RSA Guide 2011: Security Management and Compliance

Security Management Compliance is still driving most of what happens from a management standpoint, which is why have a specific compliance section below. On the security management front, there was still plenty of activity in 2010. But most customers continued to feel the same way: underwhelmed. It’s still very hard to keep control of much of anything, which is problematic as the number of devices and amount of sensitive data grow exponentially. Good times. Good times. What We Expect to See There are a couple areas of interest at the show for security management: The (Not) Easy Button: Given the absolutely correct perspective of customers that security management is too complex, difficult, ponderous, and lots of other negative descriptors, we expect vendors to focus on ease of use for many of these security management tools (especially SIEM/Log Management). Don’t believe them. They continue to sell false hope. To be fair, the tools are much improved. Interfaces are better. User experience is tolerable. But it’s still not easy. 
So spend some time in the booth checking out interfaces. How you set up rules, analyze data, and generate reports. Make the demo dude go into excruciating detail on how things really get done with the tool. Remember, anything you select, you will need to live with. So do your homework and choose wisely. The next act for scanners: Vulnerability management is so 2005. But tack on some kind of cloud stuff and it’s, uh, 2007? The new new shiny object is configuration auditing/policy compliance. Which actually makes sense because you need to scrutinize the device to check for vulnerabilities, so why not just assess the configuration while you are at it. And just as with vulnerability scanning, the question will be whether you do it on-site or via a cloud service. Or both, because we expect most vendors to offer both. MSS comes of age: The good news is that folks finally realize it’s not novel to monitor firewalls or IPS themselves, and combined with consolidation of pretty much all the big players, this means MSS isn’t a big deal anymore. So the big vendors with big booths will be talking about their monitoring (and even management) services. If you still have 5 folks parsing firewall alerts, check out these offerings. At minimum it will be interesting to get a sense of how efficiently you do things internally. Just make sure you understand exactly what the service and support model is, because when alerts start firing you don’t want to be dialing the main number of a $100 billion telco. Start-up X, a Big IT company: Big IT, with its big management stacks and big professional services teams, will be at RSAC in force. Maybe they’ll even have a story for how all the crap they’ve bought over the past year makes Big IT finally relevant in the security space. You’ll see HP and IBM (and EMC and Cisco and Juniper) in 5-6 different booths each, because companies they acquired had already committed to exhibit in this year’s show. They should have one of those passport programs, just to make sure you visit all their booths to win an iPad or something like that. Compliance Compliance isn’t merely a major theme for the show, it’s also likely the biggest driver of your security spending. But that doesn’t mean folks don’t want to minimize the cost and hassle of compliance, so scope reduction will be a major theme that we hear throughout the show. While there’s no such thing as a compliance solution, many security technologies play major roles in helping achieve and maintain compliance. What We Expect to See With compliance we will see a mix of regulation-focused messages and compliance-specific technologies: PCI & Tokenization: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is the single regulation that generates the most attention, and a lot of the growth for security and compliance spending. And frankly, especially within the retail and finance verticals, companies are looking to reduce costs and minimize PCI audits. It’s viewed as little more than a tax on the business so they want to at least reduce — if not eliminate — the expense. At the show this year, we expect you’ll hear and see a lot about tokenization. This approach substitutes credit card numbers stored at a merchant site with a harmless, well, token. It only represents the credit card transaction, so a stolen token cannot be used to commit fraud. At the show, focus on the sessions where savvy users talk about how they reduce the scope of PCI audits along with the associated costs of securing credit card data using this approach. While only a handful of tokenization vendors will be at the show, many of the payment processors have partnered with technology providers to offer tokenization as a managed service. Expect to see plenty of interest and discussion on this topic, and long lines at select vendor booths. There’s an App for That: Expect to see vendors offer neat iPhone and iPad apps for their management and reporting products. Sure, reports and dashboards are popular with vendors because they bring the eye candy sales teams want to demonstrate product value. But what’s cooler than a fancy dashboard? A fancy new iPhone. Put the two together and it’s like two great eye-candies that go great together! It’s going to be a big hit. Not just because anyone really wants to take that FISMA report with them in their pocket; it’s because IT, sales, and marketing all secretly lust after the new toy. It’s the thought of catching a spring training game while configuring SIEM policies. Does it make you more productive? Maybe. But having your IT products running on the toy justifies the purchase of both. Yeah, anywhere, anytime access is pretty cool too, but it’s like getting two for one. Expect to see this everywhere! GRC Oopsie: Last year we expected to see a lot of collateral about GRC: Governance, Risk, and Compliance. And we

