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Careers & People

12/12/2019
10:15 AM

Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets

Chris Kubic worked at the National Security Agency for the past 32 years, finishing his tenure as CISO. He talks about lessons learned during his time there and what they mean for the private sector.

Chris Kubic
Chris Kubic

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DouglasF354
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DouglasF354,
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12/13/2019 | 12:48:28 PM
Know your assets
The 'blue collar' control that is 'asset management' doesn't get the love it needs. And that critically undermines the CISO and the security program. The 'asset management' problem to cyber security is like the 'high blood pressure' problem that leads to stroke. It's quiet, often undetected, not discussed commensurate to the risk. And it's a security killer.
  1. The ability to do 'basic cyber hygiene' is undermined when it's difficult to get a proper fix on in-scope assets. Threats will find what you didn't.
  2. Of course, it costs more to be able to understand the asset-scape better. And that has been a difficult budget pitch and win for security. It's generally easier to win budget for that cool new tech than it is for what is perceived as general maintenance.
  3. More insidious is the strategic problem of connecting with executives and the board. Having robust asset inventories is tactically critical, but strategically the pitch needs to be focused on protection of big impact/ high value business assets. That is the bullseye to gain executive buy in. If you cannot robustly connect high value business assets strongly to the asset inventories, then you cannot confidently pitch a strong protection result to executives. And that undermines CISO success and confidence.
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