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Rich Mogull, Analyst & CEO

Rich has twenty years experience in information security, physical security, and risk management. He specializes in data security, application security, emerging security technologies, and security management. Prior to founding Securosis, Rich was a Research Vice President at Gartner on the security team where he also served as research co-chair for the Gartner Security Summit. Prior to his seven years at Gartner, Rich worked as an independent consultant, web application developer, software development manager at the University of Colorado, and systems and network administrator. Rich is the Security Editor of TidBITS, a monthly columnist for Dark Reading, and a frequent contributor to publications ranging from Information Security Magazine to Macworld. He is a frequent industry speaker at events including the RSA Security Conference and DefCon, and has spoken on every continent except Antarctica (where he’s happy to speak for free – assuming travel is covered).

Prior to his technology career, Rich also worked as a security director for major events such as football games and concerts. He was a bouncer at the age of 19, weighing about 135 lbs (wet). Rich has worked or volunteered as a paramedic, firefighter, and ski patroller at a major resort (on a snowboard); and spent over a decade with Rocky Mountain Rescue. He currently serves as a responder on a federal disaster medicine and terrorism response team, where he mostly drives a truck and lifts heavy objects. He has a black belt, but does not play golf. Rich can be reached at rmogull (at) securosis (dot) com.

Tidal Forces: Software as a Service Is the New Back Office

By Rich
TL;DR: SaaS enables Zero Trust networks with pervasive encryption and access. Box vendors lose once again. It no longer makes sense to run your own mail server in your data center. Or file servers. Or a very long list of enterprise applications. Unless you are on a very very short list of organizations. Running enterprise applications in an enterprise data center is simply an anachronism in progress. A quick peek at the balance sheets of the top tier Software as a Service providers shows the transition to SaaS continues unabated. Buying and maintaining enterprise applications, such as mail servers,

Tidal Forces: Endpoints Are Different—More Secure, and Less Open

By Rich
This is the second post in the Tidal Forces series. The introduction is available.. Computers aren’t computers any more. Call it a personal computer. A laptop, desktop, workstation, PC, or Mac. Whatever configuration we’re dealing with, and whatever we call it, much of the practice of information security focuses on keeping the devices we place in our users’ hands safe. They are the boon and bane of information technology – forcing us to find a delicate balance between safety, security, compliance, and productivity. Lock them down too much and people can’t get things done – they will find an

Tidal Forces: The Trends Tearing Apart Security As We Know It

By Rich
Imagine a black hole suddenly appearing in the solar system – gravity instantly warping space and time in our celestial neighborhood, inexorably drawing in all matter. Closer objects are affected more strongly, with the closest whipping past the event horizon and disappearing from the observable universe. Farther objects are pulled in more slowly, but still inescapably. As they come closer to the disturbance, the gravitational field warping space exponentially, closer points are pulled away from trailing edges, potentially ripping entire planets apart. These are tidal forces. The same force that creates tides and waves in our ocean, as the moon pulls

Amazon re:Invent Takeaways? Hang on to Your A**es…

By Rich
I realized I promised to start writing more again to finish off the year and then promptly disappeared for over a week. Not to worry, it was for a good cause, since I spent all of last week at Amazon’s re:Invent conference. And, umm, might have been distracted this week by the release of the Rogue One expansion pack for Star Wars Battlefront. But enough about me… Here are my initial thoughts about re:Invent and Amazon’s direction. It may seem like I am biased towards Amazon Web Services, for two reasons. First, they still have a

Cloud Security Automation: Code vs. CloudFormation or Terraform Templates

By Rich
Right now I’m working on updating many of my little command line tools into releasable versions. It’s a mixed bag of things I’ve written for demos, training classes, clients, or Trinity (our mothballed product). A few of these are security automation tools I’m working on for clients to give them a skeleton framework to build out their own automation programs. Basically, what we created Trinity for, that isn’t releasable. One question that comes up a lot when I’m handing this off is why write custom Ruby/Python/whatever code instead of using CloudFormation or

More on Bastion Accounts and Blast Radius

By Rich
I have received some great feedback on my post last week on bastion accounts and networks. Mostly that I left some gaps in my explanation which legitimately confused people. Plus, I forgot to include any pretty pictures. Let’s work through things a bit more. First, I tended to mix up bastion accounts and networks, often saying “account/networks”. This was a feeble attempt to discuss something I mostly implement in Amazon Web Services that can also apply to other providers. In Amazon an account is basically an AWS subscription. You sign up for an account, and you get access

Firestarter: How to Tell When Your Cloud Consultant Sucks

By Rich
Mike and Rich had a call this week with another prospect who was given some pretty bad cloud advice. We spend a little time trying to figure out why we keep seeing so much bad advice out there (seriously, BIG B BAD not OOPSIE bad). Then we focus on the key things to look for to figure out when someone is leading you down the wrong path in your cloud migration. Oh… and for those with sensitive ears, time to engage the explicit flag. Watch or listen:

Bastion (Transit) Networks Are the DMZ to Protect Your Cloud from Your Datacenter

By Rich
In an earlier post I mentioning bastion accounts or virtual networks. Amazon calls these “transit VPCs” and has a good description. Before I dive into details, the key difference is that I focus on using the concept as a security control, and Amazon for network connectivity and resiliency. That’s why I call these “bastion accounts/networks”. Here is the concept and where it comes from: As I have written before, we recommend you use multiple account with a partitioned network architecture structure, which often results in 2-4 accounts per cloud application stack (project). This limits the ‘blast radius’ of

Seven Steps to Secure Your AWS Root Account

By Rich
The following steps are very specific to AWS, but with minimal modification they will work for other cloud platforms which support multi factor authentication. And if your cloud provider doesn’t support MFA and the other features you need to follow these steps… find another provider. Register with a dedicated email address that follows this formula: project_name-environment-random_seed@yourorganization.com. Instead of project name you could use a business unit, cost code, or some other team identifier. The environment is dev/test/prod/whatever. The most important piece is the random seed added to the email address. This prevents

How to Start Moving to the Cloud

By Rich
Yesterday I warned against building a monolithic cloud infrastructure to move into cloud computing. It creates a large blast radius, is difficult to secure, costs more, and is far less agile than the alternative. But I, um… er… uh… didn’t really mention an alternative. Here is how I recommend you start a move to the cloud. If you have already started down the wrong path, this is also a good way to start getting things back on track. Pick a starter project. Ideally something totally new, but migrating an existing project is okay, so long as you can rearchitect
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