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5/8/2014
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The Last Security Report You Need To Read

There's a glut of security reports that are essentially interchangeable year over year. Save time with this handy summary instead.

I saw a tweet the other day that said “No one cares about your annual security report.” (Thanks, @ecbanks!) It made me laugh because the creation of threat reports and security surveys has turned into a bit of a cottage industry. Hardly a month goes by without at least one vendor, consultant, or media company (including this one) rolling out the latest on the state of our insecurity.

I’ve read a lot of these reports. I’ve even helped write and edit a few. And as time goes by and reports pile up, it gets harder to distinguish one report from another, or even one year from another.

You might see a change of a few percentage points in the number of reported breaches, or a particular tactic might leap to the top of the attacker toolkit, but in aggregate, it’s hard to find anything really new.

This is not to say such reports don’t serve a purpose. The Internet and information technology are extraordinarily valuable to the economy and our lives, and the security problems that threaten that value are significant and often severe. It’s good that someone’s paying attention and keeping records.

But outside of a small community of security researchers and academics who might find interest in small fluctuations year over year, no one learns anything they didn’t already know.

Therefore, to save everyone some time, I’ve devised a summary of security trends that should be accurate from now until civilization collapses. If you need to share a report with an executive, just copy and paste this into a PDF, change the date once a year, and you’ll be good to go.

The 20XX Information Security & Internet Threat Report

Attacks: Up

Defenses: Inadequate

Breach costs: Pick a number. Any number

Vulnerabilities: Yup

Cloud: Not secure. But then again, neither are you

Mobility: A problem

PCI: Just kill yourself. Unless you’re a consultant

End users: A continual surprise

Attackers by geography: China; Russia; Brazil; Ft. Meade, MD; suburban basements in North America; your sales, engineering, and IT depts.

Security Budget: Flat

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio

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