New Paper: Implementing and Managing Patch and Configuration Management

If you recall the Endpoint Security Management Buyer’s Guide, we identified 4 specific controls typically used to manage the security of endpoints, and divided them into periodic and ongoing controls. That paper is designed to help identify what is important, and guide you through the buying process. At the end of that process you face a key question: What now? It is time to implement and manage your new toys, so this paper provides a series of processes and practices for successfully implementing and managing patch and configuration management tools. This paper goes into the implementation steps (Preparation, Integrating and Deploying Technology, Configuring and Deploying Policies, and Ongoing Management) in depth, focusing on what you need to know in order to get the job done. Implementing and managing patch and configuration management doesn’t need to be intimidating, so we focus on making quick and valuable progress, using a sustainable process. We thank Lumension Security for licensing this research, and enabling us to distribute it to readers at no cost. Check out the paper in our Research Library or download the PDF directly. If you want to check out the original posts, here’s an index: Introduction Preparation Integrate and Deploy Technologies Defining Policies Patch Management Operations Configuration Management Operations Leveraging the Platform Share:

Read Post

Friday Summary: November 29, 2012

When I visit the homes of friends who are Formula One fans on race day, I am amazed. At how fanatical they are – worse than NFL and college football fans. They have the TV on for pre-race action hours before it starts. And this year’s finale was at least in a friendly time zone – otherwise they would have been up all night. But what really amazes me is not the dedication – it’s how they watch. Big screen TV is on, but the sound is turned off. The audio portion comes from a live feed from some other service, through their stereo – complete with subwoofer – to make sure they hear their favorite commentator. Laptop is on lap, browsers fired up so they can look up stats, peruse multiple team and fan sites, check weather conditions, and just heckle friends over IM. An iPad sits next to them with TweetDeck up, watching their friends tweet. If a yellow flag pops up, they are instantly on the cell phone talking to someone about what happened. They are literally surrounded by multiple media platforms, each one assigned the task it is best suited for. But their interest in tech goes beyond that. Ask them stats about F1 engine development programs, ‘tyre’ development, or how individual drivers do on certain tracks, and they pour data forth like they get paid to tell you everything they know. They can tell you about the in-car telemetry systems that constantly send tire pressure, gear box temp, G-force analysis, and 100 other data feeds. Ask them a question and you get both a factual list of events and a personal analysis of what these people are doing wrong. It’s a layman’s perspective but they are on top of every nuance. God forbid should they have to work over the weekend and only have access to a Slingbox and headphones. That’s just freakin’ torture. Those fantasy baseball people look like ignorant sissies next to F1 fans. They may not have Sabermetrics but they watch car telemetry like they’re in the Matrix. Perhaps it’s because in the US we don’t have many opportunities to attend F1 events that the ultimate experience is at home, but the degree to which fans have leveraged technology to maximize the experience is pretty cool to watch – or rather to watch them watch the race. So when I get a call from one of these friends asking, “How do I secure my computer?”, or something like “Which Antivirus product should I use” or “Does Life Lock help keep me secure?” I am shocked. They immerse themselves in all sorts of tech and apps and hardware, but have no clue to the simplest security settings or approaches. So I’m sitting here typing up a “personal home computer security 101” email. And congratulations to Sebastian Vettel for winning his third world championship – that puts him in very select company. On to the Summary: Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences Rich and Martin on Network Security Podcast #297. Adrian’s Big Data Paper … synthesized. David Mortman is presenting at Sec-Zone next week. Adrian’s Dark Reading post: Database Threats and Countermeasures. Mike’s Dark Reading post: A Backhanded Thanks. Favorite Securosis Posts Mike Rothman: Building an Early Warning System: External Threat Feeds. You can’t do it all yourself. So you need to rely on others for threat intelligence in some way, shape, or form. Adrian Lane: Incite 11/28/2012: Meet the Masters. I’m starting to think Mike was just being nice when he said he loved my collection of Heineken beer posters. Other Securosis Posts New Paper: Implementing and Managing Patch and Configuration Management. Enterprise Key Managers: Technical Features, Part 2. Enterprise Key Manager Features: Deployment and Client Access Options. Building an Early Warning System: External Threat Feeds. Friday Summary: November 16, 2012. Favorite Outside Posts Dave Lewis: Log All The Things. Mike Rothman: China’s cyber hackers drive US software-maker to brink. Disturbing story about how a well funded attack can almost bring down a small tech business. That said, if this guy’s pretty good business was at risk, why didn’t he bring in experts earlier and move his systems elsewhere to keep business moving forward? Sounds a bit like Captain Ahab. But it does have a sort of happy ending (h/t @taosecurity). Adrian Lane: Expanding the Cloud – Announcing Amazon Redshift, a Petabyte-scale Data Warehouse Service. I’ll write about this in the near future, but the dirt cheap accessibility of massive resources makes many analysis projects feasible, even for small firms. Project Quant Posts Malware Analysis Quant: Index of Posts. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – Monitor for Reinfection. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – Remediate. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – Find Infected Devices. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – Define Rules and Search Queries. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – The Malware Profile. Malware Analysis Quant: Metrics – Dynamic Analysis. Research Reports and Presentations Implementing and Managing Patch and Configuration Management. Defending Against Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks. Securing Big Data: Security Recommendations for Hadoop and NoSQL Environments. Tokenization vs. Encryption: Options for Compliance. Pragmatic Key Management for Data Encryption. The Endpoint Security Management Buyer’s Guide. Pragmatic WAF Management: Giving Web Apps a Fighting Chance. Understanding and Selecting Data Masking Solutions. Top News and Posts Banking Trojan tries to hide from security researchers. Microsoft is toast, here’s why. Student Suspended for Refusing to Wear a School-Issued RFID Tracker. No truth to the rumor that they later stapled the RFID tag to his forehead. All Banks Should Display A Warning Like This. Rackspace: Why Does Every Visitor To My Cloud Sites Website Have The Same IP Address? HP says its products sold unknowingly to Syria by partner. EU plans to implement mandatory cyber incident reporting. Chevron was a victim of Stuxnet. RSA Releases Advanced Threat Summit Findings (PDF) Blog Comment of the Week Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Sashank Dara, in response to

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.