Risk
11/20/2013
09:06 AM
Ed Amoroso
Ed Amoroso
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

The New Security Architecture

Recent high profile attacks reflect a new reality in which perimeter-based security models are increasingly less effective in protecting key corporate assets and information.

Over the past 18 months, many corporations have been forcefully introduced to a new era of highly visible security events, from large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to social media account takeovers. To those outside the security community, this may feel like a sudden assault on the world’s organizations, but these attacks are merely the tip of an iceberg that has been growing inside enterprise networks for more than two decades.

What lies beneath
Since businesses first opened up their networks with Internet gateways in the early 1990s, we’ve seen security administration become increasingly distributed, enterprise perimeters become less effective, and frantic protections impede user experience. For organizations realistic enough to accept that their perimeter no longer protects key assets and intellectual property, there is a new model for enterprise security that brings together mobile devices, identity and access management, virtual private networks, and cloud infrastructure.  

However, this new model requires security teams to rethink their reliance on traditional firewalls and adopt a new paradigm better suited to protecting against ever more sophisticated and stealthy threats such as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). Audits and certifications will also have to be redesigned and businesses will need to prioritize their protection decisions.

Management priorities 
Understanding where to reduce, maintain, or increase security investments will be critical to mounting an effective defense against the next evolution of threats. Reducing investments in legacy systems, including perimeter-based firewalls, untethers essential resources that support the trajectory of today’s business transformations into mobile and the cloud. Maintaining existing protections while transitioning to advanced architectures is important, but adding more sandbags to traditional perimeter strategies will provide limited return.  

The challenge, then, for senior management and audit teams, is to focus protection efforts on the most critical resources. But this strategy will require a major change in thinking since the most basic tenet of today’s corporate audit involves testing controls to ensure 100 percent compliance with corporate policy. This mentality needs to change so businesses can prioritize investments on protections that will yield the best possible security posture. Forward-thinking security teams are already heavily invested in network-based protection, and are increasing investments in virtual security operations. 

Securing mobile business
For now, the most pressing security needs for most businesses include the rise of BYOD, mobile threats, and the cloud.  Other threats include the ever-increasing sophistication of DDoS attacks and APTs. Network-based protections, also known as cloud-based protections, are minimal defenses against all of these threats because of the network visibility required to detect and mitigate them.  

With the network as the foundation, security teams can then create security “zones” to provide customized levels and types of protection for each asset based on its individual risk profile. For example, access to an asset categorized as high risk could require device level controls, multi-factor identity authentication, VPN/secure tunnels, and API verification. Access to a low-risk asset could be managed with fewer controls.

Look up to the cloud
The future of cybersecurity will be virtualized, moving management and threat detection to the cloud. When deployed properly, the cloud provides several critical security advantages over perimeter-based models including greater automation, self-tailoring, and self-healing characteristics of virtualized security. In this new architecture, identify and access management should be viewed as primary controls enabling the cloud to become the platform for enterprise security. This approach allows security teams to decouple security software from hardware and deliver on-demand protection rapidly and flexibly via APIs. 

Do you see the demise of traditional perimeter-based security in your organization any time soon? Let’s chat about what that will mean in the comments. 

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
11/20/2013 | 10:03:18 AM
Investment priorites
Ed, You paint a pretty sobering picture for IT security executives & the new paradigm you describe will clearly require a major shift in thinking. What are some suggestions on  how IT senior management and audit teams  should start to refocus protection their efforts?  Your point noting that "the most basic tenet of today's corporate audit involves testing controls to ensure 100 percent compliance with corporate policy" sounds to me like it wil l be to be a heavy lift.

 
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 10:08:05 AM
Compliance vs. security
I was left wondering by the statement about audit requirements focusing too much on compliance issues. Is that in conflict with the security imprerative for some reason? Or you just saying that security needs to be given an even higher priority?
Susan Fogarty
50%
50%
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 11:51:42 AM
Re: Compliance vs. security
David, my interpretation was that the strict focus on compliance is taking away from organizations' ability to protect their most critical/sensitive resources, which Ed notes should be the goal. 

