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Man vs Machine: Securing your IT SystemsMan vs Machine: Securing your IT systems

This magazine’s special report on IT security has proved timely, coming shortly after the Government issued a dire warning to business leaders about cyber crime.

The Government and GCHQ have committed to help create a more security-conscious culture in UK companies, aimed at tackling the estimated £21 billion British businesses lose every year to cyber crime. This new initiative comes shortly after MI5 warned that UK organisations are facing “astonishing” levels of cyber attacks.

This wake-up call will certainly help the cause of hard-pressed IT professionals, as they battle the rising tide of security compliance and crime, despite being hamstrung by growing pressure on their security budgets.

For our part, in this special report we focus on the practical steps organisations can take to improve their IT defences and the biggest challenges you face. A bit like ‘location, location...’, the problem can boil down to ‘cost, cost, cost’ – and authors from PA Consulting and Tufin (pages 8 and 20) cover how you can direct your security investments in the right place, as cost-effectively as possible.

Other articles focus on how to make mobile, cloud and SharePoint systems more secure (pages 22, 24 and 26), and the uphill battle to persuade the Board to lead from the front on cyber crime (page 10) – here, surely, the Government’s initiative will provide useful ammunition.

Elsewhere, we review the hidden risks of cloud computing and the need to vet your cloud supplier (page 30); and just how far most companies still have to go to get beyond barely adequate ERP analytics to the promised land of ‘big data’ (page 16).

That big data article headline – it talks about ’small steps’ and ‘a giant leap’ – is a respectful nod to the late Neil Armstrong, whose 1969 Apollo Moon landing inspired a generation of now-middle-aged folk to realise just how significant science and technology can be to human endeavour.

Returning to our original theme, this realisation is echoed by the Government’s campaign on cyber crime, which underlines once again the importance of technologists to the success of UK organisations.

Tim Ring
Editorial director
The National Computing Centre Ltd

Download the whole issue as a PDF: IT Adviser, Issue 71, Autumn 2012


Industry news – Autumn 2012 - 04 Oct 2012

IBM unveils mainframe for cloud eraIBM zEC12: new security and analytics features to boost cloud performanceIBM has launched the latest in its System z mainframe series which has been the linchpin of large-scale computing for nearly 50 years. The zEnterprise EC12 system includes new security and analytics technologies designed ... read more..

Man vs machine - 04 Oct 2012

Venafi CEO Jeff Hudson introduces our security special report by charting the emergence of silicon-based life forms, and our struggle ever since to stay in control of them.Silicon-based life forms (aka computer technology) have become an ever-present companion in our lives. Initially intended as high-tech helpers to crunch our numbers ... read more..

Making the money count - 04 Oct 2012

PA Consulting's Ed Savage and John Skipper explain how to focus your IT security investments in the right place.Recent studies have suggested that the UK generates between 6% and 8% of its GDP (100-120 billion) from 'cyberspace' over the internet and other networks. Cyberspace is a key engine for ... read more..

Boardroom blitz - 04 Oct 2012

Board directors are notorious for their lack of understanding of IT. That's a massive security threat that has to be countered, says The Bunker CTO Philip Bindley.Company directors are entrusted with taking the high-risk decisions that advance their businesses, making them the most important and vulnerable people in ... read more..

The service desk says...‘no’ - 04 Oct 2012

Marcus Harris of Pink Elephant pinpoints the attitude problems that are preventing good performance on the IT service desk and how these can be addressed.Does your service desk have a reputation problem? There is no question that too many service desks are saying 'no'.Even though IT service management (ITSM) is ... read more..

Keeping watch on the net - 04 Oct 2012

Your corporate IT network is business-critical, so how do you make sure it's working to its best ability? Dirk Paessler has the answer.The corporate network is a fundamental element of any organisation's IT infrastructure. A business has to ensure all its processes are running smoothly, including communication between its various ... read more..

Small steps to big data - 04 Oct 2012

Glyn Heath of Centiq gets real about big data. Before taking a giant leap, most companies need to tackle the pressing problem of getting adequate analytics out of their existing ERP monoliths.Excitement around big data continues to build almost daily. No surprise really, as it's estimated that the big data ... read more..

At the centre – Autumn 2012 - 04 Oct 2012

Cloud's time is nowThe hallmark of a successful organisation is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances but IT has historically provided a slow-moving and expensive service, where change has to be carefully planned and introduced over a longer timeframe than the business would like.Now, cloud computing offers a ... read more..

Cutting your defence budget - 04 Oct 2012

Michael Hamelin of Tufin Technologies finds cost-effective ways to deal with the growing demands of security compliance.In these IT cost-conscious times, most budgets even in the IT security department are constantly under review, and usually in a downward direction. At the same time (and just to make life ... read more..

BYOD...Bring Your Own Downfall? - 04 Oct 2012

Former GCHQ security specialist Gareth Maclachlan looks at the rise, and risks, of mobile devices in the workplace and how organisations can ensure both their staff and data remain protected.For a number of organisations, mobile working is becoming increasingly popular. Many firms now allow employees to work remotely, helping to ... read more..

Making virtual security real - 04 Oct 2012

The rapid onset of 'virtual', cloud and mobile IT has left security struggling to catch up. Kaspersky's Peter Beardmore reports.Security exists to protect the tangible things in life. And if something is deemed special enough to be protected, we do it in a highly visible way deadbolts on doors ... read more..

So you think SharePoint is secure? Think again! - 04 Oct 2012

Grant Taylor of Cryptzone identifies the vulnerabilities that Microsoft SharePoint inadvertently introduces.SharePoint was originally conceived to make it easier for people to collaborate and today it is the market leader for collaborative environments. It enables users to share ideas, information and expertise, to manage documents from start to finish, and ... read more..

Spotlight on security architecture - 04 Oct 2012

IT Adviser talks to (ISC)2's Omoruyi Osagiede about the growing importance of an over-arching, corporate IT security architecture.Security breaches continue to make the headlines, with the most recent victims being LinkedIn and the radio station Lastfm. With social engineering attacks increasing, there is growing recognition that concentrating security measures at ... read more..

Moving to the cloud…what could possibly go wrong? - 03 Oct 2012

Dave Paulding of Interactive Intelligence reveals all the hidden risks involved in flying to the cloud.The financial downturn has forced many companies to reassess their operations and examine where efficiencies can be made without reducing productivity. In light of this, the advent of cloud computing has been seen by many ... read more..

Is green IT back in business? - 03 Oct 2012

'Green IT' has taken a back seat in the recession but Fusion's Murray Sherwood says its cost-saving potential is pushing it back up the business agenda.In the face of continuing economic pressures and rising energy costs, many CIOs are starting to look again at making green IT a key part ... read more..

Game changer - 03 Oct 2012

Gary Cornell gets a sneak preview of MS Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 and finds one is revolutionary, the other a major disappointment.I was lucky enough to attend both Tech Ed US and Tech Ed Europe in Amsterdam. I say 'lucky' because both events sold out and the ... read more..

 

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