Fighting ‘cowboy IT:’ How companies can avoid cybersecurity challenges

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Editor’s note: CompTIA is a content partner of WRAL TechWire.

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Improving process maturity and avoiding so-called “cowboy IT” are keys to successful cybersecurity programs and at the center of an interactive presentation recently made by the chief technology evangelist for CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce.

Dr. James Stanger spoke at the annual event hosted by the Australian Information Security Association (AISA), a national leader in privacy, information and cybersecurity.

“With so many emerging and exponential technologies flooding the market and our perceptions, leaders need to foster and mature processes so that they can implement cutting-edge security analytics and tame the disconnect between operational technology and information technology,” Stanger said.

According to CompTIA’s State of Cybersecurity report, which includes data from Australia and New Zealand, half of all organizations surveyed said they made determining proper responses to cybersecurity incidents a higher priority this year compared to the previous year. And 44% of organizations said they are giving a greater focus on training and education for their teams now compared to last year.

In his presentation, “Incident Response: Beyond the Playbook and Table Talk,” Stanger shared valuable insights from his recent conversations with technologists and industry leaders around the world about today’s technology environment.

Stanger addressed emerging and exponential cyber technologies that should be capturing attention in 2024, how the best organizations clear the way for cybersecurity best practices to succeed, identifying the relationship between force multipliers and exponential technologies, and the best ways to address the intersection of human and technology interaction.

In a second talk at the same conference titled “Overcoming the IT/OT Disconnect: Stories from the Field,” Stanger discussed the critical issue of the divide between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT). As OT technology, including SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems, becomes intertwined with traditional and nontraditional IT technologies, the industry has been confronted with unprecedented cybersecurity issues.

“As Australia aims to be the one of the most cyber secure nations by 2030, it’s critical that public and private organizations invest in the nation’s workforce via comprehensive training programs and by spending the time and effort to prepare for attacks,” Stanger said.

Since 2021, CompTIA and a consortium of partners, including AustCyber, Accenture, Burning Glass Technologies and CyberCX, have been tracking the state of Australian’s local cyber security job market in real time and providing resources to close the talent gap in the sector. Employers and job seekers can access an interactive mapping tool that tracks jobs and job postings on the AUCyberExployer website.

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