Respect the Hierarchy

Wendy (again) states things that we should already know in such an easy to understand way, that you smack yourself upside the head and wonder why you didn’t think of it. Her post on the 451 blog about The hierarchy of IT needs makes very very clear why you continue to have problems making the case for security in your organization. I won’t just pirate her image, but go look at it and it will feel like a gut punch. Of course there are exceptions to this hierarchy. Like in the few quarters after a high-profile breach. Then blow up the pyramid and spend all the money you can. It won’t last long. Soon enough senior management will forget the pain and get back to allocating resources based on your business needs. Wendy also offers a secret that can help get funding for those security projects you know you need to do, but can’t get senior management to understand. If you can tie security to one of the lower requirements (lower than compliance, that is), you’ll have a much better chance at getting it incorporated more frequently. And to net it out, more wisdom: This hierarchy of needs also explains why security is an afterthought, and how even in the most mature of environments, it gets abandoned if one of the lower layers is suddenly threatened. It’s why holes get left in firewalls, why the accounts of terminated employees are still running services, and why back doors are left in systems. It’s all about keeping things working. This is our reality. You can certainly resist it and bang your head against the wall repeatedly. But the only thing that will accomplish is to give you a headache. You won’t get any more funding, because the hierarchy of IT needs is alive and well. Photo credit: “Hierarchy of Letter Boxes” originally uploaded by Michael Coghlan Share:

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Friday Summary: August 29, 2014

As you are likely out of the office much of today, preparing for a long weekend, I will keep this week’s summary short and to the point. Another three-star set of nits to pick. *** With Apple’s new product announcements just a couple weeks away, Wired’s Will Apple Kill Off the Credit Card Like It Did the Compact Disc? asks the wrong question. I don’t claim any specific knowledge of what Apple is thinking when it comes to payments, but I am willing to bet they would not describe their strategy as replacement of credit cards. In fact, just asking whether Apple is looking to kill off credit cards is myopic. It’s like asking if smartphones were out to kill land lines – ultimately they did, but powerful mobile handheld computers transformed many facets of daily life, including basic things like our definition of ‘computer’ and how we use information. The move to mobile payments by Apple and other platform providers is more about fundamental long-term transformation of payments to something more convenient, more ubiquitous and…probably…more secure. *** The Opportunity Cost of Automating Database Auditing should have a big NOT in the title. Not in that Borat ‘NOT!’ way, but better to consider the opportunity cost of not auditing databases as an information source. As a former vendor of database monitoring and auditing products, I always felt it would have been prudent for some of the compliance mandates to include database infrastructure in their lists of required controls. The database offers more accurate information than most other sources, and can help bypass a lot of manual work if done correctly. And certainly the repository that holds the bulk of enterprise data – relational databases have been king of the data management platforms for a couple decades – warrants some special mention. But they don’t get it. PCI? Nope. CA-1386? Nope. Basel II? Nada. Not even Sarbanes-Oxley, which is a special case given that Worldcom – one of the law’s poster children – was convicted based on analysis of database transaction records. But database auditing is not part of the requirement. The key ROI cost discrepancy is not between different kinds of database auditing – it is between database auditing and other types of auditing which require more effort for lower-quality results. *** Tim Raines wrote recently on the Microsoft blog about Major Rights Management Update to Office on Azure. This is less about user entitlements than enforcement. Look at the provided examples: it is app-layer Digital Rights Management. Yes, platform providers (such as Apple and Google) have a unique advantage as they control the cloud servers and the mobile applications that use them. In essence this offers control over who can view/use data under what circumstances, but it is more interesting when the data owner can control rights in the data management solution context. Most existing DRM options require learning third-party products, and disassociate where you set policy from where the data is managed. This is essentially what many firms are attempting to accomplish with MDM solutions and various mobile containers. On to the Summary: Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences James Arlen quoted in Cybersecurity’s hiring crisis: A troubling trajectory. Favorite Securosis Posts Adrian Lane: Shipping Decent Breach Notification. David Mortman: Respect the Hierarchy. Mike Rothman: The Data Breach Triangle. This is a classic from back in 2009. And a concept I still use in almost every meeting, so it has aged pretty well. Other Securosis Posts Incite 8/27/2014: It takes a village. Friday Summary: STEM. Favorite Outside Posts Adrian Lane: Point-of-sale malware has now infected over 1,000 companies in US. A thousand that they know about. We could reach an inflection point with mobile devices where we simply move financial transactions out of retail establishments… Which should have happened a long time ago. Rich: Trolls drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house to prove misogyny doesn’t exist. This upsets and depresses me beyond belief. Tech overall has a problem with how we treat women, and security is no exception. I’m not saying we are any better or worse, but this is an important read to see how extreme the problem is, and to remember we are far from immune. Gunnar: Sabermetrics vs. second-hand knowledge. Mike Rothman: Netflix releases home-grown DDoS detectors. I’m digging how Netflix continues to contribute their security tools to the community. This is great for everyone. Research Reports and Presentations The 2015 Endpoint and Mobile Security Buyer’s Guide. Analysis of the 2014 Open Source Development and Application Security Survey. Defending Against Network-based Distributed Denial of Service Attacks. Reducing Attack Surface with Application Control. Leveraging Threat Intelligence in Security Monitoring. The Future of Security: The Trends and Technologies Transforming Security. Security Analytics with Big Data. Security Management 2.5: Replacing Your SIEM Yet? Defending Data on iOS 7. Eliminate Surprises with Security Assurance and Testing. Top News and Posts Update on reviewing our data practices and Bugzilla development database disclosure. Did Arizona turn over its counterterrorism database to a Chinese spy? It is difficult to tell whether this is political poop-flinging or there is real evidence of crime, but an interesting discussion. Cyber attack reveals data on at least 25,000 workers at the US Department of Homeland Security. FBI investigating Russian links to JPMorgan hacking. Don’t waste time on Code Reviews. Compromised Facebook accounts create scam events. Masscan does STARTTLS. Creators of New Fed-Proof Bitcoin Marketplace. DQ Breach? HQ Says No, But Would it Know? White House Going With ‘Security By Obscurity’ As Excuse For Refusing To Release Security Details. End to End. Espionage programs linked to spying on former Soviet targets. Share:

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