The next skills shortage in IT -- if it is not happening already -- will be in information security.
"We continue to see a revolution in information management, the need for additional security not only in traditional information systems," says Eddie Schwartz, chief security officer of RSA. "Traditionally, security officers only have to worry about the security of information on classical networks - whether it is mainframe or documents, or email," says Schwartz. "But now, we have to think about as well about a network that would include toasters and automobiles and medical devices and smart grid devices." "There are all kinds of devices that want to connect the internet," says Schwartz. "The 'internet of things' are about all kinds of devices that are not traditionally computers and would collaborate and connect to the internet in ways that we never imagined." Analysts have predicted that by 2020, these connected devices can reach tens of billions and perhaps as many as 200 billion objects. The 'internet of things' is already here, says Schwartz. "If you think about it, within your own house, you have DVD and Blue Ray players that connect to the internet. You have TVs at home that are smart enabled." He expects the trend to continue with the coming of IPV6 and the availability of more IP addresses. "Everything is going to be internet enabled, you may walk around with 30 IP addresses on your body at some point." "Where it gets interesting, however, is there are 'things' on the internet that could impact our lives in a negative way if the adversaries would abuse them," he says. "Imagine if we find a world where everyone is wearing eyeglasses that are internet-enabled and they are relying on this for critical information, and this information is corrupted or there is misinformation provided to these glasses." The new security skills, therefore, will require knowledge of law enforcement, and the ability to take large amounts of data and look for outliers." Top three disruptorsTom Corn, chief strategy officer at RSA, outlines the top three disruptive trends affecting the security skills required in networked organisations. Two of them -- mobility and cloud -- relate to change in infrastructure, says Corn. "We are being faced by securing things we don't own, manage or control." A sales representative, for instance, connects to Salesforce on a device not managed by the network. "It is changing the role of IT, and affecting the role of security because you are dealing with things you don't know." The third major disruptor, he says, is the change in attack models. There is a difference in stopping a missile coming over the border, to espionage. "It changes the nature of the investigation, it is not about, how do I correlate alerts from my firewalls and intrusion systems that are optimised for a missile coming over the wall?" "The skill sets are less about operationalising firewalls or reporting. You need to have knowledge of hardcore investigations, and the ability to do that across infrastructures." Investigations will focus on a range of questions covering different types of data -- unstructured, structured and historical. "Show me suspicious traffic that looks like a command and control traffic, show me odd transactions and if you do, tell me about the systems processing these transactions. Tell me about the traffic going in an out of it, it is going to places it doesn't normally go? Is it sending weird traffic patterns between that and some external locations? "Tell me about the people in those servers, about the setup of the servers.Did someone mess with the configuration recently? Tell me about the end points that are connecting to them, is there something odd about the applications they are running outside those endpoints? Tell me about all the other places where I see that behaviour. "What I have just described is a big data analytics project," he says. The nature of security investigations required is going to drive big changes in the technology and total skills sets, says Corn. Some of them can be addressed by in-house training, some by security services, and by increasingly automating higher order functions.
Feedback to @divinap and firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.