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Adopting a Comprehensive Risk Management Program

In the Boardroom with...Mr. Rob Wigley, Director, Cybersecurity Consulting Services, HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector

Rob Wigley is Director, Cybersecurity Consulting Services at HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector. He has more than 30 years of information technology experience supporting manufacturing, high tech, healthcare, and public sector market segments. For the last 10 years, he has focused on developing and delivering cybersecurity consulting solutions for public sector clients. Thank you for joining us today, Rob. Can you please tell us a little about your background and your role within HP.

Rob Wigley: I have more than 30 years of information technology experience supporting manufacturing, high tech, healthcare, and public sector market segments. For the last 10 years, as regulatory requirements for information security have increased in association with mounting threats facing government and businesses today, I have focused on developing and delivering cybersecurity consulting solutions for public sector clients. This market has unique IT security requirements and is facing a significant increase of cyber threats. HP Cybersecurity Consulting Services are soundly structured to help our clients manage risks to their environment. Cybersecurity is front-page news on a daily basis. Attacks and threats may emanate from anywhere, at any time - from well-organized state-sponsored and foreign-operated governments, to lone wolf hackers, and even from natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. We seem to be in an environment where it is not "IF" your organization will be exposed to a breach or experience downtime due to a security threat, but "WHEN." What are the minimum "best-practices" that your Cybersecurity Consulting Team recommend for implementation in this very challenging environment?

Rob Wigley: Without question, adversaries have become smarter, better organized, and more persistent as they seek to cause disruptions and access intellectual property and other sensitive information. The number of cyber threats is proliferating faster than many organizations can defend. Many companies and global governments have been subjected to some very sophisticated and targeted attacks, which have had a significant impact on their mission. This includes some recent extremely high-profile breaches conducted by insiders.

In order to address these threats, first and foremost an organization needs to have an effective risk management program supported by senior management, with a strong governance structure, and integrated across all business processes. As businesses look for new growth opportunities and consequently adopt new technologies, the tradeoff becomes uncertainty and risk that could affect their mission and goals. A continuous process of risk management activities should be applied to identify new risks, reassess previously identified risks, and monitor and track the effectiveness of risk mitigation plans.

An often overlooked component of risk management is the benefit of integrating the processes early within the business and technology lifecycle. Doing so helps to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities so they can be addressed from the start in order to prevent security breaches. It's much less costly in terms of financial impact to fix vulnerabilities detected up front in the design and development phases, rather than fix them in production environments or after a security incident. This lifecycle-based risk management approach can also reduce costs, as full risk assessments would not be required as frequently.

Another important aspect of a comprehensive risk management program is that it allows business leaders to make informed decisions when balancing the cost of managing risk. As IT budgets continue to come under scrutiny, a thorough documented risk analysis is necessary to justify the expenditures of implementing risk-based controls. That's why it's critical to describe risk in terms of "risk to the business." The bottom line is that an effective risk management program is one that permeates throughout an organization's culture, including people, processes, technology, and governance. If possible, may we have a brief overview of the comprehensive risk management services you are able to provide to both public and private sector entities?

Rob Wigley: HP has a set of core services under our Governance Risk and Compliance Consulting Services specifically designed to improve a client's overall risk posture in a cost-effective manner. These include compliance and risk assessment services that evaluate the infrastructure and applications with your agency, or corporate security policies and industry best practice. We perform vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, code review, and comprehensive application threat assessments.

We also perform assessments on the strategic aspects of an information security program. We evaluate the effectiveness of security governance, security strategy, incident management, and an organization's risk management process. This consists of a current state and maturity assessment, a gap analysis, and the development of a strategic roadmap with the end goal of aligning your security program with business requirements and measurably reducing business risk. We also offer Security Discovery Workshops, which are one-day interactive workshops facilitated by senior HP consultants involving both business and IT stakeholders. The objective is to examine your cybersecurity strategy and identify your biggest challenges, looking at how you're currently addressing those challenges, and showing how you can use our maturity model to implement a prioritized roadmap to improve your overall cybersecurity posture. In your opinion, does a misperception exist within the IT world between the terms "risk management" and "risk assessments"?

