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Why Security Should Embrace Disruptive Innovation — and Become Innovative In the Process

One of the more interesting things I get to do in my job is steer discussions with customers and within industry on the topic of innovation.  After all, the ‘I’ word is in my official title: Chief Architect, Security Innovation.  You don’t often see those two words utilized in union.

Specifically, I get my jollies discussing with folks up and down the stack how "Information Security" can and should embrace disruptive technology/innovation and actually become innovative in the process.

It’s all a matter of perspective — and clever management of how, what and why you do what you do…and as we’ve discovered, how you communicate that.

Innovation can simply be defined as people implementing new ideas to creatively solve problems and add value.  How you choose to define "value" really depends upon your goal and how you choose to measure the impact (or difference as some like to describe it) on the business you serve.  We don’t need to get into that debate for the moment, however.

Disruptive technology/innovation is a technology, product or service that ultimately overturns the dominant market leader, technology or product.  This sort of event can happen quickly or gradually and can be evolutionary or revolutionary in execution.  In many cases, the technology itself is not the disruptive catalyst, but rather the strategy, business model or marketing/messaging creates the disruptive impact.

It’s really an interesting topic and an important one at this period in time; we’ve got a rough patch to hoe in the "Information Security" world.  The perception of what we do and what value we add is again being called into question.  This is happening because while the business innovates to gain competitive advantage, we present bigger bills that suckle profit away from the bottom line without being viewed as contributing to the innovative process but rather strictly as a cost of doing business.

I’m delivering my keynote at the Information Security Decisions conference on this very topic. The focus of the presentation will demonstrate that how even with emerging disruptive innovations that have profound impact upon what we do such as SaaS, the consumerization of IT and virtualization, "Information Security" practitioners and managers can not only embrace these technologies in a prescribed and rational manner, but do so in a way that provides alignment to the business and turns disruptive technology into an opportunity rather than a curse.

If you’re in Chicago on November 5th at the ISD conference, come throw stuff at me…they’ve got a great cast of speakers queued up: Bruce Schneier, Howard Schmidt, Eugene Spafford, David Litchfield, Dave Dittrich, David Mortman, Stephen Bonner, Pete Lindstrom, and many more.  It’ll be a good conference.


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