Security

Cybersecurity is slowing down my business, say majority of chief execs

And Cisco reckons plenty of security bods will be in another job in five years

Cisco Live Chief execs polled in a major survey have little time for their cybersecurity folk and believe complying with security regulations hampers business.

Some 71 per cent of 1,000 top bosses surveyed by Cisco feel that efforts to shore up IT defences slows the pace of commerce. The study is due to be published next month.

Big cheeses cheesed off with security staff getting in the way of profit may well rid themselves of their troublesome priests, though: Craig Williams, senior technical leader at Cisco's security biz Talos, believes quite a few bods working in computer security will not be in the sector in the next five years.

And that's because, we're told, the nature of the job will change dramatically and not everyone will want to get onboard.

"A large percentage of the engineers out there will probably be doing something else," Williams said at Cisco Live in Berlin this week. "I think security has moved away from being something that involves configuring a firewall to something that is more data and analytic driven. I think a lot of [workers] will make the shift but a lot of them won’t."

He added: "If you don’t like constantly learning about security, you are probably in the wrong business."

Adam Philpott, director of cybersecurity at Cisco EMEA, agreed the types of security jobs are changing. He said there will be a shift to greater automation in areas such as provisioning employees' mobile phones.

"That is something we can do automatically these days and free people up to do more intellectual activities, so to speak," he said.

There's also the matter of securing the Internet of Things; so many gadgets in this space have been found laced with vulnerabilities and poor cryptography. Philpott said these security flaws are due to developers facing commercial pressures in getting their products on the shelves as soon as possible, causing them to cut corners or make mistakes in a rush. "This is a really rapid market," he said. "The time to market is getting faster not slower."

Cisco's security wing is worth around $2bn, we're told, and has been fuelled by many recent acquisitions. Philpott said the company will "certainly" be making more.

Of its own recently reported security flaws, such as asking service providers using its Universal Small Cell kit to install a patch, Philpott said: "Nothing is ever produced 100 per cent secure. We will continue to have vulnerabilities, but we will always be very transparent about how we deal with them." ®

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