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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?