Incite 8/31/2016: Meetings: No Thanks

It’s been a long time since I had an office job. I got fired from my last in November 2005. I had another job since then, but I commuted to Boston. So I was in the office maybe 2-3 days a week. But usually not. That means I rarely have a bad commute. I work from wherever I want, usually some coffee shop with headphones on, or in a quiet enough corner to take a call. I spend some time in the home office when I need to record a webcast or record a video with Rich and Adrian. So basically I forgot what it’s like to work in an office every day. To be clear, I don’t have an office job now. But I am helping out a friend and providing some marketing coaching and hands-on operational assistance in a turn-around situation. I show up 2 or 3 days a week for part of the day, and I now remember what it’s like to work in an office. Honestly, I have no idea how anyone gets things done in an office. I’m constantly being pulled into meetings, many of which don’t have to do with my role at the company. I shoot the breeze with my friends and talk football and family stuff. We do some work, which usually involves getting 8 people in a room to tackle some problem. It’s horribly inefficient, but seems to be the way things get done in corporate life. Why have 2 people work through an issue when you can have 6? Especially since the 4 not involved in the discussion are checking email (maybe) or Facebook (more likely). What’s the sense of actually making decisions when you have to then march them up the flagpole to make sure everyone agrees? And what if they don’t? Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200. Right, I’m not really cut out for an office job. I’m far more effective with a very targeted objective, with the right people to make decisions present and engaged. That’s why our strategy work is so gratifying for me. It’s not about sitting around in a meeting room, drawing nice diagrams on a whiteboard wall. It’s about digging into tough issues and pushing through to an answer. We’ve got a day. And we get things done in that day. As an aside, whiteboard walls are cool. It’s like an entire wall is a whiteboard. Kind of blew my mind. I stood on a chair and wrote maybe 12 inches from the ceiling. Just because I could, and then I erased it! It’s magic. The little things, folks. The little things. But I digress. As we continue to move forward with our cloud.securosis plans, I’m going to carve out some time to do coaching and continue doing strategy work. Then I can be onsite for a day, help define program objectives and short-term activities, and then get out before I get pulled into an infinite meeting loop. We follow up each week and assess progress, address new issues, and keep everything focused. And minimal meetings. It’s not that I don’t relish the opportunity to connect with folks on an ongoing basis. It’s fun to catch up with my friends. I also appreciate that someone else pays for my coffee and snacks especially since I drink a lot of coffee. But I’ve got a lot of stuff to do, and meetings in your office aren’t helping with that. –Mike Photo credit: “no meetings” from autovac Security is changing. So is Securosis. Check out Rich’s post on how we are evolving our business. We’ve published this year’s Securosis Guide to the RSA Conference. It’s our take on the key themes of this year’s conference (which is really a proxy for the industry), as well as deep dives on cloud security, threat protection, and data security. And there is a ton of meme goodness… Check out the blog post or download the guide directly (PDF). The fine folks at the RSA Conference posted the talk Jennifer Minella and I did on mindfulness at the 2014 conference. You can check it out on YouTube. Take an hour. Your emails, alerts, and Twitter timeline will be there when you get back. Securosis Firestarter Have you checked out our 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. May 31 – Where to Start? May 2 – What the hell is a cloud anyway? Mar 16 – The Rugged vs. SecDevOps Smackdown Feb 17 – RSA Conference – The Good, Bad and Ugly Dec 8 – 2015 Wrap Up and 2016 Non-Predictions Nov 16 – The Blame Game Nov 3 – Get Your Marshmallows Oct 19 – re:Invent Yourself (or else) Aug 12 – Karma July 13 – Living with the OPM Hack May 26 – We Don’t Know Sh–. You Don’t Know Sh– May 4 – RSAC wrap-up. Same as it ever was. 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. Managed Security Monitoring Selecting a Service Provider Use Cases Evolving Encryption Key Management Best Practices Use Cases Part 2 Introduction Maximizing WAF Value [Management]/blog/maximizing-waf-value-managing-your-waf) Deployment Introduction Recently Published Papers Understanding and Selecting RASP Incident Response in the Cloud Age Building a Threat Intelligence Program Shining a Light on Shadow Devices Building Resilient Cloud Network Architectures Building a Vendor (IT) Risk Management Program SIEM Kung Fu Securing Hadoop Threat Detection Evolution Building Security into DevOps Pragmatic Security for Cloud and Hybrid Networks Applied Threat Intelligence Endpoint Defense: Essential Practices Best Practices for AWS Security The Future of Security Incite 4 U Deputize everyone for security: Our friend Adrian

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Nuke It from Orbit

I had a call today, that went pretty much like all my other calls. An organization wants to move to the cloud. Scratch that – they are moving, quickly. The team on the phone was working hard to figure out their architectures and security requirements. These weren’t ostriches sticking their heads in the sand, they were very cognizant of many of the changes cloud computing forces, and were working hard to enable their organization to move as quickly and safely as possible. They were not blockers. The company was big. I take a lot of these calls now. The problem was, as much as they’ve learned, as open minded as they were, the team was both getting horrible advice (mostly from their security vendors) and facing internal pressure taking them down the wrong path. This wasn’t a complete lift and shift, but it wasn’t really cloud-native, and it’s the sort of thing I now see frequently. The organization was setting up a few cloud environments at their provider, directly connecting everything to extend their network, and each one was at a different security level. Think Dev/Test/Prod, but using their own classification. The problem is, this really isn’t a best practice. You cannot segregate out privileged users well at the cloud management level. It adds a bunch of security weaknesses and has a very large blast radius if an attacker gets into anything. Even network security controls become quite complex. Especially since their existing vendors were promising they could just drop virtual appliances in and everything would work like just it does on-premise – no, it really doesn’t. This is before we even get into using PaaS, serverless architectures, application-specific requirements, tag and security group limitations, and so on. It doesn’t work. Not at scale. And by the time you notice, you are very deep inside a very expensive hole. I used to say the cloud doesn’t really change security. That the fundamentals are the same and only the implementation changes. Since about 2-3 years ago, that is no longer true. New capabilities started to upend existing approaches. Many security principles are the same, but all the implementation changes. Process and technology. It isn’t just security – all architectures and operations change. You need to take what you know about securing your existing infrastructure, and throw it away. You cannot draw useful parallels to existing constructs. You need to take the cloud on its own terms – actually, on your particular providers’ terms – and design around that. Get creative. Learn the new best practices and patterns. Your skills and knowledge are still incredibly important, but you need to apply them in new ways. If someone tells you to build out a big virtual network and plug it into your existing network, and just run stuff in there, run away. That’s one of the biggest signs they don’t know what the f— they are talking about, and it will cripple you. If someone tells you to take all your existing security stuff and just virtualize it, run faster. How the hell can you pull this off? Start small. Pick one project, set it up in its own isolated area, rework the architecture and security, and learn. I’m no better than any of you (well, maybe some of you – this is an election year), but I have had more time to adapt. It’s okay if you don’t believe me. But only because your pain doesn’t affect me. We all live in the gravity well of the cloud. It’s just that some of us crossed the event horizon a bit earlier, that’s all. Share:

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