Perimeter
2/14/2012
11:11 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Being A Security Bully Does Not Make You Compliant

Compliance is not a tool for dodging work or dismissing business needs

Working with large organizations that have large IT staffs, we often encounter who I call “Security Bullies.” These people use compliance as a weapon against everyone, building a bureaucratic infrastructure that is their own private kingdom. While the Security Bully might be an individual, it is more common that the entire IT staff has taken on this behavior.

One easy sign to tell whether you have a Security Bully is the use of compliance as a way to deny most requests for support or changes (or sometimes even help). Even worse, Bullies use compliance as a means to say “no” without having to develop meaningful solutions.

For example, my team developed and supports the software used to operate one specialized department of a large medical center. The software is used for both business and logistical purposes. Some patient data is involved, so HIPAA is applicable. Citing security and compliance requirements, the medical center’s IT staff now exclusively manages the server where the application and database resides.

Recently there was a problem we traced to be a likely issue on the database server. (I say likely, of course, because even though we reproduced the problem and solution on our test server, one only proves a theory by actually solving the problem.)

While it was somewhat obscure, we found a documented database server issue that matched our problem. A hot patch for the server was available to address the problem. Without clearance to work directly on the server, we gave the client’s IT staff our suggested solution and how we arrived at it.

The response back was a detailed list of reasons why the hot patch could not be installed on the server, many of them being security, department, and regulatory rules, without any alternate plan, option, or offer of assistance for the department.

On closer examination, this reply turned out to be a list of excuses to avoid dealing with the department’s problem, since some of their arguments against the hot patch were within their ability and authority to address.

Once I politely reminded the IT staff that their rules prohibited us from direct work on this server and that ultimately it was their responsibility to keep the system working, their rules quickly became more flexible. They installed the patch quickly -- and without even running it on a test server first.

I found the omission of a test server step particularly interesting. When they thought we would have to do all of the work, their list of requirements prior to hot patch installation included setup of another test server (in addition to the one we had in our office). Apparently "the rules" changed once it became their work.

I share this story not to complain, but as a reminder. It is easy to become so focused on compliance and security that we forget the purpose of the organization or the support role of IT. Compliance is important, but it is not a tool for dodging inquiries or work, particularly when the requests are important to an organization's ability to function well.

Glenn S. Phillips, the president of Forte' Incorporated, works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within.

Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-3946
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco IOS before 15.3(2)S allows remote attackers to bypass interface ACL restrictions in opportunistic circumstances by sending IPv6 packets in an unspecified scenario in which expected packet drops do not occur for "a small percentage" of the packets, aka Bug ID CSCty73682.

CVE-2012-5723
Published: 2014-04-24
Cisco ASR 1000 devices with software before 3.8S, when BDI routing is enabled, allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted (1) broadcast or (2) multicast ICMP packets with fragmentation, aka Bug ID CSCub55948.

CVE-2013-6738
Published: 2014-04-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM SmartCloud Analytics Log Analysis 1.1 and 1.2 before 1.2.0.0-CSI-SCALA-IF0003 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via an invalid query parameter in a response from an OAuth authorization endpoint.

CVE-2014-0188
Published: 2014-04-24
The openshift-origin-broker in Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2.0.5, 1.2.7, and earlier does not properly handle authentication requests from the remote-user auth plugin, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and impersonate arbitrary users via the X-Remote-User header in a request to...

CVE-2014-2391
Published: 2014-04-24
The password recovery service in Open-Xchange AppSuite before 7.2.2-rev20, 7.4.1 before 7.4.1-rev11, and 7.4.2 before 7.4.2-rev13 makes an improper decision about the sensitivity of a string representing a previously used but currently invalid password, which allows remote attackers to obtain potent...

Best of the Web