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Issue of October 2005 

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A knotty problem

To win by strategy is no less the role of a general than to win by arms.
— Julius Caesar

Security is by far the deepest cut of them all. No other aspect of infrastructure, IT or otherwise, has quite the same potential for damage and destruction if the set-up isn’t right. But maintaining the integrity of an IT infrastructure is easier said than done. It involves protecting the organisation against forces within and without. Those within are often deadlier. In the words of Lawrence Lief, Industrial Security Analyst, “Those you trust the most can steal the most.”

However, things have improved. Unlike in the past, more than 70 percent of the organisations that have invested or plan to invest in security have documented security policies. With the CEO and functional heads involved in framing the said policy, matters are definitely on the right track.

Naturally, it takes a strategist with a keen mind to put in place a shield of security around an organisation. In this issue we honour the winners of the SecureSynergy Security Strategist Award, CIOs who have excelled at implementing security—lock, policy and barrel.

The winners of this year’s awards are banking giant SBI, IT/ITES biggie Mphasis, and FMCG front runner HLL. With certified staff and approval from the board for the bank’s security policies, SBI’s Kumar has his work cut out for him. The sheer scale of the bank’s operations is daunting—9,300 branches, 1,60,000 users, 72,000 devices on the network.

At Mphasis, security is so stringent that employees going AWOL find their ID and access rights revoked after two days. The company doesn’t just have a security policy—it has an information security management system. Mphasis’ security concerns go beyond the walls of the organisation to industry-wide collaboration on the BPO industry employee database with Nasscom.

At HLL, information security is almost a decade old. Here the initiatives are led by business rather IT. Quarterly compliance monitoring, random audits, vulnerability analysis and patch management—it’s all part of the routine when it comes to security at the FMCG major. The company has a full-time security officer.

Every organisation has to find its own path when it comes to security. There’s no one golden path shining through. On this note, I give you the nominees and winners of this year’s Security Strategist Awards.

Prashant L Rao
Head of Editorial Operations

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