How Will The Extended Enterprise And Zero Trust Identities Impact Your Identity Administration Processes?

We regularly get inquiries from companies that feel the need to restructure their access controls to support extended enterprise user populations: firms have to support employees, contractors, business partners, customers and keep them contained to be able to access resources (applications, data, etc.) that they have a business need to access. Technology and protocols are catching up here: companies (and vendors too!) are moving to finally support SAML, OAuth and OpenID Connect in bulk. 

The real question, however, is not just access control, but it's also identity administration and attestation. How do you extend your internal provisioning of entitlements to your employees to your business partners or customers? What is the lifecycle of a data asset or piece of intellectual property in the broader ecosystem of identities? OAuth, Claims-based authorization or SAML attribute value injection will provide the infrastructure for enforcing policy decisions, but how do you extend your identity and access governance to the extended enterprise?

We see companies being interested and starting to build on the following to solve these challenges:

1.) Don't solve the problem but ingest a much richer context in your access control solutions (risk based authentication used for internal workforce user access, context variables being passed on to federated Relying Parties to understand that you're at a coffeehouse in a rogue country vs. you're logging in from your normal office and open up the general ledger with read/write access only if you're in your office).

2.) Providing increased delegated administration and attestation services from the cloud so business partners can also participate in these processes. This has been around for some time and will gain more popularity as firms need to remain compliant in the era of the extended enterprise.

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Avoid The Headlines, Focus On Corporate Culture

Guest post from Researcher Nick Hayes.

Chris and I recently published a report describing how to build risk and compliance principles into your company’s corporate culture. As we worked to finalize, edit, and publish the report, a flurry of new corporate scandals emerged, all related to this topic.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Wal-Mart executives accused of trying to hush up bribery cases in Mexico (article here).
  • A whistleblower accuses Infosys of engaging in a systematic practice of visa fraud (article here).
  • A former Goldman Sachs employee writes an op-ed for the New York Times blasting the company’s ethics (article here).
  • JP Morgan suffers a $2 billion trading loss due to “poorly monitored” trades (article here).
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My Threat Intelligence Can Beat Up Your Threat Intelligence

Have you ever been in a vendor meeting and heard the vendor extol the greatness of their threat intelligence?  You may have even seen a slide that looks similar to this:

The vendor probably proceeded to highlight the key differentiators that make their threat intelligence network stand second to none.  Bullets containing statistics like this surely followed:

  • Global coverage, in well over 100 countries
  • 50 million network devices
  • 50 billion web queries each month
  • 30 billion emails a month
  • 100 million users
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Kim Kardashian And APTs

On Wednesday, American footwear company Skechers agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission $40 million. This settlement resulted from a series of commercials that deceived consumers claiming that the Shape-Ups shoe line would “help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles.”  Professional celebrity Kim Kardashian appeared in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial personally endorsing the health benefits of these shoes.  

This settlement was part of an ongoing FTC campaign to “stop overhyped advertising claims.”  A similar effort would serve the information security community well.  For example, one particular claim that causes me frequent grief is: “solution X detects and prevents advanced persistent threats.”  It is hard, dare I say impossible, to work in information security and not have heard similar assertions. I have heard it twice this week already, and these claims make my brain hurt.

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Is The Time Right To Spread Your Risk?

For many years, security professionals have lived by the three pillars of risk management – AVOID, TREAT, ACCEPT.  These great tenets have served the profession well, enabling CISOs to build appropriately secure networks at a tolerable level of cost. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the litany of security breaches we have seen over the past 12 months, it’s clear that the landscape is changing.  More than ever before, security is clearly a ‘no-win’ game.

The high profile attackers, state-sponsored or otherwise, are one threat – but it goes deeper than this.  The keys to the kingdom are no longer in the hands of the generals and policy makers; their decisions and discussions are enabled by email, IM and IP telephony, all of which sit firmly in the domain of the IT department and system admin – and stressed, poorly paid employees do not make the ideal custodians of such critical information. As an example, Anonymous claims to have access to every classified government database in the US, but they didn’t hack them – disaffected system administrators and employees simply opened the doors for them, or sent them the access codes. 

As the broadening gap between our ambitions for a secure enterprise and our abilities to deliver on such a vision become self-evident, the time has come to pay equal attention to the poor cousin of risk management, “TRANSFER.”  For many CISOs, risk transference is a topic that is largely theoretical as, even when a task is outsourced, the risk associated with a breach commonly remains with the data owning organisation. Cyber insurance offers a different solution.

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Hackers Vs. Executives Is Back

Our next installment of "Hackers vs. Executives" is just weeks away.  Join us at the Forrester Security Forum and sit in on one of the most popular sessions of the event each year. We have a great panel lined up for you.  In the Hackers corner, we have Chase Cunningham of Neustar and Brian Gorenc of HP Tippingpoint DVLabs.  In his hacking demo, Chase will use social engineering, packaged exploit delivery, and credential harvesting to show you how open source data can create avenues for hackers to attack users and ultimately compromise your network.  In his hacking demo, Brian will provide an in-depth look at what it takes to analyze a vulnerability and the steps required to weaponize it.  Centering on a vulnerability in a Microsoft application, the demo will show you how an attacker can quickly move from proof-of-concept to remote code execution.

