However, that same company struggles with its own IT infrastructure. It had to hire a dozen people whose skills had nothing to do with data science, who worked on the PCs, networks, security, regulatory compliance, operational risk management, and more. It’s notable to point out that the company is devoted to using Cloud infrastructure as much as possible and it still has to invest heavily in “traditional IT” components, like servers, cabling, data centers, and so forth. The cost and complexity of IT is clearly a distraction to this young company. However, the executives know that if they don’t put their IT and security ducks in a row, the North Koreans will simply take up residence in those fancy new servers.

Skroupa: Will cloud computing, big data analytics and the Internet of Things improve security dramatically, or will they give hackers the advantage?

Hunt: Businesses keep connecting things. In the 1990s our monolithic security perimeters – firewalls – locked out the rest of the world and protected our corporate network fiefdoms. But not for long. Firewall makers quickly had to satisfy customers who needed to connect their protected networks to business partners, customers. The interconnections kept coming and for many years pundits have proclaimed that there is no perimeter, there is no privacy. Today, businesses connect to partners & customers, and also to marketing and media outlets, social media, supply chains, and much more. The Internet of Things simply extends those connections to the heavy equipment in the manufacturing plant, the medical devices in the hospital, the sensors on cars and airplanes and locomotives. From now on, business can and will connect to anything.

Those connections are not just for kicks. Connections share data. Data, once organized, becomes information. Information that is usable or actionable is called intelligence. Every system around us, from a weather station to a cell phone tower, to the video analytics that track shopper behavior in the aisles – all of it grows business intelligence.

Here is where it gets messy. Intelligence is valuable. Not only to the businesses collecting and acting on it, but also to bad actors who want to steal or corrupt it. When it comes to big data, the value is too great to ignore – by good guys and bad guys equally. That is why I tell my clients that risks will always grow and always seem a little scary, but not to fear, because every risk is manageable.


On October 22, 2015, Skytop Strategies will present, “Cyber Security: Emerging Best Practices in Breach Response and Mitigation Strategies” hosted by Edelman at the Chicago office. Continue the discussion with Steve Hunt and chief information security officers, IT security engineers and information assurance analysts at this full-day conference, designed to explore operational strategies that minimize disruptions from a cyber breach. To inquire about attending, contact Jon Scorcia at