Multicloud: Deployment Structures and Blast Radius

In this, our second Firestarter on multicloud deployments, we start digging into the technological differences between the cloud providers. We start with the concept of how to organize your account(s). Each provider uses different terminology but all support similar hierarchies. From the overlay of AWS organizations to the org-chart-from-the-start of an Azure tenant we dig into the details and make specific recommendations. We also discuss the inherent security barriers and cover a wee bit of IAM. Share:

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Making an Impact with Security Awareness Training

If you want your organization to take security awareness training seriously, you need to plan for that. If you don’t know what success looks like you are unlikely to get there. To define success you need a firm understanding of why the organization needs awareness training. We are talking about communicating business justification for security awareness training, and more importantly what results you expect from your organization’s investment of time and resources. The most valuable outcome is to reduce risk, which gives security awareness training its impact on corporate results. It’s reasonable to expect awareness training to result in fewer successful attacks and less loss: risk reduction. Every other security control and investment needs to reduce risk, so why hasn’t security awareness training been held to the same standard? We don’t know either, but the time has come to start thinking about it. To overcome limitations in security awareness training and achieve the desired business objectives, in this paper we introduced the concept of Continuous, Contextual Content (3C) as the cornerstone of the kind of training program which can achieve security initiatives. This approach provides a user-centric concept to deliver the necessary content when they need it, reminding the employee about phishing, not at a random time, but after they’ve clicked on a phishing message. We also cover incentives, content approaches, and metrics to ensure your awareness training program provides sustainable impact. We’d like to thank Mimecast for licensing the content. It’s through the support of forward-thinking companies that use our content to educate their communities that allow us to write what you need to read. As always, our research is done using our Totally Transparent research methodology. This allows us to do impactful research while protecting our integrity. Download the paper here. Share:

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Scaling Network Security

Existing network security architectures, based mostly on preventing attacks from external adversaries, don’t reflect the changing dynamics of enterprise networks. With business partners and other trusted parties needing more access to corporate data and the encapsulation of most application traffic in standard protocols (Port 80 and 443), digging a moat around your corporate network no longer provides the protection your organization needs. Additionally, network speeds continue to increase putting a strain on inline network security controls that much scale at the same rate as the networks. Successfully protecting networks require you to scale network security controls while being able to enforce security policies flexibly. By applying context to the security controls used for each connection ensures proper protection without adding undue stress to the controls. The last thing you can do is compromise security in the face of increasing bandwidth. The scaled network architecture involves applying access control everywhere to make sure only authorized connections have access to critical data and implementing security controls where needed, based on the requirements of the application. Moreover, security policies need to change as networks, applications and business requirements change, so the architecture needs to adapt without requiring forklift upgrades and radical overhauls. This Scaling Network Security paper looks at where secure networking started and why it needs to change. We present requirements for today’s networks which will take you into the future. Finally, we go through the architectural constructs we believe can help scale up your network security controls. We’d like to thank Gigamon for licensing the content. It’s through the support of forward-thinking companies that use our content to educate their communities that allow us to write what you need to read. As always, our research is done using our Totally Transparent research methodology. This allows us to do impactful research while protecting our integrity. You can download the paper. Share:

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The Future of Security Operations

Security teams are behind the 8 ball. It’s not like the infrastructure is getting less complicated. Or additional resources and personnel are dropping from the sky to save the day. Given that traditional security operations approaches will not scale to meet the requirements of protecting data in today’s complicated and increasingly cloud-based architectures, what to do? Well, we need to think differently. We are entering a new world. One where security is largely built into the technology stacks which run our infrastructure. Where we plan our operational functions and document them in clear runbooks. Where those runbooks are implemented via orchestration and automation within infrastructure without manual intervention. In this paper, we present an approach to allow your security team to focus on what it’s good at, which is basically understanding the attack surface and the adversary’s tactics and design controls and policies to protect the organization from the threats it faces. We’d like to thank IBM Resilient for licensing the content. It’s through the support of companies like IBM that license our content to educate their communities that allow us to we write forward looking research. As always, our research is done using our Totally Transparent research methodology. This allows us to do impactful research, while protecting our integrity. You can download the paper (PDF). Share:

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Firestarter: Breacheriffic EquiFail

This week Mike and Rich address the recent spate of operational fails leading to massive security breaches. This isn’t yet another blame the victim rant, but a frank discussion of why these issues are so persistent and so difficult to actually manage. We also discuss the rising role of automation and its potential to reduce these all-too-human errors. Share:

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Endpoint Advanced Protection

Innovation comes and goes in security. Back in 2007 network security had been stagnant for more than a few years. It was the same old same old. Firewall does this. IPS does that. Web proxy does a third thing. None of them did their jobs particularly well, all struggling to keep up with attacks encapsulated in common protocols. Then the next generation firewall emerged, and it turned out that regardless of what it was called, it was more than a firewall. It was the evolution of the network security gateway. The same thing happened a few years ago in endpoint security. Mostly because they didn’t have any other options. Organizations were paying boatloads of money to maintain endpoint protection, because PCI-DSS required it. It certainly wasn’t because the software worked well. Inertia took root, and organizations continued to blindly renew their endpoint protection, mostly because they didn’t have any other options. Enterprises seem to have finally concluded that existing Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) don’t really protect endpoints sufficiently. We feel that epiphany is better late than never. But we suspect the catalyst for this realization was that the new generation of tools simply does a better job. The Endpoint Advanced Protection (EAP) concept entails integration of many capabilities previously only offered separately, including endpoint hygiene to reduce attack surface, prevention of advanced attacks including memory attacks and malware-less approaches, and much more granular collection and analysis of endpoint telemetry (‘EDR’ technology). This paper discusses EAP and the evolution of the technologies are poised to help protect endpoints from consistently innovating adversaries. We’d like to thank Check Point Software Technologies for licensing the content. We are able to offer objective research built in a Totally Transparent manner because our clients see the benefit of educating the industry. You can download the paper (PDF). Share:

