In the world of IT systems, a little mistrust can sometimes be a good thing. As you read this, a busy executive is glancing at her email inbox. A message from a longtime colleague has a link to an interesting-sounding study — but something doesn’t feel quite right.

The email seems vaguely generic, without the personal tone she’d expect from an old friend. When she checks the return address, it doesn’t match the colleague’s email. Instead of clicking on the link, she deletes the email, thus protecting herself and her company from a spear-phishing cyber attack.

Mistrust can be a good thing, but we cannot live that way. If we had to be suspicious of everything in our inboxes, we would never get through them. Business, like all of social life, depends on networks of trust, and the great challenge for IT systems is building those networks.

A World of IT Systems Threats — and Smart Responses

In today’s Internet of Everything, security threats can pop up anywhere. Large organizations record billions of security events every day; The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that a leading breakfast cereal maker is taking steps to protect its trade secrets from cyber exposure; and reports on a breach that exposed the Houston Astros’ negotiations as last season’s trade deadline approached.

At the same time, enterprises are getting more savvy. As Danny Yadron notes in the WSJ, corporate boards are stepping up to the cyber security challenge. No longer is security regarded as a purely technical matter to be left for the IT department to deal with on its own. Cyber security threats are a fundamental risk of doing business, and business leaders are responding proactively.

New Technologies, New Threats, New Defenses

A new generation of technology is posing new security risks on all sides. Cloud computing, big data and especially mobile devices pose complex and growing challenges. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is filling workplaces with mobile devices that IT security teams cannot directly control — and that often have serious security gaps.

At the same time, these new technologies also hold out the promise of better security. In a new e-book, “Staying Ahead in the Cyber Security Game: What Matters Now,” leading security experts Erik van Ommeren, Martin Borrett and Marinus Kuivenhoven look at the current state of play in protecting the security of IT systems.

These experts find plenty of reasons to stay on guard, but also discover grounds for optimism. Big data analytics is allowing organizations to view billions of security events in context, identifying subtle patterns that can signal an attack. The cloud, in turn, can place this wealth of security insights into the hands of the defenders who need it; and while mobile devices pose security challenges, they have the potential to offer better security than the traditional PC.

As van Ommeren, Borrett and Kuivenhoven point out, the evolving IT systems security landscape has not changed some fundamental truths: Security involves everyone, not just IT professionals, and security is all about trust. Using fear alone to promote security is a strategy that is long past its sell-by date. Effective security comes from policies that build trust, and these policies begin at the top.

Download the free e-book: Staying Ahead of the Cyber Security Game

More from CISO

Everyone Wants to Build a Cyber Range: Should You?

In the last few years, IBM X-Force has seen an unprecedented increase in requests to build cyber ranges. By cyber ranges, we mean facilities or online spaces that enable team training and exercises of cyberattack responses. Companies understand the need to drill their plans based on real-world conditions and using real tools, attacks and procedures. What’s driving this increased demand? The increase in remote and hybrid work models emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the priority to collaborate and…

Why Quantum Computing Capabilities Are Creating Security Vulnerabilities Today

Quantum computing capabilities are already impacting your organization. While data encryption and operational disruption have long troubled Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), the threat posed by emerging quantum computing capabilities is far more profound and immediate. Indeed, quantum computing poses an existential risk to the classical encryption protocols that enable virtually all digital transactions. Over the next several years, widespread data encryption mechanisms, such as public-key cryptography (PKC), could become vulnerable. Any classically encrypted communication could be wiretapped and is…

6 Roles That Can Easily Transition to a Cybersecurity Team

With the shortage of qualified tech professionals in the cybersecurity industry and increasing demand for trained experts, it can take time to find the right candidate with the necessary skill set. However, while searching for specific technical skill sets, many professionals in other industries may be an excellent fit for transitioning into a cybersecurity team. In fact, considering their unique, specialized skill sets, some roles are a better match than what is traditionally expected of a cybersecurity professional. This article…

Laid Off by Big Tech? Cybersecurity is a Smart Career Move

Big technology companies are laying off staff as market conditions change. The move follows a hiring blitz initially triggered by the uptick in pandemic-powered remote work — according to Bloomberg, businesses are now cutting jobs at a rate approaching that of early 2020. For example, in November 2022 alone, companies laid off more than 52,000 workers. Companies like Amazon and Meta also plan to let more than 10,000 staff members go over the next few years. As noted by Stanford…