The IRMS – a new angle on information security and risk management

photo[1]I have recently returned from a conference that I might not have ordinarily attended or even been able to justify, namely the Information & Records Management Society (IRMS) conference in Brighton.

I had been invited to participate in a panel session on Monday morning entitled “Adapt or Die: Is Records Management still relevant in a World of Big Data” alongside Christian Toon (@christiantoon) and Phil Greenwood of Iron Mountain, and Sarah Norman of HM Treasury. Not only was it an excellent discussion, but it struck me quite how similar the challenges are between the IRM world and the risk management/CISO world.

We answered a question around how can the IRM folks avoid only getting funded and have attention paid to them after an emergency, and it immediately struck me that this is exactly what happens with security. Another related question concerned connecting effectively to the business and I was able to relate the tasks of the IRM function to the Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability (CIA) goals of the information security professional, and how the two goals are very similar.

Even the opening speech spoke about IBM’s Four V’s of big data (quoted), namely:

  • Volume: Enterprises are awash with ever-growing data of all types, easily amassing terabytes—even petabytes—of information.
  • Velocity: Sometimes 2 minutes is too late. For time-sensitive processes such as catching fraud, big data must be used as it streams into your enterprise in order to maximize its value.
  • Variety: Big data is any type of data – structured and unstructured data such as text, sensor data, audio, video, click streams, log files and more. New insights are found when analyzing these data types together.
  • Veracity: 1 in 3 business leaders don’t trust the information they use to make decisions. How can you act upon information if you don’t trust it? Establishing trust in big data presents a huge challenge as the variety and number of sources grows.

Isn’t this exactly the sort of thing that CISO’s have to grapple with every day?

The world of the IRMS and the world of the Infosec Professional are very closely related it seems, and I think this relationship is one that needs to be explored by both communities further to ensure mutual goals are more easily met.

Christian Toon and me looking rather spiffy

Christian Toon and me looking rather spiffy

On a personal side I had a great time speaking with the vendors, watching a few presentations and taking part in the pub quiz (we didn’t win..). There was even a black tie gala dinner on Monday that was an absolute blast that culminated in my friend, Christian Toon, being awarded a fellowship of the IRMS which was just fantastic to to be able to see.

I am sincerely hoping to go to next years event, and perhaps hoping even more that by then the argument to attend will be much easier as our industries begin to forge closer ties.

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