How secure is your perimeter?

By Elaine Mah
Corporate IT policies blocking certain websites, collaboration tools or personal devices are not uncommon. As you might imagine, Intel takes its security seriously, but the following facts may surprise you:

• 44% of employee handhelds connected to the Intel network are personal devices;
• Any Intel employee, regardless of role, who expresses an interest in social media can engage in online conversations or blogs;
• All Intel employee PCs are issued with administrator privileges enabled;
• 100% of Intel employees complete mandatory annual security training.

What’s the common thread here? I would suggest it's Malcolm Harkins, Intel’s Chief Information Security Officer, and his maxim: “people are the new perimeter.” It’s a powerful statement because it acknowledges the human element in practices more often handled purely from a technology point of view.
What Malcolm and his team recognized was that no matter how hard you try to lock down the system to minimize risk, any individual with enough drive or persistence will find a way through. Worse than that, you may not even realize there is a breach or where it has occurred. So why not approach security from the behavioural side? Through the mandatory training, make it clear to everyone where risks exist, what they look like, the potential impact to the company, and how to avoid them. And in the case of social media, be transparent with expectations and guidelines.
The challenges facing businesses will only get more difficult as new tools and disruptive technologies (hello, tablet PCs!) continue to emerge. It would be foolhardy and shortsighted if the de facto response was to block and reject anything new. We’re doing business at a time when information sharing, collaboration and portability are critical factors that help to drive innovation and competitive advantage. Or in Malcolm’s words, “you may slow things or temporarily reduce risk by attempting to block the use, but you will miss the opportunity to shape the risk by engaging it.”
How does your corporate IT policy deal with personal devices or social media? Please share your thoughts with us!

Elaine Mah joined Intel Canada in 2005 as Canadian Business Marketing Manager. She is responsible for Intel’s brand management, product positioning, product launch management and marketing research, as well as sales and integrated marketing communications, advertising and promotional campaigns designed to reach Canadian business customers. Prior to assuming this position, Elaine was Vice President at Sharpe Blackmore Euro RSCG, where she was responsible for planning and strategy on accounts including Direct Energy, Volvo, and Yahoo!, along with new business development. A marketing professional for over 20 years, Elaine received her Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta.

By Adam

April 11, 2011