RSA Europe: Innovation is the way out of the ‘economic hole’

Innovation is the best hope for businesses to escape the economic downturn, according to RSA president Art Coviello, speaking at the opening keynote of RSA Europe 2008 in London.

However, he said that organisations may shrink back from innovation, either out of the fear of failure or from the weight of regulations due to the climate of fear created by numerous data loss incidents in the past year.

Coviello said that many experts believed that the way out of the economic crisis was innovation even before the current market turmoil. He quoted a Business Week article which said that business leaders and economists across the political spectrum saw innovation as the way out of the "economic hole."

"New products, services, and ways of doing business are our best hope for restoring economic prosperity," Coveillo said.

Coveillo called on businesses, policy makers and vendors to protect future innovation by making sure that security was implemented on all levels, mitigating risk.

He said that many businesses were still "bolting on" security rather than making it part of the infrastructure. "One part of the problems is that many organisations use old rules. Closely monitoring the perimeters while failing to protect the information itself."

With policy makers he advised that sometimes regulations could be taken to the extreme and actually weakens businesses to spend money on "perceived" but not "genuine" threats.

Coveillo said that more suitable regulations were those which put the responsibility back to the institutions so they used their own judgement to get things right.

He said: "I do think the UK took the right approach when it provided new authority for the Information Commissioner's office to impose heavier penalties on organisations that deliberately and recklessly violated the data protection act."

Finally he advised vendors that they needed to implement new technologies that could understand information and safeguard intelligently, instead of tools which blindly locked down data.

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