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John Mc Loughlin

There has been an unprecedented surge in the number of information security breaches coming from inside companies, says J2 Software.

J2 Software managing director John Mc Loughlin says events across the globe over the past 18 months have forever changed corporate consciousness in the security landscape. Companies must urgently address the situation to protect their information assets and the privacy of their electronic identity, he says.

Mc Loughlin says as the complexity of data and ease of access keeps increasing, now more than ever, companies have a golden opportunity to push information security to the top of their agenda.

“ It is more important than ever to ensure that information is protected and risk is minimised, especially considering the ever-changing business environment. Information drives businesses and has become the lifeblood of modern organisations, without it they die.”

According to a number of recent studies, the ‘ Insider Threat’ has loomed to become the most feared information security risk in most organisations today. Regardless of the technologies and software solutions that an organisation may deploy to mitigate the risk of information security breaches, the critical factor is always people.

He says the only solution is to build information security into the DNA of the organisation and its employees.

Building information security into the DNA of any organisation is the key to achieving compliance and mitigating risk, but it also presents the biggest challenge, especially for large and complex organizations, says Mc Loughlin.

There must be a balance between business risk, business operations and business competitiveness. This also requires the organisation to use tools which are proactive as opposed to reactive.

The importance of the IT Security Policy document and how it is communicated and enforced is a crucial issue. Most of these documents are too bulky and unmanageable, making them likely to remain unknown and unnoticed. Keeping it ‘ live’ and relevant, while communicating the relevance throughout the organisation is the key to achieving the objectives of the document. This proves to be a difficult task, especially when even the authors of the policies can sometimes forget what it contains.

He notes there are examples where risk has been communicated, but has been purposely ignored when it is financially advantageous to do so. In these cases, the audit department ‘ red flag’ certain suspicious activity to management but is somehow ignored. Reluctance to escalate a known irregularity is highly likely if the irregularity is generating large sums of money.

‘ Compliance Fatigue’ can result from the constant updating and revision of regulatory compliance requirements.

All of these factors must be taken into account when considering the implementation of a long term Governance, Risk and Compliance strategy.

Driving down the cost of compliance is not only the key to competitive advantage, but also to compliance being taken seriously and becoming part of a cost effective executive risk management strategy, he says.

“ If compliance is too time consuming and complex it will be ignored or short cuts will be taken.”

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