IDC survey: People and processes are key for security

Skilled personnel and management buy-ins are key elements for a successful information security program, according to the results of an International Data Corp. survey that canvassed government security workers.

Other essential components include end-user compliance and effective security technologies, those surveyed said.  IDC officials culled the results from the company's annual Global Information Security Workforce Study.

“Organizations are now focusing more attention on the policies, the processes, the people rather than just throwing more technology at problems,” said Allan Carey, program manager for security and business continuity services for IDC.

The data breaches and security incidents that occurred in 2006  -- such as the theft of a laptop belonging to a Department of Veterans Affairs employee that exposed the personal information of 26 million veterans  -- were mostly failures of everything other than technology, he said.

“You can create policy, you can implement a policy, but in situations such as the VA data breach, there's an enforcement of policy as well,” Carey said.

“Security has been seen as an option up until recently,” said Lynn McNulty, director of government affairs for (ISC)2, a security accreditation organization. “There has been a perception amongst management that IT security is a negative cost.”

However, data breaches and regulations such as the Federal Information Security Management Act have made IT security a major issue among senior executives, McNulty said.

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