‘Tis the season for egg nog and annual internet threat reports. In recent weeks McAfee, MessageLabs and Cisco, among others, have each released their readings of the threat environment facing both business and home users during 2009. Rather than letting these reports ring-in a flurry of fear, uncertainty and doubt, here are a few strategies to maximize the value you can derive from them.
Eric Ogren, from the Ogren Group, starts his review of 2009 reports on searchsecurity.com with a reminder that these documents are, at their core, “vendor marketing documents.” In other words, what the vendor highlights will speak most strongly to their core business. His primary recommendation to circumvent vendor tunnel vision is to read multiple vendor reports to gain the most complete picture of the threat environment.
Another recommendation is to maximize value from these reports by taking them from a review of the past to a call to action for the coming year. While the threat landscape is always changing, using the major vulnerabilities from the past year is as valuable as a reality check. Reading the report enables you to develop a checklist on what has already been accomplished by your team, what still needs to be done – and it also helps in developing guidelines to justify upcoming budget requests.
Finally, reports can also be a company-wide education, tool. While IT security teams should be reading the entire report as part of their year-end activities, the rest of the company will undoubtedly benefit from a series of snapshots of the most salient user-focused recommendations from the reports. Collaborating with your internal communications colleagues to develop a “New Years’ Best Practices campaign” is a good way to get this initiative rolling.
Annual Threat Reports from BT’s partners can be downloaded here:
Pete Russo, Senior Marketing Manager, BT Global Services