(ISC)² Security Congress 2011

The congress was held Sept 19-22 at the Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando. This was (ISC)²’s first annual Security Congress, hopefully not the last! It was co-located with the ASIS International’s 57th annual seminar and exhibits, a move that recognizes the convergence of physical and information security.

After attending this congress, I realized how big the physical security world is. To give you the numbers, there were 280 attendees from (ISC)² versus 20,000 from ASIS, and enough exhibitors for this crowd to visit: 700.

There were 3 hour-long educational sessions per day, with about 25 topics to choose from for each session.

What were they talking about?

The 3 topics that was heard and discussed and debated on in almost every session (among the 10 or so (ISC)² sessions that I attended) were:

  1. Cloud Security
  2. Mobile Device Security
  3. Social Media

The trend and the focus for the information security industry in the next couple of years will be on addressing the above 3 topics with policies, regulations, products, and services. Below I’ll expand a little bit on why each area is attractive, and what are the security risks. 

1. Cloud Security

Why cloud? – Flexibility and scalability, cost savings, availability and disaster recovery

Threats? – Data loss/leakage, abuse of cloud, account/service hijacking, shared technology

What to do? – Like any other technology, cloud has risks associated with its benefits. All the classic principals of information security should be applied to it, having it in mind from the design/architecture phase. Have an incident response plan. Consider private/community/public/hybrid cloud options. 

2. Mobile Device Security

Why mobile devices? – Business rewards (response time, availability, flexibility), employee experience (ubiquitous mobile devices, employee owned), executive adoption

Threats? – Data loss/leakage, employee privacy concerns, compromise of corporate network from mobile device

What to do? – Look into device ownership (= liability) issues, have a corporate and a personal mobile device use policy, provide training to go along with that policy, harden mobile devices 

3. Social Media

Why social media? – It’s ubiquitous and unavoidable, it is the basis for Web 2.0, it has great potential to be used as a marketing and customer communication tool for the enterprise

Threats? – Faster spread of malware through the ‘trust’ factor, phishing attacks, worms, shortened URL’s, Evil Twin attack, session hijacking, identity theft, all leading to information leak and corporate liability issues

What to do? – Social media use policy (AUP), education and awareness, use of content filtering and DLP products to control traffic to and from social media sites

Some interesting notes:

  • Security is not about security, it’s about risk management
  • What is the perimeter of your network? It’s the end user!
  • A smartphone on your network should not be treated ANY differently from any other computer on your network
  • 1 out of 5 tweets names a product brand
  • Facebook mobile users are 50% more active than other users of the site
  • Sources of social media risk include: clients, employees, vendors, competitors, activists, and cyber criminals

Some interesting links:

Some interesting speakers:

  • Jeb Bush, Former Governor of Florida
  • Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico
  • Burt Rutan, designer of SpaceShipOne
  • Janet Napolitano, US DHS Secretary
  • Winn Schwartau, celebrity and power thinker on security/privacy/infowar/cyber-terrorism
  • Charlie Blanchard, Manager of Security & Privacy Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP
  • Simon Hunt, VP and CTO, Endpoint Security, McAfee
  • Shayne Bates, Director Security Cloud Strategy, Microsoft Global Security
  • James Hewitt, Director of Security Governance, CGI Federal

Vahid A.


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