MIS Training Institute seminars.

Andy holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Coleman College in San Diego, California and a Telecommunications Management Certification from Christian Brothers College in Memphis, Tennessee.


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