Everything I Know About Security, I Learned From Barack Obama

I bet you didn't know that Barack Obama was a cyber security expert.

The popular American President has been many things throughout an impressive career: community leader, best-selling author, political machine. And on further analysis of some of his statements he's made over the years, it's clear that he's got network security and online protection for business on the brain. To demonstrate:

"Effective international police actions require the highest degree of intelligence sharing, planning and collaborative enforcement."

Obama recognizes that if we're going to take out the cyber criminals, we're going to have to take out their sanctuaries.

On a local level, this means ensuring that our own systems and those of our business partners are covered by a range of security measures we've often talked about in Cyber Security Informer: network security audits, regular web code reviews,  professional firewall configuration, patching and updating of systems and all of the other little things tha companies big and small must do. The bad guys mustn't be allowed to operate from our own territory.

He's also talking about the international situation. Hackers and phishers can operate from certain countries far away from North America without fear of getting caught, much less getting punished. Really sticking it to the bad guys will require an unprecedented level of international cooperation and knowledge sharing. In the short term, it seems unlikely. But leave it to an American President to make grandiose statements about taking down the cyber-terrorists.

"Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference."

Obama has clearly been in on more than a few IT department budget meetings. When it comes to protecting your customers' information, throwing money at a problem isn't necessarily the best option.

But some elements of effective security do cost money. A professional Network Security Assessment or Web Security Assessment that helps you keep your vulnerabilities locked down isn't free. But the judgement companies investing in security have to make is that this budget outlay will help protect the company's revenue stream and also avoid the cost of a data security breach; typically many times the cost of proactive security.

A stimulus package for security can help your company's economy in the long run.

"I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV. If you're headed for a cliff, you have to change direction."

Obama is making a point here about the difference between the technology you choose and the processes you have in place for protecting your customers' information, avoiding the cliff-diving disaster of a data breach.