IT departments need to become more integrated with other departments if businesses are to make effective decisions on managing risk and protecting their reputations, executives of leading companies heard last week.
The lines between IT, human resources, sales and marketing, finance and physical security are blurring, making it essential for IT departments to think about risk across their organisations, rather than working in silos, delegates at the Global Risk Management summit were told.
“Most IT people do not understand the business. If you ask them what the sales figures are, they will not know. They have to know these things as well. They must be seen as part of the business, not independent from it,” said Claudia Nathanson, chief security officer at global drinks company Diageo.
With IT increasingly underpinning physical security, marketing and human resources, it no longer made sense for IT directors and IT staff to work in isolation from other parts of the business, she said.
“We are seeing convergence. There is no barrier between physical security and information security. Companies are using encrypted laser beams to protect the building. CCTV cameras are running on IP networks,” she said. “If you are in marketing, you are starting to talk about digital marketing because everyone is selling on the internet.”
This means that IT directors need to think about the impact of their plans on the rest of the business, not just on their own departments. “It is difficult for IT directors to do ‘off the cuff’. You have to understand how you are going to bring in internal partnerships,” said Nathanson.
The Global Risk Management summit was organised by the Corporate Executive Programme, an initiative created to help businesses break down the barriers between IT and other parts of the organisation.