September 02, 2009

Robert Garigue and Charlemagne as a model of infosec

Gunnar reports that someone called Robert Garigue died last month. This person I knew not, but his model resonates. Sound bites only from Gunnar's post:

"It's the End of the CISO As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"...

...First, they miss the opportunity to look at security as a business enabler. Dr. Garigue pointed out that because cars have brakes, we can drive faster. Security as a business enabler should absolutely be the starting point for enterprise information security programs.

Secondly, if your security model reflects some CYA abstraction of reality instead of reality itself your security model is flawed. I explored this endemic myopia...

This rhymes with: "what's your business model?" The bit lacking from most orientations is the enabler, why are we here in the first place? It's not to show the most elegant protocol for achieving C-I-A (confidentiality, integrity, authenticity), but to promote the business.

How do we do that? Well, most technologists don't understand the business, let alone can speak the language. And, the business folks can't speak the techno-crypto blah blah either, so the blame is fairly shared. Dr. Garigue points us to Charlemagne as a better model:

King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor; conqueror of the Lombards and Saxons (742-814) - reunited much of Europe after the Dark Ages.

He set up other schools, opening them to peasant boys as well as nobles. Charlemagne never stopped studying. He brought an English monk, Alcuin, and other scholars to his court - encouraging the development of a standard script.

He set up money standards to encourage commerce, tried to build a Rhine-Danube canal, and urged better farming methods. He especially worked to spread education and Christianity in every class of people.

He relied on Counts, Margraves and Missi Domini to help him.

Margraves - Guard the frontier districts of the empire. Margraves retained, within their own jurisdictions, the authority of dukes in the feudal arm of the empire.

Missi Domini - Messengers of the King.

In other words, the role of the security person is to enable others to learn, not to do, nor to critique, nor to design. In more specific terms, the goal is to bring the team to a better standard, and a better mix of security and business. Garigue's mandate for IT security?

Knowledge of risky things is of strategic value

How to know today tomorrow’s unknown ?

How to structure information security processes in an organization so as to identify and address the NEXT categories of risks ?

Curious, isn't it! But if we think about how reactive most security thinking is these days, one has to wonder where we would ever get the chance to fight tomorrow's war, today?

Posted by iang at September 2, 2009 10:45 PM | TrackBack

Just to clarify Robert Garigue died in 2007, the month before was from when the blog post went up.

I am glad you found the post and amplified the ideas, they are amazingly simple and powerful ideas that too few follow.

Posted by: Gunnar at September 2, 2009 05:54 PM
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