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Mike Rothman, Analyst & President

Mike’s bold perspectives and irreverent style are invaluable as companies determine effective strategies to grapple with the dynamic security threatscape. Mike specializes in the sexy aspects of security, like protecting networks and endpoints, security management, and compliance. Mike is one of the most sought after speakers and commentators in the security business and brings a deep background in information security. After 20 years in and around security, he’s one of the guys who “knows where the bodies are buried” in the space.

Starting his career as a programmer and a networking consultant, Mike joined META Group in 1993 and spearheaded META’s initial foray into information security research. Mike left META in 1998 to found SHYM Technology, a pioneer in the PKI software market, and then held VP Marketing roles at CipherTrust and TruSecure – providing experience in marketing, business development, and channel operations for both product and services companies.

After getting fed up with vendor life, he started Security Incite in 2006 to provide the voice of reason in an over-hyped yet underwhelming security industry. After taking a short detour as Senior VP, Strategy and CMO at eIQnetworks to chase shiny objects in security and compliance management, Mike joins Securosis with a rejuvenated cynicism about the state of security and what it takes to survive as a security professional.

Mike published “The Pragmatic CSO” in 2007 to introduce technically oriented security professionals to the nuances of what is required to be a senior security professional. He also possesses a very expensive engineering degree in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. His folks are overjoyed that he uses literally zero percent of his education on a daily basis. He can be reached at mrothman (at) securosis (dot) com.

New Age Network Detection: Use Cases

By Mike Rothman
As we wrap up the New Age Network Detection (NAND) series, we’ve made the point that network analysis remains critical to finding malicious activity, even as you move to the cloud. But clearly, collection and analysis need to change as the underlying technology platforms evolve. But that does put the cart a bit ahead of the horse. We haven’t spent much time honing in on the specific use cases where NAND makes a difference. So that’s how we’ll bring the series to a close. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of use cases,

Papers Posted

By Mike Rothman
It turns out that we are still writing papers and posting them in our research library, even though far less frequently than back in the day. Working with enterprises on their cloud security strategies consumes most of our cycles nowadays. When we’re not assessing clouds or training on clouds or getting into trouble, we’ve published 3 papers over the past year. I’ve finally posted them to the research library for you to check out. Data Security in the SaaS Age: In this paper, licensed by AppOmni, we dust off the Data Security Triangle and then proceed to provide

New Age Network Detection: Collection and Analysis

By Mike Rothman
As we return to our series on New Age Network Detection, let’s revisit our first post. We argued that we’re living through technology disruption on a scale, and at a velocity, we haven’t seen before. Unfortunately security has failed to keep pace with attackers. The industry’s response has been to move the goalposts, focusing on new shiny tech widgets every couple years. We summed it up in that first post: We have to raise the bar. What we’ve been doing isn’t good enough and hasn’t been for years. We don’t need to

New Age Network Detection: Introduction

By Mike Rothman
Like the rest of the technology stack, the enterprise network is undergoing a huge transition. With data stores increasingly in the cloud and connectivity to SaaS providers and applications running in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms, a likely permanently remote workforce has new networking requirements. Latency and performance continue to be important, but also being able to protect employee devices in all locations and providing access to only authorized resources. Bringing the secure network to the employee represents a better option to solve these requirements instead of forcing the employee onto the secure network. The network offers a secure

Securing APIs: Empowering Security

By Mike Rothman
As discussed in Application Architecture Disrupted, macro changes including the migration to cloud disrupting the tech stack, application design patterns bringing microservices to the forefront, and DevOps changing dev/release practices dramatically impact building and deploying applications. In this environment, the focus turns to APIs as the fabric that weaves together modern applications. Alas, the increasing importance of APIs also makes them a target. Historically, enterprises take baby steps to adopt new technologies, experimenting and finding practical boundaries to meet security, reliability, and resilience requirements before fully committing. Requiring a trade-off between security and speed, it may take years to

Securing APIs: Modern API Security

By Mike Rothman
As we started the API Security series, we went through how application architecture evolves and how that’s changing the application attack surface. API Security requires more than traditional application security. Traditional application security tactics like SAST/DAST, WAF, API Gateway, and others are necessary but not sufficient. We need to build on top of the existing structures of application security to protect modern applications. So what does API Security look like? We wouldn’t be analysts if we didn’t think in terms of process and lifecycle. Having practiced security for decades, one of the only truisms which held

Securing APIs: Application Architecture Disrupted

By Mike Rothman
When you think of disruption, the typical image is a tornado coming through and ripping things up, leaving towns leveled and nothing the same moving forward. But disruption can be slow and steady, incremental in the way everything you thought you knew has changed. Securing cloud environments was like that, initially trying to use existing security concepts and controls, which worked well enough. Until they didn’t and forced a re-evaluation of everything that we thought we knew about security. The changes were (and still are for many) challenging, but overall very positive. We see the same type of disruption

Infrastructure Hygiene: Success and Consistency

By Mike Rothman
We went through the risks and challenges of infrastructure hygiene, and then various approaches for fixing the vulnerabilities. Let’s wrap up the series by seeing how this kind of approach works in practice and how we’ll organize to ensure the consistent and successful execution of an infrastructure patch. Before we dive in, we should reiterate that none of the approaches we’ve offered are mutually exclusive. A patch does eliminate the vulnerability on the component, but the most expedient path to reduce the risk might be a virtual patch. The best long-term solution may involve moving the data

Infrastructure Hygiene: Fixing Vulnerabilities

By Mike Rothman
As discussed in the first post in the Infrastructure Hygiene series, the most basic advice we can give on security is to do the fundamentals well. That doesn’t insulate you from determined and well-funded adversaries or space alien cyber attacks, but it will eliminate the path of least resistance that most attackers take. The blurring of infrastructure as more tech stack components become a mix of on-prem, cloud-based, and managed services further complicate matters. How do you block and tackle well when you have to worry about three different fields and multiple teams playing on each field? Maybe that’

Infrastructure Hygiene: Why It’s Critical for Protection

By Mike Rothman
After many decades as security professionals, it is depressing to have the same issues repeatedly. It’s kind of like we’re stuck in this hacker groundhog day. Get up, clean up after stupid users, handle a new attack, fill out compliance report, and then do it all over again. Of course, we all live in an asymmetrical world when it comes to security. The attackers only have to be right once, and they are in your environment. The defenders only have to be wrong once, and the attackers also gain a foothold. It’s not fair, but then again,
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