Incite 12/3/2014: Winding Down

As I sit in yet another hotel, banging out yet another Incite, overlooking yet another city that isn’t home, this is a good time to look back on 2014 because this is my last scheduled trip for this year. It has been an interesting year. At this point the highs this year feel higher, and the lows lower. There were periods when I felt sick from the whiplash of ups and downs. That’s how life is sometimes. Of course my mindfulness practice helps me handle the turbulence with grace, and likely without much external indication of the inner gyrations. But in 5 years how will I look back on 2014? I have no idea. I have tried not to worry about things like the far future. At that point, XX1 will be leaving for college, the twins will be driving, and I’ll probably have the same amount of gray hair. Sure, I will plan. But I won’t worry. I have been around long enough to know that my plans aren’t worth firing the synapses to devise them. In fact I don’t even write ‘plans’ down any more. It is now December, when most of us start to wind down the year, turning our attention to the next. We are no different at Securosis. For the next couple weeks we will push to close out projects that have to get done in 2014 and start working with folks on Q1 activities. Maybe we will even get to take some time off over the holidays. Of course vacation has a rather different meaning when you work for yourself and really enjoy what you do. But I will slow down a bit. My plan is to push through my handful of due writing projects over the next 2 weeks or so. I will continue to work through my strategy engagements. Then I will really start thinking about what 2015 looks like. Though I admit the slightly slower pace has given me opportunity to be thankful for everything. Certainly those higher highs, but also the lower lows. It’s all part of the experience I can let make me crazy, or I can accept bumps as part of the process. I guess all we can do each year is try to grow from every experience and learn from the stuff that doesn’t go well. For better and worse, I learned a lot this year. So I am happy as I write this although I know happiness is fleeting – so I’ll enjoy the feeling while I can. And then I will get back to living in the moment – there really isn’t anything else. –Mike Photo credit: “wind-up dog” originally uploaded by istolethetv The fine folks at the RSA Conference posted the talk Jennifer Minella and I did on mindfulness at the conference this year. You can check it out on YouTube. Take an hour and check it out. Your emails, alerts and Twitter timeline will be there when you get back. Securosis Firestarter Have you checked out our new video podcast? Rich, Adrian, and Mike get into a Google Hangout and.. hang out. We talk a bit about security as well. We try to keep these to 15 minutes or less, and usually fail. November 25 – Numbness October 27 – It’s All in the Cloud October 6 – Hulk Bash September 16 – Apple Pay August 18 – You Can’t Handle the Gartner July 22 – Hacker Summer Camp July 14 – China and Career Advancement June 30 – G Who Shall Not Be Named June 17 – Apple and Privacy May 19 – Wanted Posters and SleepyCon May 12 – Another 3 for 5: McAfee/OSVDB, XP Not Dead, CEO head rolling Heavy Research We are back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, with our content in all its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too. Network Security Gateway Evolution Introduction Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud: Evolving to the CloudSOC Technical Considerations Solution Architectures Emerging SOC Use Cases Introduction Security and Privacy on the Encrypted Network The Future is Encrypted Newly Published Papers Securing Enterprise Applications Secure Agile Development Trends in Data Centric Security Leveraging Threat Intelligence in Incident Response/Management The Security Pro’s Guide to Cloud File Storage and Collaboration The 2015 Endpoint and Mobile Security Buyer’s Guide Open Source Development and Application Security Analysis Advanced Endpoint and Server Protection The Future of Security Incite 4 U CISO in the clink… I love this headline: Can a CISO serve jail time? Duh, of course they can. If they deal meth out of the data center, they can certainly go to jail. Oh, can they be held accountable for breaches and negligence within their organization? Predictably, the answer is: it depends. If you are clearly negligent then all bets are off. But if you act in the best interests of the organization as you see them … it is hard to see how a CISO could be successfully prosecuted. That said, there is a chance, so you need to consult a lawyer before taking the job to understand where your liability begins and ends (based on your agreement), and then you can make an informed decision on whether to take the job. Or at least build some additional protection into your agreement. – MR Productivity Killer: Sometimes we need a reminder that security isn’t all about data breaches and DDoS. Sometimes something far far worse happens. Just ask Sony Pictures. Last week employees showed up to work to find their entire infrastructure compromised and offline. Yep, down to some black hat hax0rs graphic taking over everyone’s computer screens, just like in… er… the movies. I don’t find any humor in this. Despite what Sony is doing to the Spider-Man franchise, they are just a company with people trying to get their jobs done, make a little scratch, and build products

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.