Rob Wigley: This is a very good question and one that I find myself explaining quite frequently. A risk assessment is just one step in a risk management framework - the overall process of risk identification and analysis by determining potential threats and vulnerabilities associated with an IT system. Conversely, risk management includes selecting and implementing security controls to reduce risk to an acceptable level, categorizing systems to determine their criticality, and reviewing regulations, and policies and standards affecting the security of the information.

Another very important process with risk management is monitoring security controls. Because of the increased threat landscape and sophistication of attackers, periodic risk assessments are no longer sufficient for many organizations. Continuously monitoring for threats and vulnerabilities has become critical to support risk management decisions.

There are some well-established risk management frameworks and standards that explain in detail the processes with all aspects of risk management and risk assessments. This includes publications from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST). With everything moving into the Cloud, can we take a moment and drill down specifically into Cloud Security? What resources does HP offer its clients to help design and deploy a secure cloud strategy?

Rob Wigley: Many surveys indicate that one of the top concerns organizations have in moving to the cloud is the security of their information. While security concerns are not unique to cloud computing, cloud is just one of many disruptive technology trends that organizations are facing. HP offers a secure comprehensive portfolio for cloud computing from private and virtual private cloud, to public cloud and hybrid environments serving customers in both the private and public sector market segments.

To help clients address their concerns on cloud security, we establish a risk-based approach. First, we assess our client's risk tolerance profile, compliance requirements, operational requirements, organizational capabilities, and resources. We typically do this within HP Cloud and HP Security Discovery Workshops with the client. We then look to transform the client's environment.

To assist in that transformation process, HP Security Architects will help clients in developing a secure reference architecture. This provides a common set of the essential architectural design artifacts that can be tailored to fit the needs of a particular cloud delivery model. It also provides a checklist against which architects and engineers will be able to ensure that they have covered all the necessary security requirements in their design solution. Next, HP consultants implement secure application design and deployment practices and secure data management in the cloud. As I mentioned previously, security needs to be built into the infrastructure and applications early in the design cycle to reduce attack surfaces. Can you highlight any Cybersecurity process/methodologies HP follows?

Rob Wigley: For our U.S. Public Sector clients, HP routinely uses the NIST Special Publications (800 Series). There's an extensive list of documents developed collaboratively by the government, academic organizations, and the private sector that's available to the public. This ranges from very specific technical requirements and guidance on IT systems to strategic guidance at the organizational and business process level.

HP has developed an Enterprise Security Framework that encompasses end-to-end security. Our end-to-end approach incorporates the capabilities of HP ArcSight, Fortify and TippingPoint, along with our suite of Risk Management Consulting Services and Managed Security Services.

To support our clients with this framework, HP has developed a risk-based methodology: "Assess, Transform, Optimize, Manage" (or ATOM) that helps enable organizations reduce risk in a cost-effective manner. We Assess our client's risk tolerance profile, compliance requirements, operational requirements, organizational capabilities and resources. We then work to Transform our client's environment, structuring and prioritizing their security issues, and then undertaking remediation projects with them. Next, we Optimize and broaden our client's level of security awareness. We help them continually monitor their environment and proactively recommend operational and process improvements that can deliver an optimized security and risk posture. We also Manage the associated transformation programs required to deliver security in the most effective way for the enterprise. In this phase, we can also reduce cost by leveraging our worldwide security operations centers. Any final thoughts you'd like to share?

Rob Wigley: Cyber threats are real and growing, and most organizations are overwhelmed with the increasing risk to their business. When organizations adopt a comprehensive risk management program, they experience significant benefits in compliance achievement, reduced risk and better decision-making. Risk management is most effective when it's engrained within an organization's culture. The role of senior leaders must be to establish and emphasize the need for a strong risk management program. The failure to do so will pose a significant risk to organizational objectives.

This interview originally appeared in Republished with permission.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

News Desk compiles and publishes breaking news stories, press releases and latest news articles as they happen.

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