Read Post

See Securosis @ RSA Conference 2011

We keep pretty busy schedules at RSA every year. But the good news is we do a number of speaking sessions and make other appearances throughout the week. Here is where you can find us: Speaking Sessions DAS-106: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about DLP – Rich (Tuesday, Feb 15, 1pm) CLD-108: Private and Government Sectors: Why are Agencies Hesitant to Adopt Cloud? – Rich moderates (Tuesday, Feb 15, 3:40pm) DAS-203: Cutting through the Data Loss Prevention Confusion: DLP Myths Busted – Rich (Wednesday, Feb 16, 11:10am) P2P-203A: Evolving Perimeter(s): Protecting the Stuff That’s Really Important – Mike (Wednesday, Feb 16, 11:10am) BUS-303: Putting the Fun in Dysfunctional – How the Security Industry Really Works – Rich and Mike (Thursday, Feb 17, 11:10am) AND-304: Agile Development, Security Fail – Adrian (Thursday, Feb 17, 1pm) EXP-402: Cloudiquantanomidatumcon: The Infra/Info-Centric Debate in the Cloud – Rich and Chris Hoff (Friday, Feb 18, 10:10am) Other Events e10+: Rich and Mike are the hosts and facilitators for the RSA Conference’s e10+ program targeting CISO types. That’s Monday morning from 8:30 to noon. America’s Growth Capital Conference: Mike will be moderating a panel on the future of network security at the AGC Conference with folks from Cisco, Juniper, Palo Alto, Packet Motion, and Fidelis. This session is Monday at 2:15pm. Security Blogger Meet up: Securosis will be at the 4th annual Security Blogger Meet up at the classified location. You need to have a blog and be pre-registered to get in. Disaster Recovery Breakfast: Once again this year Securosis will be hosting the Disaster Recovery Breakfast on Thursday, Feb 17 between 8 and 11 with help from our friends at Threatpost and Schwartz Communications. RSVP and enjoy a nice quiet breakfast with plenty of food, coffee, recovery items (aspirin & Tums), and even the hair of the dog for those of you not quite ready to sober up. Holding court at the W: If you are up for late night hijinx – and like to laugh at stumbling, bumbling security industry folks – show up at the W’s lobby bar after the parties break up. It’s always a good time and you are very likely to see one or all of us Securosis folks there getting into trouble. And accepting drink donations. Fortinet Panels: Mike will also be moderating the Security Mythbusting: Blowing up the Security Hype panels at Fortinet’s booth (#923) Tuesday and Wednesday from 1:30-2pm. Travel safe and we’ll see you at RSA… Share:

Read Post

Totally Transparent Research is the embodiment of how we work at Securosis. It’s our core operating philosophy, our research policy, and a specific process. We initially developed it to help maintain objectivity while producing licensed research, but its benefits extend to all aspects of our business.

Going beyond Open Source Research, and a far cry from the traditional syndicated research model, we think it’s the best way to produce independent, objective, quality research.

