Canberra on high alert for Security in Government

Parliament House, Canberra

By Staff Writers

Australia’s pre-eminent public sector security gathering is primed to attract record numbers of delegates from federal state and local agencies and industry in Canberra on Tuesday, as the annual Security in Government conference again sets out to tackle some of the most pressing issues challenging government.

Having started out as a distinctly humble gathering of agency security heads, the event has over the last decade progressively gathered grass roots momentum to become a fixture for the nation’s guardians to articulate their priorities in a frank and objective forum that is biased towards practical solutions as opposed over hype.

While this year’s conference has been somewhat enigmatically themed “Managing Risk in a Resource Constrained Environment” there is little doubt the core areas of focus for delegates and security practitioners will be the re-emergence of the what has become known as the ‘trusted insider’ threat that has come to vex the US administration in the wake of unauthorised disclosures from now convicted leaker Bradley Manning and errant contractor Edward Snowden.

The sheer volume of sensitive information exfiltrated by the pair, bookended by another high profile espionage incident in Canada, is certain to have minds focused on more effective ways to secure not only sensitive government and corporate information, but also systems and communications networks.

Government and industry delegates also have an added incentive to attend thanks to the new Protective Security Policy Framework coming into effect for most agencies from 1st August 2013, a shift that very persuasively moves the onus of responsibility from a ‘box-ticking’ compliance regime to a more rigorous and real-world assessment of risks that include business impact and reputational damage for both agencies and businesses.

As has become customary, the event will feature a closely watched update on Australia’s current security and intelligence operating environment from the head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, David Irvine AO, preceded by an address by Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

A briefing is also being provided by the Australian Signals Directorate (recently renamed from the Defence Signals Directorate) on changes to the Information Security Registered Assessor Program which has become a mainstay for helping to get products certified to government standards.

On the international side, the Program Manager of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security Division, Ed Rhyne, will provide delegates with an appraisal of technology transition and product evaluation in cyber completion environments – which Government News suspects sounds rather like hacking for the good guys.

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