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Security-as-a-Service: IT's dark knight?

Joe Lipscombe | Aug. 14, 2013
As hackers and attackers wreak havoc on the industry, businesses have been looking for a watchful protector to secure their assets.


When corruption and chaos began to tear Gotham apart, the city turned to one of its own for protection. As Batman got stronger, so too did the enemy, and the fight raged on until near destruction point. IT has found itself in a similar position — as hackers and attackers wreak havoc on the industry, businesses have been looking for a watchful protector to secure their assets. Is security-as-a-service the IT industry's Dark Knight? 

Okay, so comparing the IT industry to the Batman series may seem a little odd, but consider the aspects. In Christopher Nolan's 2005 adaptation of the Batman comics, Batman Begins, Jim Gordon says that Bruce Wayne's benevolent Batman alter-ego has really started something among the criminals in Gotham. Gordon explains that the more sophisticated the weapons get and the more intimidating the defence becomes, the villains always go one better. This can be likened to the IT industry, which has seen heavy fire in recent years as hackers and cyber-criminals continue to find new and ever more devastating ways to infiltrate businesses electronically. Attempts to quash these attacks and curb the risks have been costly and time consuming, and it appears as though they haven't always been successful.

Look back to Saudi Aramco, one of the largest companies in the world, and victim of a cyber-attack so fierce that it stands as the ultimate reference in today's security handbook. In Nolan's 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent explains to the people of Gotham that the night is darkest just before the dawn, and that the dawn is coming. Is that dawn for the IT industry an externally managed security model?

Many areas of IT are leaning toward offerings as a service, freeing up space, cost, time, and manpower. Security-as-a-service (SaaS) is certainly no different. However, unlike other hosted services, security poses many risks.

Hani Nofal, Director of Intelligent Network Solutions, GBM, claims that the region is seeing a more sophisticated threat on industries.

"The evolution of the security landscape in the Middle East over the past 12 to 18 months will have a significant impact on how consumers will accept SaaS. The security challenges have evolved in the region due to the technological advancement, which has increased the complexity of cyber-attacks," he says.

"Protecting organisations requires a diverse set of security expertise. Recruiting and retaining experts in operational roles is not easy due to skill shortages and the perception that the assignments may not be challenging enough. SaaS-based services help to overcome these challenges through the use of automation and cloud, with additional benefits of lower costs, flexible deployments and innovation," says Lucius Lobo CISSP, Vice President Security Services, Tech Mahindra.


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