No fear: McAfee security chief talks business

For security to get the financial backing that it deserves in the corporate budget, security managers need to stop the fear mongering and start making the business case.

That's according to security software vendor McAfee's own chief security officer, Martin Carmichael. "(As security managers) we're not effective in communicating the business message of security."

Carmichael added that managing risk in the enterprise should be accomplished through definitive planning, strategy and process, and not through fear-based arguments.

The McAfee CSO admits his role in McAfee gives him a "different perspective of McAfee than anyone else" in the company.

For starters, Carmichaels said he is essentially a customer of McAfee in that he uses some of the McAfee products in his day-to-day security management tasks. But even the McAfee products that he chooses to use usually go through the typical product evaluation prior to purchasing, even though his company actually makes the products, he said.

He admits, though, that while he uses many of McAfee's security tools, there have been instances where he had opted to use a different technology.

And that's typical among enterprise security managers, he said.

"There is no security officer in the world that is (running) one flavor of everything," said Carmichael, who also happens to be McAfee's chief privacy officer.

Carmichael runs all aspects of McAfee's security and risk management, including physical security, which he says should be ideally integrated with information or logical security.

Integration of the two can be challenging, however, especially if you have two parties that have traditionally functioned separately in the enterprise and have differing views about each other, he said.

"IT security thinks physical security is clear-cut and defined, while the physical security people think the IT guys get all the budget," Carmichael said.

He said the first thing he did at McAfee was to allow each party to get an understanding of what the other does, and then define how they can work together.

With digitization of the enterprise, physical security is increasingly dependent on the IT infrastructure (IP-based video surveillance or biometric-based access authentication, for instance) while physical security plays a big role in compliance and policy enforcement, explained Carmichael.

"It's all about how do we mitigate risks," he said, pointing out that while others may view security and privacy as two conflicting aspects of his role, he fails to see the contradiction.

Wearing his privacy chief hat, Carmichael said McAfee has checks and balances in place to ensure that security initiatives are not undermining privacy policies. He added that compliance requirements also make sure that the balance is there.

IDC analyst David Senf pointed out that despite the regulatory requirements enterprises are faced with, compliance is an aspect that seems to be under the radar for many firms.

Carmichael admits security vendors play a role in changing the way security and compliance is presented to the business. "It's not about, 'If you don't do this, you will die.' We have to focus on tangible arguments," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mari-Len De Guzman

ComputerWorld Canada
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?