Security Awareness Training and the Shifting IT Landscape

IT is witnessing a wide veering from management of large, enterprise assets under strict control to atomized endpoints in the hands of people. What does that mean for the future of information security professionals? Well, for starters, it means that IT kingdoms are contracting faster than the Roman Empire at the time of the fall. And that means big changes ahead for the IT department’s core value proposition.
According to Gartner, by 2017 the Chief Marketing Officer will spend more on IT than the CIO. Much of it “Shadow IT”—business processes not under the auspices of a centralized IT department. In other words, information technology not developed or sourced by the IT department.
At the same time, we’re seeing increasingly sophisticated regulatory expansions—to say nothing of ever-evolving threats—that are elevating the visibility of an organization’s information systems even more. That’s an inconvenient convergence of two unstoppable trends. You can already hear that giant crunching sound.
These developments alone will force an evolution of the IT department to shift its primary focus from technology to the management, education, and control of people in whose hands the technology now resides. Consequently, training these multitudes in the ways of security awareness will become Job One. In their new role, IT professionals will need to develop new skills as internal consultants, working to guide and manage directions and stakeholder relationships so that business and technology can be leveraged to the greatest advantage and the least possible risk. They’ll need to understand new models for equipping and enabling people to do their jobs effectively, efficiently—and securely.
Fortunately, moving out of the shadows and into the light of day is as easy and inexpensive as it is essential. Security awareness training—designed and delivered according to proven behavior-changing principles—will increasingly prove to be the IT professional’s most powerful, valuable—and crunch-avoiding—tool. Your old kingdom might be slipping away, but your newfound influence and retooled value proposition are clearly on a rapid and vital trajectory.

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