Security Hygiene: The First Line of Security

After many decades as security professionals, it’s depressing to keep seeing the same issues and mistakes. It feels like we’re stuck in hacker Groundhog Day. Get up, clean up the mistakes made by users or administrators, handle a new attack, and fill out compliance reports, only to have to do it all over again the next day. The most basic advice we give anyone building a security program is to make sure you handle the fundamentals well. You remember security fundamentals, right? Things like ensuring visibility for every asset, and maintaining a strong security configuration and posture for those assets. You also need to patch systems efficiently and effectively when vendors issue updates. In this Security Hygiene: The First Line of Security paper, we’ll provide a reminder as to the importance of the fundamentals and present a process to ensure you can fix issues efficiently and effectively. Our research is licensed by companies that understand the need to keep their communities not just at the cutting edge of technology, but to do it securely. We thank our friends at Oracle for licensing this report. Our research is done using our Totally Transparent research methodology. This allows us to do impactful research while protecting our integrity. Download the paper (PDF). Share:

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Security Monitoring State of the Union

A few years ago we wrote a paper called Security Monitoring Team of Rivals, which really highlighted the reality that you had to make your SIEM and security analytics products work together. The analytics platforms could not provide the broader capabilities delivered by the SIEM, especially in the areas of compliance and incident response. And the SIEM wasn’t really built to do higher end analytics, and it showed when trying to do anything but fairly simple correlation. Oh, how the times have changed. We’ve seen a pretty dramatic evolution of features on both sides of the discussion. And shockingly enough, all of the players in the market are positioning to provide the strategic platform for security monitoring. We see existing SIEM players bundling in security analytics capabilities, and security analytics players positioning their products as next-generation SIEM. As usual, customers are caught in the middle, trying to figure out what is the truth and what is marketing puffery. So in this Security Monitoring State of the Union paper, we delve into the use cases driving the need for security monitoring, the product/service requirements that emerge from these use cases, and the buying process to choose your security monitoring platform. As always our research is licensed by forward-looking companies that realize the importance of educating their communities on the rapidly changing technology landscape. Our friends at McAfee have licensed this report. 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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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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Invent Security Review

It’s that time of year again. The time when Amazon takes over our lives. No, not the holiday shopping season but the annual re:Invent conference where Amazon Web Services takes over Las Vegas (really, all of it) and dumps a firehouse of updates on the world. Listen in to hear our take on new services like Transit Hub, Security Hub, and Control Tower. Share:

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Firestarter: Hardware Hacks and Lift and Pray

Did China manage to hardware hack the Apple and Amazon data centers? Or did Bloomberg get it wrong? And what the heck can you do about it anyway? This week we start with a discussion of today’s blockbuster security news, before shifting gears back to cloud. It turns out most organizations are having to lift and shift to cloud, even when that is not ideal. We talk about some of your options, even facing ridiculous management timelines. Share:

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It’s a GDPR Thing

Mike and Rich discuss the ugly reality that GDPR really is a thing. Not that privacy or even GDPR are bad (we’re all in favor), but they do require extra work on our part to ensure that policies are in place, audits are performed, and pesky data isn’t left lying around in log files unexpectedly. Share:

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Evolving to Security Decision Support

Not that it was ever really easy, but at least you used to know what tactics adversaries were using, and had a general idea of where they would end up, because you knew where your important data was, and which (single) type of device normally accessed it: the PC. It’s hard to believe we now long for the days of early PCs and centralized data repositories. Given the changes in the attack surface and capabilities of adversaries, you need a better way to assess your organization’s security posture, detect attacks, and determine applicable methods to work around and eventually remediate exposures in your environment. We believe that way is called Security Decision Support. It starts with enterprise visibility, so you know which of your assets are where and what potential attacks they may see. Then you apply more rigorous analytics to the security data you collect to understand what’s happening right now. Finally you use integrate your knowledge of your technology environment, what attackers are doing in the wild, and telemetry from your organization, to consistently and predictably make decisions about what needs to get done. What you need is a better way to assess your organizational security posture, determine when you are under attack, and figure out how to make the pain stop. This requires a combination of technology, process changes, and clear understanding of how your technology infrastructure is evolving. This papers delve into these concepts to show how to gain both visibility and context – so you can understand both what you have to do and why. Security Decision Support enables you to prioritize the thousands of things you can do, enabling you to zero in on the few you must. We’d like to thank Tenable for licensing this content. The support of forward-thinking companies who use our content to educate their communities enables 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 (PDF). Share:

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Firestarter: The RSA 2018 Episode

This week Rich, Mike, and Adrian talk about what they expect to see at the RSA Security Conference, and if it really means anything. As we do in most of our RSA Conference related discussions the focus is less on what to see and more on what industry trends we can tease out, and the potential impact on the regular security practitioner. For example, what happens when blockchain and GDPR collide? Do security vendors finally understand cloud? What kind of impact does DevOps have on the security market? Plus we list where you can find us, and, as always, don’t forget to attend the Tenth Annual Disaster Recovery Breakfast! Share:

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Firestarter: Best Practices for Root Account Security and… SQRRL!!!!

Just because we are focusing on cloud fundamentals doesn’t mean we are forgetting the rest of the world. This week we start with a discussion over the latest surprise acquisition of Sqrrl by Amazon Web Services and what it might indicate. Then we jump into our ongoing series of posts on cloud security by focusing on the best practices for root account security. From how to name the email accounts, to handling MFA, to your break glass procedures. Share:

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