Stranger in a Strange Land: Finding the New Normal of Security Culture
The title of this month’s column is from an old Robert Heinlein novel. A man from Earth, raised by Martians, is thrust into our world and begins to question everything. His frame of reference conflicts with the culture.
Today, we have a new normal. Risks are outpacing our ability to staff, fund and manage them. Technology is displacing old notions of security. We are no longer in a “safe” world. There are many who believe they are simply managing what inevitably is going to happen. We are all strangers in a strange land.
A colleague of mine provided a disturbing story that illustrates this new normal. IT Security teams receive more than 17,000 alerts or potential threats per week. Nineteen percent are well-founded threats. But only four percent are investigated. They spend 395 hours a week reporting on false positives at an average annual cost of $1.27 million.
Many of our clients in the physical security market are facing similar challenges. They see drones and robots at industry events basing their value proposition on cutting the cost of guarding. But, at the end of the day, they are fighting their version of the 19 percent of well-founded threats with a four-percent investigation rate.
This will eventually force a change in our “security culture.” Something has to give.
If we drew the problem on a board, we might see disconnected pieces of the puzzle. How we receive real-time data on risk. How we do risk assessments. How we evaluate our procedures, our workflows and our technology to optimize and effectively respond to risk. How we source the labor and the expertise to staff the very processes and tasks needed to protect us.
If risk is at the center, it might look like this diagram. Risk is the common language of the executives inside the organization. It is used to define defensive postures and offensive market strategies; that is, opportunities for value creation. But we in the security ecosystem are not positioned to balance our approach to risk with opportunity.
The very tools we will finally use to reinvent security will revolutionize how we think of markets and culture. And revolution is not a term that sits well with any of us. Change is hard.
But it is coming. The video we are using today for security is being used to predict consumer behavior. The intercom we use today is being radically transformed into Alexa. The machine is learning. And it will be your best friend and your enemy’s best tool.
So, a new vendor model must emerge that integrates risk assessment, intelligence and monitoring with technology to change the way we resource and fund security’s next generation of practices. And it must be affordable and resourced in a new way. Whoever can provide this infrastructure, resource model and quality of service will be the strategic advisor to a whole new generation of security leaders.