Here’s how it works:

  • Content is developed ‘live’ on the blog. Primary research is generally released in pieces, as a series of posts, so we can digest and integrate feedback, making the end results much stronger than traditional “ivory tower” research.
  • Comments are enabled for posts. All comments are kept except for spam, personal insults of a clearly inflammatory nature, and completely off-topic content that distracts from the discussion. We welcome comments critical of the work, even if somewhat insulting to the authors. Really.
  • Anyone can comment, and no registration is required. Vendors or consultants with a relevant product or offering must properly identify themselves. While their comments won’t be deleted, the writer/moderator will “call out”, identify, and possibly ridicule vendors who fail to do so.
  • Vendors considering licensing the content are welcome to provide feedback, but it must be posted in the comments - just like everyone else. There is no back channel influence on the research findings or posts.
    Analysts must reply to comments and defend the research position, or agree to modify the content.
  • At the end of the post series, the analyst compiles the posts into a paper, presentation, or other delivery vehicle. Public comments/input factors into the research, where appropriate.
  • If the research is distributed as a paper, significant commenters/contributors are acknowledged in the opening of the report. If they did not post their real names, handles used for comments are listed. Commenters do not retain any rights to the report, but their contributions will be recognized.
  • All primary research will be released under a Creative Commons license. The current license is Non-Commercial, Attribution. The analyst, at their discretion, may add a Derivative Works or Share Alike condition.
  • Securosis primary research does not discuss specific vendors or specific products/offerings, unless used to provide context, contrast or to make a point (which is very very rare).
    Although quotes from published primary research (and published primary research only) may be used in press releases, said quotes may never mention a specific vendor, even if the vendor is mentioned in the source report. Securosis must approve any quote to appear in any vendor marketing collateral.
  • Final primary research will be posted on the blog with open comments.
  • Research will be updated periodically to reflect market realities, based on the discretion of the primary analyst. Updated research will be dated and given a version number.
    For research that cannot be developed using this model, such as complex principles or models that are unsuited for a series of blog posts, the content will be chunked up and posted at or before release of the paper to solicit public feedback, and provide an open venue for comments and criticisms.
  • In rare cases Securosis may write papers outside of the primary research agenda, but only if the end result can be non-biased and valuable to the user community to supplement industry-wide efforts or advances. A “Radically Transparent Research” process will be followed in developing these papers, where absolutely all materials are public at all stages of development, including communications (email, call notes).
    Only the free primary research released on our site can be licensed. We will not accept licensing fees on research we charge users to access.
  • All licensed research will be clearly labeled with the licensees. No licensed research will be released without indicating the sources of licensing fees. Again, there will be no back channel influence. We’re open and transparent about our revenue sources.

In essence, we develop all of our research out in the open, and not only seek public comments, but keep those comments indefinitely as a record of the research creation process. If you believe we are biased or not doing our homework, you can call us out on it and it will be there in the record. Our philosophy involves cracking open the research process, and using our readers to eliminate bias and enhance the quality of the work.

On the back end, here’s how we handle this approach with licensees:

  • Licensees may propose paper topics. The topic may be accepted if it is consistent with the Securosis research agenda and goals, but only if it can be covered without bias and will be valuable to the end user community.
  • Analysts produce research according to their own research agendas, and may offer licensing under the same objectivity requirements.
  • The potential licensee will be provided an outline of our research positions and the potential research product so they can determine if it is likely to meet their objectives.
  • Once the licensee agrees, development of the primary research content begins, following the Totally Transparent Research process as outlined above. At this point, there is no money exchanged.
  • Upon completion of the paper, the licensee will receive a release candidate to determine whether the final result still meets their needs.
  • If the content does not meet their needs, the licensee is not required to pay, and the research will be released without licensing or with alternate licensees.
  • Licensees may host and reuse the content for the length of the license (typically one year). This includes placing the content behind a registration process, posting on white paper networks, or translation into other languages. The research will always be hosted at Securosis for free without registration.

Here is the language we currently place in our research project agreements:

Content will be created independently of LICENSEE with no obligations for payment. Once content is complete, LICENSEE will have a 3 day review period to determine if the content meets corporate objectives. If the content is unsuitable, LICENSEE will not be obligated for any payment and Securosis is free to distribute the whitepaper without branding or with alternate licensees, and will not complete any associated webcasts for the declining LICENSEE. Content licensing, webcasts and payment are contingent on the content being acceptable to LICENSEE. This maintains objectivity while limiting the risk to LICENSEE. Securosis maintains all rights to the content and to include Securosis branding in addition to any licensee branding.

Even this process itself is open to criticism. If you have questions or comments, you can email us or comment on the blog.