President Obama Cares About Records Management – Do You?

Last week, following on President Obama’s memorandum on managing government records, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a records management (RM) directive. The directive affects all US government executive departments and agencies and applies to all federal records.

This significant effort to reform RM policies and practices includes a focus on digital government with a requirement to eliminate paper and use electronic recordkeeping where feasible, manage both permanent and temporary email records electronically, and take steps to demonstrate compliance with federal RM statutes and regulations such as designating a senior official to oversee RM programs and proving appropriate training.

The directive also identifies specific actions that will be taken by NARA and other agencies to support federal government records management programs. Critically, these include revised guidance for transferring permanent electronic records; email guidance; research into automated management of email, social media, and other types of digital record content; and embedding RM needs into cloud architectures. Further, it calls for investigating secure cloud-based service options to store and manage unclassified electronic records, and a series of steps to promote partnerships and better serve agencies.

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Managed Service Market Is Growing – Come On In, The Water’s Fine!

I reported that the managed security services market is growing in our recent Forrester Wave™ covering North American managed security service providers. Trustwave just issued a press release that announced 148% sales growth. This is a significant number in anyone’s book. It does point to the increased growth we are seeing as more and more firms consider and adopt managed services to handle some or all of their security requirements.

You can check out Trustwave’s press release here, and the Forrester Wave research hereThe Forrester Wave™: Managed Security Services: North America, Q1 2012 - The Nine Service Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up.

Security professionals now realize they can trust their information security requirements to third-party service providers.

CISOs Need To CYA - 'Comprehend Your Assets'

I recently went for coffee with a very interesting gentleman who had previously been responsible for threat and vulnerability management in a global bank – our conversation roamed far and wide but kept on circling back to one or two core messages – the real fundamental principles of information security. One of these principles was “know your assets.”

Asset management is something that many CISO tend to skip over, often in the belief that information assets are managed by the business owners and hardware assets are closely managed by IT. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that either of these beliefs is true to any great extent.

Take, for example, Anonymous’ recent hack of a forgotten VM server within AAPT’s outsourced infrastructure. VM "sprawl" is one of the key risks that Forrester discusses, and this appears to be a classic example – a virtual server created in haste and soon forgotten about. Commonly, as these devices fall off asset lists, they get neglected – malware and patching updates are skipped and backups are overlooked – yet they still exist on the network. It’s the perfect place for an attacker to sit unnoticed and, if the device exists in a hosted environment, it can also have the negative economic impact of monthly cost and license fees. One anecdote I heard was of a system administrator who, very cautiously and very successfully, disabled around 200 orphaned virtual servers in his organisation – with no negative business impact whatsoever.

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Large Telecoms Offer A Full Menu Of Security Services, But Not Without A Little Indigestion

Guest Post From Researcher Chris Sherman

 Last month, Ed and I spent a couple days in Paris with Orange's management team for their annual analyst event. Overall I was impressed with Orange’s innovation in business service offerings as well as their extensive global reach. Many of the large telecoms (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) have had to and very much want to expand their business offerings. The telecoms clearly see platform-as-a-service as the natural extension of their core telecom business. Just selling bandwidth is no longer sufficient for these companies, which is in fact now a commodity business. Orange is no exception. This evolution in the telecom business model has been successful due to the industry’s ability to:

  • Offer endpoint and network security optimization solutions coherent with their existing bandwidth business. With their unique vantage point over the network, the telecoms are ideally placed to deliver “clean pipe” Internet service by stopping outside network threats before they reach their customers’ endpoints. For instance, Orange’s DDoS protection service can leverage their large global footprint and control over the infrastructure to gather intelligence and exercise defensive measures farther up the stack than most of their non-telecom competitors.
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Identity Protocol Gut Check

Protocol gut check. That's how someone recently described some research I've got under way for a report we're calling the "TechRadar™ for Security Pros: Zero Trust Identity Standards," wherein we'll assess the business value-add of more than a dozen identity-related standards and open protocols. But it's also a great name for an episode of angst that recently hit the IAM blogging world, beginning with Eran Hammer's public declaration that OAuth 2.0 -- for which he served as a spec editor -- is "bad."

As you might imagine, our TechRadar examination will include OAuth; I take a lot of inquiries and briefings in which it figures prominently, and I've been bullish on it for a long time. In this post, I'd like to share some thoughts on this episode with respect to OAuth 2.0's value to security and risk pros. As always, if you have further thoughts, please share them with me in the comments or on Twitter.

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Observations From Black Hat - More Defense Please

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 15th annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. I have attended DEFCON in the past, but never Black Hat. The conference has grown significantly each year, and judging by the size of the expo floor, the vendors understand its significance. I enjoyed the conference and had great conversations with practitioners and vendors alike. Here are some observations from two of the sessions that I attended:

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