Preparing for Life in the Fast Lane

Last week I contributed to an ISSA-UK expert panel reviewing a recent UK Government report on plans for “Digital Britain“, the digital knowledge economy that will form the heart of our future economic development. It’s an important report which justifies a considered response. The next generation of digital networks will enable lightning fast transfers of information, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for large scale data theft and other types of cyber crime. Clearly, we need to ensure that the infrastructure and services contains appropriate safeguards but without introducing undue restrictions and expense.

Many interesting ideas were discussed on key areas such as education, children’s safety, rights management, cybercrime and incident response. I took away three main conclusions. Firstly, that we should aim to build in suitable management controls from the outset. Secondly, that where we need security standards, a “tiered” system (as used for the PCCI data security standard) is probably the best approach. And, thirdly, Get Safe Online seems to be the best focal point for consumer security advice, but needs to be considerably augmented with much more content and real-time support.            

As ever, the best analogy is with motoring. Just as motorways demand driving protocols, speed limits and traffic police, and fast cars need high performance brakes, so responsible use of very high speed digital services requires appropriate protocols, permissions and policing. The trick is to get the balance right to enable the fastest traffic flows with the minimum accidents.

By the way, anyone who’s interested in joining the ISSA UK Chapter, which I’d certainly recommend, should join now and take advantage of the current 90 day free membership. It’s an offer no security professional can refuse.