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3 Dec 2019

NBlog Dec 3 - infosec driving principles

In an interview for CIO Dive, Maersk's recently-appointed CISO Andy Powell discussed aligning the organization with these five 'key operating principles':
"The first is trust. The client has got to trust us with their data, to trust us to look at their business. So we've got to build trust through the cybersecurity solutions that we put in place. That is absolutely fundamental. So client trust, client buy-in has been fundamental to what we tried to drive as a key message. 
The second is resilience. Because you've got to have resilient systems because clients won't give you business if you're not resilient ... 
The third really is around the fact that security is everybody's responsibility. And we push that message really hard across the company … be clear about what you need to do and we train people accordingly. ...
The fourth one really is accountability of security and I have pushed accountability for cyber risk to the business. ... 
And the final piece, and this has been one of the big call outs of my team to everybody, is that security is a benefit, not a burden. The reason I say that is people's perception is that security will slow things down, will get in the way ... the reality is that if you involve security early enough, you can build solutions that actually attract additional clients."
Fair enough Andy. I wouldn't particularly quarrel with any of them, but as to whether they would feature in my personal top-five I'm not so sure. Here are five others they'd be competing against, with shipping-related illustrations just for fun:
  • Governance involves structuring, positioning, setting things up and guiding the organization in the right overall direction - determining then plotting the optimal route to the ship's ultimate destination, loading up with the right tools, people and provisions. Corporate governance necessarily involves putting things in place for both protecting and exploiting information, a vital and valuable yet vulnerable business asset;
  • Information is subject to risks that can and probably should be managed proactively, just as a ship's captain doesn't merely accept the inclement weather and various other hazards but, where appropriate, actively mitigates or avoids them, dynamically reacting and adjusting course as things change;
  • Flexibility and responsiveness, along with resilience and robustness, present more options, opportunities to make the best of whatever situations occur, including novel hazards that weren't anticipated. If the Titanic's captain hadn't been steaming quite so fast through icy seas at night, or had thought further ahead, or was at the helm of a more nimble vessel, maybe he could have turned hard enough to avoid the iceberg that ripped open the hull of his supposedly unsinkable and apparently difficult to steer ship;
  • Making the best of available resources implies a blend of knowledge and skills, particularly in leadership and motivation of people: people remain central to information risk and security management. Even as technology grows in importance within information security, it's more tool than device. In the hands of a master mariner, a sextant becomes a valuable instrument rather than an ornament;
  • Assurance is a valuable product of oversight, monitoring, testing, reviewing and auditing activities, allowing management as well as third parties to have faith in the information risk and security management arrangements. The extent and quality of assurance activities correlates strongly with an organization's capabilities and maturity, largely because assurance supports the need for improvements and demonstrates progress.  That seaworthiness certificate isn't just a ticket to leave port: it gives confidence that things are in order down below.

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