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Risk

2/15/2011
01:20 AM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Successful Security: It Is In The Details

Security is both hard to do right, and easy to make the simple mistakes that could jeopardize the security of most any organization. It may be a mistake that comprises of being a single digit off. And that one number could be the difference between a secure network and one that is readily breached. That was the overriding message in a Security B-Sides Conference presentation given today by Mike Lloyd, chief scientist at security software maker Red Seal Systems.

Security is both hard to do right, and easy to make the simple mistakes that could jeopardize the security of most any organization. It may be a mistake that comprises of being a single digit off. And that one number could be the difference between a secure network and one that is readily breached. That was the overriding message in a Security B-Sides Conference presentation given today by Mike Lloyd, chief scientist at security software maker Red Seal Systems."Manually maintaining network security is very difficult," said Lloyd. "Especially if you are asking people to look at reams of listings of numbers, it's just not something people are good at," he said.

In his presentation he offered real-world examples of how security and network teams can make errors that can go unnoticed for weeks, months, and years. One of the examples he showed an actual customer's network configuration that showed how a partner could connect to virtually any port on the company's network. That connection – a serious vulnerability – should only had of permitted access to a specific service on one specific port. Lloyd explained how it took himself and another security expert a significant amount of time to find the error that was caused by a single keyword that was omitted from the firewall rule-set.

His presentation showed slide after slide of how the simplest of network layer errors could lead to a considerable breach.

My take-away: while it's important to focus on the high-level security strategy, it's just as important to make certain the minute details of your network infrastructure are configured properly. Because a single mistake can blow a hole in the side of the best laid security plans.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter as @georgevhulme.

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