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Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide: Top 10 Questions on Prevention

By Mike Rothman
There are plenty of obvious questions you could ask an endpoint security vendor. But most won’t really help you understand the nuances of their approach, so we decided to distill the selection criteria down to a couple of key points. We’ll provide not just the questions, but the rationale behind them. Q1 If your prevention capabilities rely on machine learning, how and how often are your machine learning models retrained? An explanation here should provide some perspective on the vendor’s approach to math and the ‘half-life’ of their models, which indicates how quickly they believe malware attack

The Future of Security Operations: Behind the 8 Ball

By Mike Rothman
As the velocity of technology infrastructure change continues to increase, it is putting serious stress on Security Operations (SecOps). This has forced security folks to face the fact that operations has never really been our forte. That’s a bit harsh, but denial never helps address serious problems. The case is fairly strong that most organizations are pretty bad at security operations. How many high-profile breaches could have been avoided if one of many alerts was acted upon? How many attacks were made possible by not having properly patched servers or infrastructure? How many successful compromises resulted from human error?

Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide: Key Prevention Technologies

By Mike Rothman
After exploring prevention approaches, you should understand some common technologies which are foundational to endpoint advanced prevention offerings. Machine Learning Machine learning is a catch-all term to indicate that the endpoint protection vendor uses sophisticated mathematical analysis on a large set of data to generate models for detecting malicious files or activity on devices. There are a couple mathematical algorithms which can improve malware prevention. Static file analysis: With upwards of a billion malicious file samples in circulation, mathematical analysis of malware can pinpoint commonalities across malicious files. With a model of what malware looks like, advanced prevention products then

Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide: Preventing the Attacks, Part 2

By Mike Rothman
Let’s resume our discussion of endpoint attack prevention approaches with the options available once an attack actually begins to execute, or once it has already executed on a device. During Execution (Runtime) Once malicious code begin to execute, prevention of compromise requires recognizing bad behavior and blocking it before the attack can take control of the device. The first decision point is whether you want the protection to run in user mode (within the operating system and leveraging operating system protections) or kernel mode (at a lower level on the device, with access to everything – including interactions between the

Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide: Preventing the Attacks, Part 1

By Mike Rothman
We discussed specific attacks in our last post, so it’s time to examine approaches which can prevent them. But first let’s look at the general life cycle of an attack. Prevention Timeline As we dig into how to actually prevent the attacks described in the last post, the key principle is to avoid single points of failure, and then to ensure you have resilience so you can respond and restore normal operations as quickly as possible. You want multiple opportunities to block any attack. The most effective way to plan this out is to think about the attack

Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide: The Attacks

By Mike Rothman
As we previewed in the Introduction to our Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide, the first step to selecting an endpoint security product is figuring out what problem you are trying to solve. Then figure out which capabilities are most important to solve those problems. Only then can you start trying to find a vendor who meets those requirements. This is what we call establishing *selection criteria. In the Introduction we also explained how organizations need both prevention and detection/response to fully protect endpoints. But these two capabilities do not need to be bought or deployed together – the technologies

Introducing the Endpoint Advanced Protection Buyer’s Guide

By Mike Rothman
Endpoint security has undergone a renaissance recently. Similar to network security a decade ago, the technology had not seen significant innovation for years, and adversaries improved to a point where many organizations questioned why they kept renewing existing endpoint protection suites. It was an untenable situation. The market spoke, and security companies responded with a wave of new offerings and innovations which do a much better job detecting both advanced adversaries and the techniques they use to obfuscate their activities. To be clear, there is no panacea. Nothing is 100% effective in protecting endpoints. But the latest wave of products has

Upcoming Webcast on Dynamic Security Assessment

By Mike Rothman
It’s been a while since I’ve done a webcast, so if you are going through the DTs like I am, you are in luck. On Wednesday at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT), I’m doing an event with my friends at SafeBreach on our Dynamic Security Assessment content. I even convinced them to use one of my favorite sayings in the title: Hope Is Not a Strategy – How To Confirm Whether Your Controls Are Controlling Anything [giggles] It’ll be a great discussion, as we discuss and debate not only whether the security stuff you’ve deployed works, but

DLP in the Cloud

By Mike Rothman
It’s been quite a while since we updated our Data Loss Prevention (DLP) research. It’s not that DLP hasn’t continued to be an area of focus (it has), but a bunch of other shiny things have been demanding our attention lately. Yeah, like the cloud. Well, it turns out a lot of organizations are using this cloud thing now, so they inevitably have questions about whether and how their existing controls (including DLP) map into the new world. As we update our Understanding and Selecting DLP paper, we’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss how

Identifying the biggest challenges in running security teams

By Mike Rothman
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 10 years since I published the Pragmatic CSO. Quite a bit has changed in terms of being a senior security professional. Adversaries continuously improve and technology infrastructure is undergoing the most significant disruption I’ve seen in 25 years in technology. It’s never been more exciting – or harder – to be a security professional. The one constant I hear in pretty much every conversation I have with practitioners is the ‘people’ issue. Machines aren’t ready to take over quite yet, so you need people to execute your security program. I’m wondering
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