Come January 2015, gyms across the country will be crowded with an untold number of people with a renewed commitment to physical fitness. By March the crowds will be getting back to normal and a month or two after that everything will be back to normal. This cycle is similar to what companies go through after a security breach. Initially, it will rain resources and things that have been requested and denied for years will suddenly be approved quickly, too quickly to actually be implemented effectively. Eventually, the business will grow tired of the dire warnings from security and assume that security is “fixed” and the pendulum will swing back to “normal”.
It doesn’t have to be this way and in fact, in some companies, it isn’t. The reason this cycle exists is because of the lack of two things: long term planning and metrics to measure security effectiveness. Breaches cause companies to focus on immediately “losing that extra 15lbs” rather than creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that is measured by more than just your waistline. After a breach, the focus is on buying specific tools to address the threat you just experienced rather than creating and maintaining a long term strategy for dealing with a security risk that is measured by more than just the purchase of point solutions.
So in 2015, I’d invite you to decide if you want to lose weight or get healthy. To start with, get a baseline of your current security program, a real baseline that can be mapped to a multi-year strategy. Done correctly assessments are hard work and are as much about communicating gaps and risk as they are a communication tool with which you can engage your business. The follow-through on a good assessment will enable you to both shed that extra 15lbs and address the long term health of your security posture.