THE MSSP MARKET IS GROWING MORE SOLID AND STABLE

Forrester's 26-criteria evaluation of managed security service providers (MSSPs) published today! The report focuses on the 13 most significant vendors in the North American market — AT&T, CenturyLink, CSC, Dell SecureWorks, HP, IBM, Leidos, SilverSky, Solutionary/NTT, Symantec, Trustwave, Verizon, and Wipro. This report details how well each vendor met our criteria and where they stand in relation to each other. This report will help you refine your selection criteria and choose the right partner for your outsourced security needs.

You can get the report here: The Forrester Wave™: Managed Security Services: North America, Q4 2014

CLOUD SECURITY CONTINUES TO BE A WORK IN PROGRESS

Cloud adoption has historically been hampered by security concerns. All of Forrester's research shows this to be the number one impediemtn to adoption. Forrester just finished evaluating four cloud platform providers on the depth and breadth of their security controls. This Forrester Wave™ evaluates four of the leading public clouds along 15 key security criteria evaluations to answer this question. The participating cloud services providers were: AWS, CenturyLink Cloud, IBM SoftLayer, and Microsoft Azure. This report details our findings about how well each vendor fulfills our criteria and where they stand in relation to each other, to help S&R professionals select the right public cloud partner with the best options for security controls and overall security capabilities.

The results can be found here:  The Forrester Wave™: Public Cloud Platform Service Providers' Security, Q4 2014

EY Releases New Global Information Security Survey For 2014

EY has released its Global Information Security Survey 2014. The survey, published every year, focuses on the issues facing information security pros for the coming year. Many of the trends identified in the report are trends that Forrester has seen evolve in the past two years. At the same time, these trends are accelerating. I am one analyst that is reluctant to paint information security with the fear, uncertainty, doubt (FUD) brush, but after reading the EY report I am not sure that FUD is inaccurate. We live in challenging times and the EY report validates this assertion. For example the research shows:

  • Attack power on the part of adversaries continues to grow. The capabilities and attack power of the adversary are on the rise. Criminal syndicates, hacktivists, and state-sponsored attackers top EY's respondents' list of top attack sources. This is not surprising based on the level of political instability in the world and the financial gains cybercrime can provide criminal groups derived from cybercrime.
  • Organizations are in battle with outdated weapons and strategies. Business today is using a set of outdated strategies and technologies to combat adversarial groups that are well financed and supported using some of the best offensive technologies available. These groups are well trained in the use of social engineering and technical cyberattack craft.
  • Organizations continue to see a dissolution of the perimeter. Mobility, outsourcing, cloud computing, and third-party consulting agreements continue to poke holes in companies' perimeters. All of these issues point to the need of a more flexible defense that uses a variety of smart detection and protection methods.
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Upcoming Research -- Brief: US Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) Provides Funding For Cybersecurity Innovation

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to sponsor important research in cybersecurity over the next three to five years through the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) process.  The US Federal government’s participation in cybersecurity is one of false starts. Members of each of the branches of government have made statements on the need for improved cybersecurity but very little has been done, at least in any public sense, to help the private sector deal with an onslaught of cyberattacks. At the same time, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been actively spying on private sector companies and their customers. This has sent mixed messages.

Encouragingly, the DHS is now making money available to fund research in cybersecurity with the goal of solving some of the toughest cybersecurity issues. The amount of money is small compared to the enormity of the cybersecurity problem, but it is a step in the right direction. This report will focus on what the money funds and what it means to commercial enterprises and their customers. Look for this report to publish in early August.

New Research: CISOs Need To Add Customer Obsession To Their Job Description

The CISO And The Customer

Next month Forrester will publish research focusing on the role the customer plays in security planning. Customer attitudes are changing, and companies need to recognize these changes or risk losing customers. These changes put enormous attention on the CISO and the security team. But CISOs should also look at this as a big opportunity for CISOs to move from the back office to the front office. Security incidents, managed well, can actually enhance customer perceptions of a company; managed poorly, they can be devastating. If customers lose trust in a company because of the way the business handles personal data and privacy, they will easily take their business elsewhere. Sales will fall, stock prices will follow, and the CISO will be accountable. CISOs need to improve their security program by focusing on the company’s true customers – the ones that create revenue – clarifying and speeding communications and implementing customer-focused security controls.  Look for it next month!

