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What is your business and what are the data risks?

To fully understand and appreciate the possible data threats and vulnerabilities that could impact business, it is important to develop an astute understanding of not only the customers' business, but the industry as well. Learn why it's important in this FAQ.

What is your business and its data risks?

About the Author
Dr. Paul Rohmeyer is a faculty member at Stevens Institute of Technology, an independent security consultant focusing on enterprise IT risk management, and a frequent speaker at security and audit industry events. He has advised numerous financial, telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies in the development of secure network architectures.

You need to develop an understanding of the customer's business and industry to gain an appreciation of the threats, vulnerabilities and business impacts that could result from network attacks and resulting service disruptions. While some aspects of technical risk are generic and apply to all networks, there are certainly aspects of each customer's business and risk profile that you should want to learn about to customize monitoring and analysis activities to best suit the customer. For example, banks and financial services organizations will be interested in monitoring attempts to access customer information.

The description of the business and related business risks should be rich and detailed, perhaps including summarization of actual incidents faced by the customer organization, or perhaps encountered by a similar company in the industry. The customer needs to appreciate the criticality of their information to their business in their industry.

Similarly, you will need to understand the nature of the data that is on the customer's network as well as basic network flow and activity characteristics. Simply put, you need to understand the type of data that is typically on the network and also gain insight into how the customer uses their network. Customer data in regulated industries such as healthcare and other highly sensitive data should be identified. Understanding the data types and common network flow aspects are essential to establishing an analysis framework and, therefore, the management platform.

Summarize the transaction environment to highlight the data with the highest level of business significance. Talk about the use of multimedia technologies including voice over IP (VoIP) to demonstrate the variety of protocols and your customer's reliance on the network.

This was last published in July 2008

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