Balancing security with the demands of business

Security executives discuss trends impacting the industry at The Great Conversation

With the continued convergence of IT with physical security, Trittschuh said he also believes that the environment is changing for CSOs in how they work with their counterparts in the IT department. Rather than just focusing on managing bandwidth for IP cameras, he said that CSOs are going to have to work with their company’s IT leadership to deliver complete solutions in the future.

Government’s role is fostering public-private partnerships

Since 9/11, the federal government has taken an increased role in the protection of the country’s critical infrastructure assets. While the recent sniper attack at a power substation in California has brought attention back to the threat of terrorists being able to cripple access to vital services like electricity, Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said the challenges facing the operators of critical infrastructure are vast.

Durkovich, who delivered the afternoon keynote address, said that extreme weather and climate change are posing a greater risk to a variety of critical infrastructure sites as the intensity of storms that were once relatively low have become stronger. She also pointed out that much of the nation’s infrastructure is aging and that the demands modern day society is placing upon things like water delivery systems have far surpassed what their original builders could have imagined.   

Last but certainly not least is the threat of cyberattack against any one of the nation’s critical infrastructure sites that could significantly disrupt the delivery of essential services. Through executive order, President Barack Obama last year directed the DHS to rewrite the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and also create a baseline framework to encourage the creation and voluntary adoption of cybersecurity best practices among operators of critical infrastructure assets.

Durkovich said the ultimate goal of DHS is develop and foster relationships with partners in the private sector to help them mitigate their risks – be it through conducting threat assessments or sharing information. “You’re only resilient as your weakest link,” she said.