CSOs creating cultural change

Friday, 25 July 2003, 10:45 AM EST

The convergence of physical and IT security is driving the appointment of chief security officers (CSOs) within the enterprise, a new title that is creating cultural change, the senior cybersecurity consultant at Pinkerton Australia Pty. Ltd., Atif Ahmad, said.

Speaking at the Australian Security Industry Association conference in Sydney, Ahmad said some organizations are struggling with the appointment of a CSO because the skills required for the job cover a broad spectrum of both physical and IT security, as well as an understanding of risk management and strong business skills.

For some companies, he said, it's a bit awkward appointing the IT manager as CSO because the individual lacks physical security experience, so the company instead hires someone outside the organization.

In the past, Ahmad said, there was a fundamental separation of IT and physical security with separate budgets, resources, personnel and skill sets.

"As an example, each door has an access control point and whoever had a key had access, which was authentication by possession," he said. It has moved on now to authentication by knowledge using PIN numbers or combination pads.

"And now IT has added authentication by characteristic with a swipe card."

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