Securing the future today

The security summit recently held in Dubai and hosted by service provider Paramount saw vendors and users come together to discuss the threats facing them today.

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By  Sean Robson Published  March 22, 2009

The security summit recently held in Dubai and hosted by service provider Paramount saw vendors and users come together to discuss the threats facing them today.

Vendors and IT security professionals met recently at a summit organised by security services major Paramount. The event saw much of the discussion concentrate on data leakage and the increased risk of theft in the current operating environment.

The biggest security threat today is laid off employees and the absence of a clearly defined exit process.

The event began with a presentation by Premchand Kurup, CEO of Paramount who discussed the changes that have occurred in the regional security environment over the past year.

“Last year when we launched our foray into the identity and access management space, the market was slow to accept it. The economic melt-down is a game-changer. Productivity improvement, cost savings and compliance in a secured infrastructure are more relevant today than ever before,” said Kurup.

He maintains that an enterprise’s biggest security threat is no longer from outside attack but instead from internal staff.

“The biggest security threat today is laid off employees and the absence of a clearly defined exit process. You can count on your fingers the number of companies in the Gulf that have implemented identity access management and data loss prevention,” continued Kurup.

These thoughts were echoed by Maurizio Desiderio, regional director EMEA at security appliance company Imprivata. Desidario cited a study which claimed that the percentage of breaches attributed to data theft from current and former employees more than doubled from 7% in 2007 to nearly 16% in 2008.

Desidario argued that in order for this to be successfully combated, enterprises need to take steps to enforce and monitor employee access, not only to information but also the physical location.

“Businesses have spent a lot on protecting themselves from external threats. However with the current economic situation; the internal threat is now the greatest,” said Desidario.

The impact of the current financial crisis was another unifying them of the event as the effect of its impact on security and security spending becomes more apparent regionally.

In his presentation entitled, doing more with less in difficult times, Andrew Cowley, senior systems engineer at Lancope, explained how with budgets and staff being slashed IT professionals need to look away from traditional solutions and plan more effectively.

Imprivata’s Desiradio encouraged organisations to do a thorough risk assessment when it comes to employing any security solution.

“You need to ask yourself a series of questions: do you have more active accounts or access cards than employees, do you know who is accessing your applications, do you know all your users’ application logons?,” he said.

Many of the speakers noted that an added driver for enterprises to upgrade their security policies was the groundswell of compliance and regulation. These twin factors are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the Middle East.

“The purpose of the event was to provide CIOs and IT Managers with concepts that will help them create next-generation datacentre with next-generation security within their organisations. We did just that,” concluded Kurup.

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