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Comments
The State of IT Security: Its Broken
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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/16/2013 | 12:17:15 PM
Tailored approach
John, your indictment of the security industry -- and your call to action about taking advantage of technology that is available NOW to reduce risk is quite compelling. But I also wonder if there is also a knowledge gap withiin the InfoSec community. Do practitioners have the analytical skills to make the analytical judgements to develop the tailored approach you advocate? 
danielcawrey
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2013 | 2:33:03 PM
Re: Tailored approach
I like this dynamic vs. static approach. If everyone is conducting security in the same way, then how is it even possible to properly be on top of risks? Malicious actors, in this way, have a window that allows them to simply go against the grain of samenes. It's time to think differently. 
JohnPirc
JohnPirc,
User Rank: Author
12/19/2013 | 10:06:02 PM
Re: Tailored approach
Thank you Daniel and I couldn't agree with you more.
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2013 | 2:36:45 PM
Re: Tailored approach
John, my question is related to Marilyn's, I believe. Are you suggesting this analysis be done as an automated process? It seems like it would need to be in order to be current and dynamic. In my experience, security pros tend to distrust most types of automated systems.
JohnPirc
JohnPirc,
User Rank: Author
12/19/2013 | 10:34:15 PM
Re: Tailored approach
Thank you Susan. The analysis needs to be performed in real or near-real time.  I agree with your point that most security pros tend to distrust automated systems. I use to think the same way about automated systems and that was something that I learned from the industry as a best practice.  The question I would ask is: "how is that working for you today?".  I don't mean that to sound harsh but we have to do something different and approach the problem from a different angle. 
Susan Fogarty
Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/23/2013 | 12:55:21 PM
Re: Tailored approach
John, Thanks for your response. I believe the distrust of automation is something IT folks are going to need to reach beyond in order to progress. In order to keep up with the pace of modern day threats and even simple business processing speed, we can't rely on manual human reaction time anymore.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
12/16/2013 | 3:53:07 PM
Re: Tailored approach
Suggesting security is broken impies that it can be fixed, that some state of perfect security will be achieved. I doubt that's possible (and were it possible, it would be subverted by the NSA, for the sake of national security). The best we can hope for is to keep pace with malware innovation and to remain vigilant enough that some other organization gets attacked.
anon5605928117
anon5605928117,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2013 | 9:34:33 AM
Re: Tailored approach
While it may not be fixable, certainly the conceit that individuals can memorize a hundred different long random passwords (provided they remember their incompatible userIDs) is as irrational as Mr. Spock's surprise when people act like people.    We need to understand people first.
JohnPirc
JohnPirc,
User Rank: Author
12/19/2013 | 10:47:06 PM
Re: Tailored approach
Thank you Thomas. I would have to disagree with you.  I'm not advocating "perfect security" but a reasonable pragmatic approach to the problem.  If we rely on "hope" and remain vigilant with current security practices than we will never keep pace with the threat.
JohnPirc
JohnPirc,
User Rank: Author
12/19/2013 | 10:04:06 PM
Re: Tailored approach
Thank you Marilyn. Sorry for the delayed response...I've been traveling. I think you will always have knowledge gaps within any industry.  I think practitioners have the skills to adopt my approach.  The biggest hurdle is doing something that seems radically different from current defensive approaches. I will admit that what I wrote just scratches the surface and I plan on adding even more context after the Holiday break with a white paper.   
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/20/2013 | 7:29:11 AM
Re: Tailored approach -- change is hard!
I'm glad to hear that what you're advocating doesn't require a ginoromous jump in skills for security practitioners, John. But I agree that change is hard and it will be challenging for many people and organizations to move off the status quo to a variable risk model  that is radically different.

For readers, I'm curious:  What do you think would be the hardest aspect of shifting from a static to a dynamic security risk assessmsent strategy?
Stratustician
Stratustician,
User Rank: Moderator
12/16/2013 | 8:01:20 PM
What about the data?
I'm surprised that no one brought up one of the key fundamentals of security that would help (hopefully) reduce a lot of the complexity of securing data: asset identification.  I personally find that a lot of the confusion and security points of failure relate to not understanding what data exists, where it is, and how it is used.  It seems like a basic idea that if we have a good idea about what we have, we can build better security policies around it instead of trying to protect everything by throwing everything and anything at the problem and hoping nothing gets through.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/17/2013 | 3:34:04 PM
Re: What about the data?
That's a great point Stratustician, about classifying data in order to know how to protect it. In fact, I have a columnist who will be writing about that topic very soon. (So stay tuned!)

In the meantime, maybe you can share some of your experiences dealing with data classification & security -- good and bad!

 
JohnPirc
JohnPirc,
User Rank: Author
12/19/2013 | 10:52:41 PM
Re: What about the data?
Thank you Stratustician.  I couldn't agree with you more on data identification and classification.  Having an understanding of where data resides and the value of that data is more than half the battle.  This goes hand and hand with knowing your attack surface. I didn't want to boil the ocean in this paper but you bring up very good points that should not be overlooked!


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