In the Executive corner, we have Richard Bejtlich of Mandiant and Steve Martino of Cisco Systems. Richard and Steve will discuss what these types of attacks mean to Security & Risk professionals, including how your organization can prepare and respond to them.  John Kindervag and I will moderate the panel. There will be great discussion and you will have the opportunity to ask questions of all of our panelists. It will be a fantastic session; one you won't want to miss.  Please join us in Las Vegas on May 25th from 11:05 to 12:40. Take a look at the Security Forum website for more details. John and I hope to see you there.

NASDAQ OMX Acquires BWise… Where Is GRC Headed?

Last week saw news that yet another top GRC software vendor has been acquired, following in the footsteps of Paisley, Archer, OpenPages, among others. BWise has always been an impressive vendor in the GRC space, so first off I think congratulations are in order for both parties.

That said, if you didn’t foresee NASDAQ getting into the GRC software space coming, don’t beat yourself up… after seeing the large technology vendors and content providers enter the space over the past 3 years, this wasn’t an obvious move. But looking a little deeper, NASDAQ’s move makes sense for a couple reasons:

-          NASDAQ’s target market cares about GRC. NASDAQ lists its target roles as marketing/corporate communications, board and corporate secretary, investor relations, and corporate finance. All of these roles have a vested interest in better controls, stronger risk management practices, and improved corporate governance.

-          BWise has always focused on the “G” of GRC. More than any other of the top GRC software vendors, BWise targeted governance professionals with capabilities such as entity management.

-          There are immediate integration possibilities. Among NASDAQ’s corporate solutions are products for board management, whistleblower reporting, and XBRL filing. BWise has a host of capabilities (issue management, process management, policy management, reporting, etc.) that could quickly add value to implementations of those products.

But, as always with a deal like this, both parties will have to show the market how they will address some key questions:

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From Customer To Channel Partner

 Even though it is not specific to security, this idea came to me while attending Dell’s Annual Analyst Conference (DAAC) in Austin, Texas two weeks ago. One of the hot topics discussed at the conference is the issue of bring your own device (BYOD). Dell recognizes this is a major trend and is looking for ways to remain true to its business-to-business DNA but still offer a competitive end-point solution with strong management and security capabilities. This is a problem for companies like Dell because a significant amount of revenue comes from corporate and not consumer sales, but BYOD is a consumer sale.

Not all is lost, however. As corporations move away from purchasing blocks of PCs for their employees, they will still have the capability to influence their employees to purchase certain equipment. The value for the employer is that they can still have some visibility to the types of equipment employees will use. The employee wins because they have assurances that the equipment they purchase has been vetted with some level of assurance that there is compliance with company systems.

What this means is that organizations will need to treat their former business customers as channel partners. I can envision scenarios where device makers provide their former customer marketing funds and special incentive funds (SPIFs) to encourage employees to buy their equipment. They will also be willing to offer the end user customer/employee a volume discount for employees for purchasing specific equipment. All of the major cell phone providers provide this type of program. PC makers, but also other types of device makers, need to start looking at their former customers as channel partners.

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CISOs Must Act As The Glue Between BC, DR, And Security

During the past three years, you may have noticed that security and risk professionals have added a new term to their lexicon – business resiliency. Is this just an attempt by vendors to rebrand business continuity (BC) and IT disaster recovery (DR) in much the same way that vendors rebranded information security as cybersecurity to make it seem sexier and to sell more of their existing products? Some of it certainly is rebranding. However, like the shift in the threat landscape from lone hackers to well-funded crime syndicates and state sponsored agents that precipitated the use of the term cybersecurity, a real shift has also taken place in BC/DR.

If you look up the term “resiliency” in the dictionary, it’s defined as “an occurrence of rebounding or springing back”. Thus, business resiliency refers to the ability of a business to spring back from a disruption to its operations. Historically, BC/DR focused on the ability of the business to recover from a disruption. Recovery implies that there was in fact a disruption, that for some period of time, business operations were unavailable, there was downtime as the business strove to recover. Resiliency, on the other hand, implies that an event may have affected the business’ operations, perhaps the business operated in a diminished state for some period of time, but operations were never completely unavailable, the business was never down.

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Active Directory Moving To The Cloud?

We hear a lot about cloud IAM vendors offering metadirectories or user repositories in the cloud. We predict that in 1-2 years we'll see AD being moved from on-premises installations into cloud based services. This has a benefit of simpler provisioning, higher availability, muc, much easier support for federation both into SaaS applications and with business partners. Today the only technical difficulty is latency of access to AD in the cloud from on-premises applications, but we believe this will be resolved by some type of customer premises equipment (much like the reverse of Symplified's Identity Router today).  Moving AD into the cloud will also have a huge impact on reducing the cost of AD management and improving delegated administration by providing easy-to-use web interfaces.