Symantec Challenges Financial Services Security

Symantec Challenges Financial Services Security

In this age of the customer, there is nothing more important than the effective and safe operation of the global financial system. Trillions of dollars move around the world because of a well-oiled financial services system. Most consumers take our financial services system for granted. They get paid, have the money direct deposited into their account, pay bills, use their ATM card to get cash, and put family valuables in the safety deposit box. The consumer’s assumption is that their cash, investments and valuables are safe.

Symantec’s 2014 CyberWar Games set out to prove or disprove how correct are these assumptions. Symantec’s cyberwar event is the brainchild of Samir Kapuria, a Symantec vice president within the Information Security Group. Symantec structures the event as a series of playoff events. Teams form and compete, earning points for creating and discovering exploits. Out of this process, the ten best teams travel to Symantec’s Mountain View, California headquarters to compete in the finals.

Not Just Hackers Need Apply

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New Research: AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Security is the No. 1 impediment to Cloud Service adoption. Forrester’s research has shown this over the last three years. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are responding to this issue. AWS has built an impressive catalog of security controls as a part of the company’s IaaS/PaaS offerings.  If you are currently or considering using AWS as a CSP you should check out the following new research.

AWS Cloud Security - AWS Takes Important Steps For Securing Cloud Workloads

Technology Use By MSSPs -Check Out Our Survey

Technology is essential in any managed security operations center. Technology has come a long way to create an active defense of the enterprise. There are vendors that offer solutions for log management, web application defense, firewall, incident event correlation, and many others. In order to understand the size of the security technology market, Forrester and the MSP Alliance are partnering in a survey to look at the managed security functions and the technology MSSPs use to deliver their services. If you are an MSSP or an end user of these technologies, you can complete this survey at:

FORRESTER - MSP ALLIANCE SURVEY

For completing the survey you are automatically entered into a contest to win an iPad mini. Also for completing the survey you will receive a complimentary copy of the resulting research paper.

Cloud And Cloud Security – Get Rid Of The Box

Peter Kujawa CEO of Locknet, Steve Tallent from Fortinet, and I were speaking at the recent MSPWorld Conference in San Jose, California about the cloud revolution. Steve was interested in the conversation because Fortinet is now offering virtualized versions of their Fortigate UTM solution. Peter was interested because his business is built on taking the pain away that platform management entails. Obviously security intersects both of these worlds.

We discussed the changes cloud computing was making to the MSP/MSSP markets and the differences between the SMB and enterprise businesses and what motivates them to consider the cloud IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS model.

Peter talked about one of his clients – a smaller client – that managed their business from a small server stashed in the closet of their offices. Peter’s company offered to replace the box with a cloud-based system that took over patching, updates, and maintenance for the system for a simple monthly fee. The client would access their applications via the Internet.  The risk to this business was huge for so many reasons. The customer leapt at the chance to get rid of the box.

In another case, I was speaking with a large client and we talked about the motivation for the cloud. Inasmuch as maintenance and support are an issue, the larger issues for large companies are the IT assets on the balance sheet. This company liked cloud because of their need to “clean up” the balance sheet. There were too many IT assets loading down the balance sheet – distorting the company's return on assets.

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Small And Mid-Size Business Have Security Issues Too

I think that small and mid-size businesses are the most underserved in the information security market today. These companies have not paid the necessary attention to information security, and the data indicates they will pay a steep price for not doing more.

Robert Plant, writing for the Harvard Business Review on June 4, 2013, spoke very plainly and clearly on the need for the CSO in companies today. Mr. Plant in his blog writes:

“First off, if the company doesn't have a CSO and the chief executive thinks the "S" has something to do with sustainability, just fire him. If it does have a CSO and the CEO chooses to eliminate that position, do the same thing, because it's the wrong answer. While you're firing him, inform the CEO that data security is the number one critical need for U.S. corporations today, and that the CSO is kind of like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. You wouldn't get rid of the chairman of the joint chiefs in wartime.”[1]

While Mr. Plant is speaking of large corporations, the reality is the CEOs of smaller firms should have the same concerns as large companies when it comes to information security. It may not seem like it, but we are at war — an economic war — and the prize is the intellectual property held by companies large and small. The number of cyber attacks is on the rise and the level of effort being applied by both nation states and cyber criminals is huge. All of us in the security field have heard this before. However, there has been a real challenge in the industry to get information security the role it deserves as a critical component of enterprise risk.

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