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What does the financial meltdown mean for security?

Bill Brenner | Sept. 29, 2008
There's something about using a crisis to drum up a little business that leaves me cold every time.

And in his blog, StillSecure Chief Strategy Officer Alan Shimel writes about the potential impact of the financial meltdown on security vendors:

"On one hand, under the present conditions, the financial sector - long a foundational vertical for just about every security vendor - will not have a lot of spare cash for IT in general and I am sure security in particular," he writes. "It will be rough sledding trying to convince financial firms that now is a great time to invest money in the latest security technologies. On the other hand, new regulations and oversight could lead to more compliance."

Who can argue that Sarbanes-Oxley did not boost security spending, he asks, suggesting that by the same measure, any new regulation of the industry should have a corresponding element of security and data integrity as part of it.

"Overall, the security industry will make out better than many other IT sectors," he concludes. "This meltdown is going to reshape not only Wall Street but Main Street as well. But in the end there will still be storefronts selling IT security."

That may well be the case. Time will tell.

Those in the PR world need to be careful about the pitches they make, because stirring the FUD well will only make things worse. There's something about using a crisis to drum up a little business that leaves me cold every time.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be taking a look at what the security impact of all this might be down the road. To think these things through now puts us in a better position to maintain the right amount of security later. All I'm saying is that we should be mulling these things over calmly and reasonably, as Shimel does in his blog posting.

Whatever happens with this government takeover of Wall Street, there will always be ways to keep security afloat even if the investment dollars dry up. For some examples, I direct you to our recent series on how to ensure security during a recession:

Remember, cooler heads - armed with balanced information - will prevail.

About FUD Watch: Senior Editor Bill Brenner scours the Internet in search of FUD - overhyped security threats that ultimately have little impact on a CSO's daily routine. The goal: help security decision makers separate the hot air from genuine action items. To point us toward the industry's most egregious FUD, send an e-mail to


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