Telstra shakes up security

Australia's 600-pound telco Telstra is in the midst of its biggest security shake up in more than a decade, and is understood to have appointed a new group manager for security across the whole enterprise. It is also advertising for no fewer than 10 senior and executive security positions.

A Telstra spokesperson confirmed the shake-up describing the positions as "different" when asked if the positions were entirely new, or existing positions being readvertised.

"It's the result of a refocus of our security. We don't discuss security specifics within Telstra as a rule," the spokesman said, adding that Telstra's security functions "spread across a number of areas".

Asked when the decision had been made to shake up the telco's security, the spokesman said only "recently" and "fairly recently". The spokesman refused to comment on what is referred to in the advertisements as a "Security Strategy and Business Plan" but confirmed that applicants will be required to have high-level government security clearances.

Sources close to Telstra speculated that the shake up was likely to be the result of the recent departure of Telstra's group manager for security, David Harris. Harris' replacement is understood to be Sal Prna, formerly of Australia Post, however Computerworld has so far been unable to confirm this with either Telstra or the office of the Minister for Communications, Daryl Williams.

The positions advertised stretch across the breadth of Telstra. They include:

  • group manager for regulatory and agency liaison to oversee legal interception and warrant operations;
  • two information security advisers reporting directly to the group manager for security;
  • a manager of security strategy accountable for "developing, implementing and refreshing Telstra's plan to ensure there is appropriate focus on the management of security for Telstra's business units" and "change past behaviours and priorities";
  • a new internal communications position to drive security into the minds of Telstra's senior ranks;
  • four positions for corporate security risk managers, analysts and assessors, and
  • personnel and property security adviser.
Chairman of the influential information security interest group, Mark Ames, said that while he was not intimate with details the recent movements within Telstra, reshaping securities priorities and focus was not uncommon in the current climate and should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative.

"We've noticed a lot of major corporations re-examining their focus on security. It's good that corporations are keeping security relevant. It needs to be relevant," Ames said.

Last year Telstra was forced to publicly repudiate claims from the music industry that its premises had been the subject of piracy raids, a dispute since resolved by Telstra's signing contracts with several record companies to host paid music download services through its ISP BigPond.

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