Charles Leaver – Manage Your Environment Properly Or Suffer Security Problems And Vice Versa

Written by Charles Leaver Ziften CEO


If your business computing environment is not correctly managed there is no chance that it can be totally protected. And you can’t efficiently manage those complex business systems unless there’s a strong feeling that they are protected.

Some might call this a chicken-and-egg situation, where you have no idea where to begin. Should you begin with security? Or should you start with the management of your system? That’s the incorrect technique. Consider this instead like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: It’s not chocolate first. It’s not peanut butter initially. Instead, both are mixed together – and treated as a single scrumptious treat.

Many organizations, I would argue a lot of organizations, are structured with an IT management department reporting to a CIO, and with a security management group reporting to a CISO. The CIO group and the CISO group do not know each other, speak to each other just when absolutely essential, have unique budget plans, definitely have separate concerns, check out different reports, and make use of various management platforms. On a day-to-day basis, what makes up a job, an issue or an alert for one team flies completely under the other team’s radar.

That’s bad, because both the IT and security groups need to make assumptions. The IT team believes that everything is secure, unless someone notifies them otherwise. For instance, they assume that devices and applications have not been jeopardized, users have actually not intensified their privileges, and so-on. Likewise, the security team assumes that the servers, desktops, and mobiles are working properly, operating systems and applications fully updated, patches have been used, and so on

Since the CIO and CISO teams aren’t talking with each other, do not comprehend each others’ functions and priorities, and aren’t using the exact same tools, those assumptions might not be appropriate.

And again, you cannot have a secure environment unless that environment is properly managed – and you cannot manage that environment unless it’s protected. Or to put it another way: An unsecure environment makes anything you do in the IT organization suspect and irrelevant, and indicates that you can’t know whether the details you are seeing are correct or manipulated. It may all be phony news.

How to Bridge the IT / Security Space

The best ways to bridge that gap? It sounds easy however it can be challenging: Make sure that there is an umbrella covering both the IT and security teams. Both IT and security report to the very same individual or organization somewhere. It might be the CIO, it might be the CFO, it might be the CEO. For the sake of argument here, let’s say it’s the CFO.

If the business doesn’t have a secure environment, and there’s a breach, the value of the brand and the company can be reduced to nothing. Similarly, if the users, devices, infrastructure, application, and data aren’t well-managed, the business cannot work efficiently, and the value drops. As we have actually talked about, if it’s not well managed, it can’t be secured, and if it’s not protected, it cannot be well handled.

The fiduciary responsibility of senior executives (like the CFO) is to secure the worth of organizational assets, and that indicates making sure IT and security talk to each other, comprehend each other’s priorities, and if possible, can see the same reports and data – filtered and shown to be significant to their specific areas of duty.

That’s the thinking that we adopted with the design of our Zenith platform. It’s not a security management tool with IT capabilities, and it’s not an IT management tool with security abilities. No, it’s a Peanut Butter Cup, created similarly around chocolate and peanut butter. To be less confectionery, Zenith is an umbrella that gives IT teams exactly what they need to do their jobs, and gives security groups what they require as well – without coverage spaces that might undermine assumptions about the state of enterprise security and IT management.

We need to guarantee that our organization’s IT infrastructure is developed on a safe and secure structure – and that our security is executed on a well managed base of hardware, infrastructure, software applications and users. We can’t run at peak performance, and with full fiduciary duty, otherwise.