While many security and risk professionals are keenly focused on evaluating potential security threats and plugging holes in their networks, fewer are focused on what’s most important.
According to John Wheeler, Research Director at Gartner, what’s crucial is “their ability to anticipate and respond effectively when the inevitable threat becomes reality.”
While addressing a global audience, Wheeler’s question can be brought down to a New Zealand level, begging the question of Kiwi companies; How do you know if you can anticipate and respond effectively to an IT risk event?
“Well, the answer lies within another question,” Wheeler explains. “How do you know when your security and risk program is failing?
“If you can answer this question, then you can rest assured you can anticipate and respond effectively to any IT risk event.”
Wheeler believes identifying a failing security and risk program is much like a doctor diagnosing a patient that is at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
“The doctor will ask the patient a series of questions to determine their lifestyle and its impact on the patient’s future cardiovascular health,” he says.
Likewise, Gartner has a series of questions to determine the “lifestyle” of the security and risk program and its impact on the company’s ability to anticipate and respond to an IT risk event.
The key questions include:
• Are you focused on the most critical IT risks to the business?
• Are you continuously monitoring these critical IT risks?
• Do you have a forward-looking approach to identify emerging IT risks?
• Are you driving the right behaviors to optimize your IT risk profile?
• Are you taking too much IT risk or not taking enough?
• Do you have an full view of all the IT risks?
• Can you prepare and quickly coordinate a full response to an IT risk event?
“If you answer “no” to any of these questions, then your security and risk program is most likely failing,” Wheeler claims.
“Answering “yes” to all of the questions is a good indicator of effectiveness, but it also requires discipline to revisit the questions on a regular basis.”
One of the best ways to revisit these questions regularly, according to Wheeler, is to use them as a basis for dialogue with your board of directors and senior executives, in New Zealand and beyond.