BYOD, Big Data, and My Breakfast with Steve

Our digital world makes frequent communications with colleagues across the globe a seamless occurrence these days. Yet, it’s still nice – and my preferred method – to meet with people face to face. So when the Information Security Forum’s global executive VP, Steve Durbin, was in the New York area last week, I simply could not turn down an invitation to meet over breakfast. So, I hopped on New Jersey Transit, crossed my fingers that the tempermental service would go smoothly, and managed to make it just in time.

While our paths have crossed numerous times over the telephone and via email, it was the first time I caught up with Steve in the flesh in almost two years. Aside from the light-hearted discussions of many things topical – from the upcoming presidential election here in the US, to the London Olympics – more serious conversations related to infosecurity managed to make their way in.

First we discussed some of the common trends we both hear about in the industry. First and foremost was BYOD. Steve made one interesting comment that I think will stick with me for some time. One ISF member, he relayed, said they would not implement any BYOD policy and simply take a wait-and-see approach, in what amounts to a BYOD ‘free-for-all’. Certainly, with most organizations either contemplating or already enacting their own BYOD policy, I found this both fascinating and a bit outside the box.

Next up was the concept of “Big Data”, a topic that the ISF has recently published a report on, which we covered here at Infosecurity. The ISF suggests that Big Data analytics can go beyond commercial uses and can be leveraged to the benefits of information/cybersecurity. Infosecurity will likely explore the topic in detail for one of our feature articles in 2013, and Steve and I both hope the ISF will be part of this discussion.

Speaking of the ISF’s research, Steve informed me that its research agenda for the next six months will soon be considered and finalized. The ISF’s research is a member-generated list of topics that the Forum considers twice a year – so that it can remain at the cutting edge of security trends. The independent Forum will use its new social networking site – ISF Live – to take in member suggestions that will steer near-term research goals.

Then we discussed the topic of Cloud Security, which despite much attention being paid to it in the security press and industry in general, remains quite a sore spot for the security professional. Steve predicts we will continue to see data lost in the cloud over the coming months and years. “You think by now we would have learned how to protect data in the cloud”, he commented. “But”, he added, “the problem still remains.”

Well, Steve, I would suggest that there are some problems that will just never go away. And given the popularity of cloud-based services, this may be one of those cases.

Finally, we discussed the ISF’s upcoming annual World Congress, to be held in Chicago from November 4 to 6.
Attendees will be treated to addresses by some of the industry’s top luminaries, including Vint Cerf, Howard Schmidt, and Bruce Schneier.

While the Congress is open only to ISF members, Steve hopes he can find some way to get some of the information out to the public via journalists like myself. I made a suggestion or two, so hopefully we will have some coverage to provide our readers in the days surrounding the event.

Here’s to wishing the ISF a successful event – and some unseasonably warm weather for a November in Chicago!

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