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Managed Security Monitoring

Nobody really argues any more about whether to perform security monitoring. Compliance mandates answered that question, and the fact is that without granular security monitoring and analytics you don’t have much chance to detect attacks. But there is an open question about the best way to monitor your environment, especially given the headwinds facing your security team. Given the challenges of finding and retaining staff, the increasingly distributed nature of data and systems that need to be monitored, and the rapid march of technology, it’s worth considering whether a managed security monitoring service makes sense for your organization. Under the right circumstances a managed service presents an interesting alternative to racking and stacking another set of SIEM appliances. This paper covers the drivers for managed security monitoring, the use cases where a service provider can offer the most value, and some guidance on how to actually select a service provider. It’s a comprehensive look at what it takes to select a security monitoring service. We’d like to thank IBM Security, who licensed this content and enables us to provide it to you for, well, nothing. The paper was built using our Totally Transparent Research methodology, to make sure we are writing what needs to be written rather than what someone else wants us to say. You can download the paper (PDF). Share:

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Building a Threat Intelligence Program

Threat Intelligence has made a significant difference in how organizations focus resources on their most significant risks. We concluded our Applied Threat Intelligence paper by pointing out that the industry needs to move past tactical TI use cases. Our philosophy demands a programmatic approach to security. The time has come to advance threat intelligence into the broader and more structured TI program to ensure systematic, consistent, and repeatable value. The program needs to address the dynamic changes in indicators and other signs of attacks, while factoring in the tactics the adversaries. Our Building a Threat Intelligence Program paper offers guidance for designing a program and systematically leveraging threat intelligence. This paper is all about turning tactical use cases into a strategic TI capability to enable your organization to detect attacks faster. We would like to thank our awesome licensees, Anomali, Digital Shadows, and BrightPoint Security for supporting our Totally Transparent Research. It enables us to think objectively about how to leverage new technology in systematic programs to make your security consistent and reproducible. Download: Building a Threat Intelligence Program Share:

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Shining a Light on Shadow Devices

Being a security professional certainly was easier back in the day before all these newfangled devices had Internet connections. I’m not sure how we became the get off my lawn! guys, but here we are. You probably scan for PCs. Maybe you even have a program to find and monitor mobile devices on your networks (though probably not). But what about printers, physical security devices like cameras, control systems, healthcare devices, and the two dozen or so other types of devices on your networks? There will be billions of devices connected to the Internet over the next few years. They all present attack surface on your technology infrastructure. And you cannot fully know what is exploitable in your environment, because you don’t know about these devices living in the ‘shadows’. Visible devices are only some of the network-connected devices in your environment. There are hundreds, quite possibly thousands, of other devices you don’t know about on your network. You don’t scan them periodically, and you have no idea of their security posture. Each one can be attacked, and might provide an adversary with opportunity to gain presence in your environment. Your attack surface is much larger than you thought. In our Shining a Light on Shadow Devices paper, we discuss the attacks on these devices which can become an issue on your network, along with some tactics to provide visibility and then control to handle all these network-connected devices. These devices are infrequently discussed and rarely factored into discovery and protection programs. It’s another Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell approach, which never seems to work out well. We would like to thank ForeScout Technologies for licensing the content in this paper. Our unique Totally Transparent Research model enables us to think objectively about future attack vectors and speculate a bit on the impact to your organization, without paywalls or other such gates restricting access to research you may need. Download Shining a Light on Shadow Devices (PDF). Share:

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Threat Detection Evolution

Most organizations have realized that threat prevention has limitations, so we have seen renewed focus on threat detection. But like most other security markets, the term threat detection has been distorted to cover almost everything. So we figure it’s time to clarify what threat detection is and how it is evolving to deal with advanced attacks, sophisticated adversaries, and limited resources. Not to worry – we haven’t become the latest security Chicken Little, warning everyone that the sky is falling. Mostly because it fell a long time ago, and we have been picking up the pieces ever since. It can be exhausting to chase alert after alert, never really knowing which are false positives and which indicate real active adversaries in your environment. Something has to change. We need to advance the practice of detection, to provide better and more actionable alerts. This requires thinking more broadly about detection, and starting to integrate the various different security monitoring systems in use today. Our Threat Detection Evolution paper starts by reviewing security data collection, including both internal and external data sources that can facilitate detection efforts. Next we discuss how to use that data ti reliably figure out what is an attack. We wrap up by going through th process, using a quick wins scenario to show the concepts in action. We would like to thank AlienVault for licensing the content in this paper. Our unique Totally Transparent Research model allows us to do objective and useful research and still make ends meet, so you should thank them too. Download: Threat Detection Evolution (PDF) Share:

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