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When More Security is not Better Security

Tyson Moler
Regional Vice President, Oracle Public Sector Security and Systems Management

Do we need more security technology?

Considering the multitude of industry reports that find we are overburdened with alerts, it’s apparent that we do not have enough security professionals available to fill our needs. Moreover, the “dwell time” (the time period when a hacker or malware has infiltrated an environment prior to detection)   is critically high.   Yet we see tremendous investment in cybersecurity technology and services vendors, both start-up and integrated acquisition plays.  And, our vulnerability and the potential damage still increases because the most significant weaknesses are often a result of a basic lack of current maintenance and upgrades to infrastructure.

Think of security technology like protecting your home. You might know a neighbor who spent a bundle on every kind of surveillance product available.  But, he never bothered to fix that faulty lock on the patio door.  The result?  His smartphone displayed a high-def video of an intruder breaking in and nabbing electronics, jewelry, and the keys to the car that does not seem to be in the garage anymore, and no one was the wiser.

More security is not necessarily better protection.

In my role at Oracle, I advise both public sector and commercial customers, and witness the range of sophistication in security operations.  For example, a large global consumer  goods company has embraced security so strategically that they have acquired cybersecurity companies in order to help ensure that their manufacturing and distribution processes are not disrupted.

On the other hand, others can be immobilized by the rote and time-consuming work of patching and other administrative tasks.  I remember when a state-level CISO and security architect together slowed down a project because, they explained, “if we identify risks, we will have to do something about them.”  These security leaders were not trying to avoid hard work; instead, they were focused on prioritizing the basics – patching and upgrades of critical infrastructure.  Although they could have done more with sophisticated security tools, they were simply overwhelmed with basic administration.

Numerous municipalities have been attacked with ransomware over the last few years.  These organizations are often understaffed and working to maintain antiquated systems.  While only 3.4% of targeted attacks, public sector organizations pay 10 times the average ransom to retrieve their data.  The U.S .Conference of Mayors recently passed a resolution to not pay cyber ransoms in an effort to dissuade attackers.  However, without modernization of their IT services, they will continue to be highly vulnerable targets. 

This past weekend, a coordinated ransomware attack targeted 23 local governments in Texas, indicating a possible escalation of cyber attacks on local government.

With limited state and local resources, cybersecurity strategy and spending must be balanced with broader IT modernization efforts to deliver greater service to citizens and business.  IT vendors must deliver technology solutions that enable our public sector customers, as well as private sector, to maximize their security posture through modernization, and Oracle is doing this in a number of ways:

  • Autonomous cloud services that are self-driving, self-securing, and self-repairing.  Oracle’s autonomous services utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to patch, upgrade, and tune without human intervention, helping to keep  our customers’ IT environments secure while enabling IT staff to modernize their services.
  • Oracle Cloud runs on our next-generation infrastructure that offers superior performance, availability, and manageability.  We offer service level commitments across these three metrics, a must for mission critical services.  We could not commit to these service levels without a highly secure architecture and controls.
  • Moving workloads with confidence to an enterprise-grade cloud enables our customers to modernize without complicated architectures.

Security is fundamental to the Oracle cloud strategy, enabling our customers to focus on modernization rather than maintenance and administration.   This strategy provides greater protection of users and data without greater security investment, and reduces the complexity of IT environments.  We believe this will lead to efficient, innovative, and broader services from public and private sector, alike.

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