Another point I found really interesting was the statement that "cloud-based protections are minimal defenses against all of these threats because of the network visibility required to detect and mitigate them." I was surprised to hear that coming from AT&T. Is there no hope for network-operator-based security improvements to help screen out more of the threats?
Kim Davis
50%
50%
Kim Davis,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 12:12:47 PM
Re: Compliance vs. security
I've been hearing healthcare IT professionals recently describing how they're torn between the need to release patient data to patients, security concerns, and compliance issues.  It's a minefield.
JerryJ
50%
50%
JerryJ,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 1:21:33 PM
Compliance Testing Doesn't Go Away
Ed, you wrote "...most basic tenet of today's corporate audit involves testing controls to ensure 100 percent compliance with corporate policy. This mentality needs to change..." It may be semantics, but I respectfully disagree. You always need to test controls. Too often, in my experience, an adversary has take advantage of a failed control that was thought to be in place. That said, you need to be certain you've selected and implemented the correct controls to begin with, recognizing that the technologies we deploy and the motives, skills and modus operandi of the adversary are ever evolving.

You finished your thought with "...so businesses can prioritize investments on protections that will yield the best possible security posture." This I agree with 100%. I was once on a panel speaking on risk management and was asked, "so does risk management eliminate the need for the compliance checklist?" My reply was, "No. Risk management is a way to prioritize the compliance checklist." I would also add that risk management is a way to evolve the compliance checklist.
Susan Fogarty
50%
50%
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 6:04:42 PM
Re: Compliance Testing Doesn't Go Away
Jerry, I like your analysis. The problem comes when companies equate compliance with security and think if they are complaint, then everything will be fine. But there are a lot of other protections that may be needed. A risk assessment should point those out.
BillatDellSoftware
50%
50%
BillatDellSoftware,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 8:25:04 AM
Determining risk calue
Ed, this is an excellent article insofar as it looks at the changing IT landscape and how that impacts security in the enterprise both today and in the future.  I work for Dell Software and spend a good deal of time speaking with customers who are experiencing very similar challenges.  One of the topics I would like to hear more about from you is how you go about prioritizing assets.  You mention in the article that you need to invest more to protect "high value" assets than you do for "lower value" assets.  How do you go about determining those risk values?  Do you allow the business to classify apps and content?  Do you have an automated tool that strives to check each document and assign risk to it?
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
11/21/2013 | 10:15:11 AM
Re: Determining risk calue
These are all great questions about prioritizing assets and determining risk, Bill. Let's throw them out to the security community to see what risk management strategies and tactics are working and not working in their respective organizations.

Also want to point you to Dave Kearns' column: Understanding IT Risk Management In 4 Steps X 3, which outlines a risk management matrix that combines the probability of harm and the severity of harm. 
BillatDellSoftware
50%
50%
BillatDellSoftware,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 10:29:35 AM
Re: Determining risk calue
Marilyn, Thanks for the tip on the Dave K article.  I really like the last line: "Over the longer term, the only alternative to risk management is crisis management, and crisis management is much more embarrassing, expensive and time consuming." 

We are providing Dave a review of our IAM business in a few weeks.  I'll be sure to bring this one up.  Thanks!

 
Ed Amoroso
50%
50%
Ed Amoroso,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2013 | 1:04:12 PM
Re: Investment priorites
Marilyn, I think an important first step for senior management is ensuring that CSOs are bringing a solid foundation of networking and cybersecurity expertise to audit discussions. In the future, I expect we'll see more highly technical security professionals sporting PhDs and a deep understanding of networks, infrastructure, and devices. These technical experts know the importance of adopting threat detection and mitigation practices, rather than putting all the organization's time and energy into compliance.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0972
Published: 2014-08-01
The kgsl graphics driver for the Linux kernel 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, does not properly prevent write access to IOMMU context registers, which allows local users to select a custom page table, and consequently write ...

CVE-2014-2627
Published: 2014-08-01
Unspecified vulnerability in HP NonStop NetBatch G06.14 through G06.32.01, H06 through H06.28, and J06 through J06.17.01 allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges for NetBatch job execution via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3009
Published: 2014-08-01
The GDS component in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management - Collaborative Edition 10.0 through 11.0 and InfoSphere Master Data Management Server for Product Information Management 9.0 and 9.1 does not properly handle FRAME elements, which makes it easier for remote authenticated users to conduct ph...

CVE-2014-3302
Published: 2014-08-01
user.php in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server 1.5(.1.131) and earlier does not properly implement the token timer for authenticated encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCuj81708.

CVE-2014-3534
Published: 2014-08-01
arch/s390/kernel/ptrace.c in the Linux kernel before 3.15.8 on the s390 platform does not properly restrict address-space control operations in PTRACE_POKEUSR_AREA requests, which allows local users to obtain read and write access to kernel memory locations, and consequently gain privileges, via a c...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio