Posts Tagged ‘security’

The security opportunity in Digital

Four years ago I discussed some of the characteristics of cyber security that made the use of the term useful, this was at a time when the use of cyber security was widely derided by practitioners of IT security and Information Security. One of the common complaints was that Cyber was just the same things we had already been doing re-branded to seem ‘cool’. As time has moved on the practices of cyber have become clearer, the use of threat intelligence, the development of threat hunting, the increased focused on incident response, the wide deployment of behavioural analytics etc. As is the case early adopters knew they were solving new problems in a new way but the articulation of meaning to the later adopters has needed a body of activity and emerging practices to clarify how cyber security overlaps with but also differs from the other predecessor disciplines IT and Information Security (both of which are still going strong and are still necesary).

Another buzzword appeared soon after cyber and that was Digital. Digital is a customer-focused technology-first approach to business that again looked just like what we were doing before in technology and business activities. Over time practices have emerged, agile development, devops, infrastructure automation, cloud, mobile, social etc that have started defining what the early adopters really meant when they said Digital.

Digital lies in the intersection of velocity, scale and complexity.

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Cyber Resilience: Part Five What next?

Cyber resistance clearly requires leadership and operational intervention from specialised cyber professionals.  However, Cyber Resilience requires a broader institutional response that encompasses all aspects of the business.  As such, it needs to be owned by the entire executive management of an organisation.

The Department encourages all institutions to view cyber security as an integral aspect of their overall risk management strategy, rather than solely as a subset of information technology.” Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, New York State Department of Financial Services, December 2014

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Cyber Resilience: Part Four Companies’ Plans Must Include Both Resistance and Resilience

Resistance to cyber attack is undoubtedly valuable and can produce effective outcomes. However, resistance is expensive and there is a law of diminishing returns on the investments made in resistance, Moreover, because the preparations and mitigations employed in resisting attacks are often specific to particular, point-in-time threats, ongoing resistance is both complex and fragile — unexpected shifts in attacker tactics can bypass existing defences and leave organisations struggling to deploy new controls at an appropriate pace. Faced with the total capabilities of nation-state attackers or state-sponsored cybercriminals, many organisations are unable to deploy effective controls quickly enough or spend enough money to completely mitigate the totality of the threats they face.

“Financial firms should assume they will be subject to destructive attacks and develop capabilities and procedures to resume operations. Financial firms also need to be ready to quickly restore computer networks and technology-enabled operations in response to known or unforeseen threats that could cause catastrophic disruption.” Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) 2015 Annual Report

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Measuring Black Boxes, part one

I have been attempting to capture the process or to be more accurate the heuristics of how I analyse security architectures. This was originally driven by the time it took me to document my conclusions and the lack of any particularly well-suited tooling but has increasingly become an attempt to communicate the method to other security architects. I also have a sneaking suspicion that a useful chunk of the process could be automated.

Due to the scale and complexity of many of the systems I have worked with a large part of the process has been to decompose a system and measure and characterise it’s components. This allows me to identify high risk areas of the system to focus my efforts.

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We need to talk about IT

It has long been a truism of security practitioners that security is not an IT problem. This is an attempt to lift the gaze of the security team from technology to the wider business. A laudable and useful goal. However, IT is a security problem.
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