Perimeter
7/18/2012
02:26 PM
50%
50%

Risks Deferred Are Risks Accepted

Decisions to delay compliance and security efforts do not delay the risks

The client did something I’ve seen many times before. The staff considered addressing obvious compliance and security issues, and then decided to postpone that work. While they said they were simply going to push the work back a few months, as typically happens, the postponement became indefinite.

Or perhaps more accurately, the postponement will be indefinite until a costly problem exposes these ignored risks as real, costly and immediate.

Like most clients, they claimed a number of reasons to postpone this work: cash flow, timing, budget restrictions, pending new projects, disruption to other projects, and the time required by management and staff.

Sounding sincere about their need to address these compliance and security issues, clients say, “This is going to be a lot of work, and we need to take care of other matters first so we can better focus on this with less distraction.”

Yet despite claiming to believe compliance and security work is important, clients usually minimize their concerns about risk. After all, they say, as they’ve grown their business, the risks have never materialized, and they really need to put their cash into the growth of the business.

As a business owner, I realize there are times you must make risky decisions. I know there are times where you do have to postpone important work because of something as simple as cash flow or lack of manpower. However, these risky decisions should be made with a sincere evaluation and acceptance of the risks, not by turning a convenient blind-eye and manufacturing emotional justification.

Too many leaders become overwhelmed by the size of the risks they have created -- or allowed to be created -- over time. When these issues become obvious, for whatever the reason, the most common response unfortunately is not to attack these risks full-blast or even to start whittling them down. No, the most common response is to push all these risks into the back of a dark closet where they can be ignored, where they can be put out of sight and out of mind.

Business leaders who decide to defer addressing real security and compliance risks must understand they are essentially self-insuring this risk. They have accepted the risks, even if that acceptance is by default or denial.

If a problem develops from these ignored compliance and security risks, it will be the business that pays the cost, whether it be cash, distraction, reputation, and, perhaps even, sanctions. Perhaps some risks are worth taking, but in most cases I see few leaders acknowledge the true risks and actual consequences. Apparently ignorance is bliss even when the ignorance is by choice.

Glenn S. Phillips, the president of Forte' Incorporated, works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks within. He is the author of the book Nerd-to-English and you can find him on twitter at @NerdToEnglish.

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
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9710
Published: 2015-05-27
The Btrfs implementation in the Linux kernel before 3.19 does not ensure that the visible xattr state is consistent with a requested replacement, which allows local users to bypass intended ACL settings and gain privileges via standard filesystem operations (1) during an xattr-replacement time windo...

CVE-2014-9715
Published: 2015-05-27
include/net/netfilter/nf_conntrack_extend.h in the netfilter subsystem in the Linux kernel before 3.14.5 uses an insufficiently large data type for certain extension data, which allows local users to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and OOPS) via outbound network traffic that trig...

CVE-2015-1157
Published: 2015-05-27
CoreText in Apple iOS 8.x through 8.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (reboot and messaging disruption) via crafted Unicode text that is not properly handled during display truncation in the Notifications feature, as demonstrated by Arabic characters in (1) an SMS message or (2)...

CVE-2015-2666
Published: 2015-05-27
Stack-based buffer overflow in the get_matching_model_microcode function in arch/x86/kernel/cpu/microcode/intel_early.c in the Linux kernel before 4.0 allows context-dependent attackers to gain privileges by constructing a crafted microcode header and leveraging root privileges for write access to t...

CVE-2015-2830
Published: 2015-05-27
arch/x86/kernel/entry_64.S in the Linux kernel before 3.19.2 does not prevent the TS_COMPAT flag from reaching a user-mode task, which might allow local users to bypass the seccomp or audit protection mechanism via a crafted application that uses the (1) fork or (2) close system call, as demonstrate...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
After a serious cybersecurity incident, everyone will be looking to you for answers -- but you’ll never have complete information and you’ll never have enough time. So in those heated moments, when a business is on the brink of collapse, how will you and the rest of the board room executives respond?