The Forrester Blog For Security & Risk Professionals
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Details have been elusive thus far, but reports indicate that multiple breaches occurred, resulting in “suspicious files” on the company’s servers. A statement released by Nasdaq assures us that its trading systems and customer data were not compromised, and those in the know tend to agree that infiltrating the trading systems would be substantially more difficult than breaking into the web environment and leaving a few files behind. As the investigation continues, hopefully we'll learn more, but what can we take away from this story so far?
The list of attractive hacker targets continues to grow. Whoever perpetrated this breach chose not to go after traditionally lucrative targets like customer/employee data or a more difficult and devastating attempt to dismantle one of the world’s biggest exchanges. Instead the target was a more accessible set of extremely sensitive corporate data – details about mergers, acquisitions, dividends, and earnings. Without much sophistication, criminals could use this information to execute rather impressive “insider trading” transactions or simply find an outlet like WikiLeaks for some of the more embarrassing tidbits.
Mobile authentication is nothing new. SiteMinder, a prominent web access management tool, has been able to handle mobile browsers and sessions for at least 7-8 years. Some users complained of WAP and its limitations, but most could access information and log in to websites with minimal issues.
WAP is gone and it is now replaced by a multitude of devices: tablets, PDAs, smartphones, etc. With the proliferation of Splinternet, we are witnessing not only a boom of content, but also the need to limit access to sensitive applications and data not only from the device but also on the device. Authentication, authorization, and data protection challenges multiply as companies embrace the post-PC tablets, etc.
What do we see people asking about? From the enterprise security perspective, the biggest challenges seems to be protecting the data on the device, performing a remote wipe on a lost or stolen piece of equipment, and making sure corporate information is separated clearly from any private data. Writing mobile applications or designing mobile-capable and still rich, interactive web pages is no easy task either. Companies also wonder about how to deliver and (de)provision applications quickly and securely.
What do we see companies do? Sandboxing corporate data and mandating the use of remotely wipeable devices is the first step. Storing certificates and using transaction signature mobile authenticators to defend against stolen or compromised text messages with one-time passwords is a logical follow-on.
If you're a security and risk professional in charge of protecting consumer-facing applications, you may have heard that OpenID is a “toy,” or it's an insecure protocol, or other critiques. And then here comes the recent news by former early adopter 37signals to drop its OpenID login support, which has occasioned some soul-searching in the Web 2.0 identity community. Check out commentary from Scott Gilbertson of Wired's WebMonkey, Dare Obasanjo, and reaction from “social login” vendor JanRain
When OpenID appeared on the scene, more robust solutions based on SAML were well under way for many years and seeing adoption, but only in scenarios involving limited circles of trust — typically point-to-point enterprise outsourcing scenarios and specialized higher-education communities — rather than in broad-based consumer populations.
This week we published the first in a series of reports I'll be writing to help clients calculate the return on investment of GRC technologies. This report, How To Measure The ROI Of A GRC Platform, outlines the key factors and suggested metrics to show what GRC can do for your organization.
Of course, my first recommendation is to exhaust your arsenal of arguments before falling back into ROI terrain. GRC is about improving oversight, strengthening controls, and finding ways for the business to succeed within the boundaries of risk tolerance. But these board-level issues can quickly give way to questions of costs and savings... so it's good to be prepared.
The considerations for costs (software, hardware, maintenance, implementation, etc.) are not much different than other large IT projects, nor are the associated risks (requirements, scope, adoption, integration, etc.). What's tough is articulating the benefits. The report offers much more detail, but generally the success factors of a GRC implementation fall into three categories. These are:
Efficiency, which includes product and process consolidation as well as facilitation of processes such as policy development and distribution, risk and control assessments, incident/issue management, data/report aggregation.
Risk reduction, which includes decreases in audit and examination findings, reduction in regulatory fines, faster remediation of issues, and the secondary benefits of these improvements, such as deceased cost of capital and lower insurance costs.
Dell announced Tuesday its intent to acquire managed security services provider (MSSP) SecureWorks for an undisclosed amount. SecureWorks, which acquired VeriSign's Managed Security Services in July 2009, has been growing their business significantly over recent years. Dell on the other hand, has been strengthening its services arm and moving towards a more solutions-centric approach. SecureWorks will continue to act as a separate business unit and will maintain its offerings, keeping its consulting and services intact. This deal was surprising but not shocking. As information security becomes an integral part of the infrastructure, large system vendors strive to build or buy security capabilities into their products and services. Here are our initial thoughts on the acquisition:
Dell builds a security foundation through SecureWorks capabilities. Dell doesn’t have a strong security presence - And similar to the RSA/EMC acquisition, SecureWorks will become the security division of Dell. This acquisition will enrich Dell’s portfolio with a well-respected managed security services company with expertise in threat intelligence, infrastructure security, and strong customer service.
SecureWorks and Dell find new revenue streams through security offerings. Infrastructure security is becoming ever more important as organizations embrace data center consolidation and the cloud. SecureWorks offerings will strengthen the business case for Dell while keeping customers secure. On the other hand, SecureWorks will find new industries and geographies beyond government, utilities, and retail services.
In the past few days, almost every conversation I have had with a CISO has somehow stumbled onto the topic of the data breach at the US Department of Defense (DoD) and subsequent release of that information through WikiLeaks. Many CISOs have told us that their executives are asking for reassurances that this type of large-scale data disclosure is not possible in their organization. Some executives have even asked the security team to provide presentations to management educating them on their existing security controls against similar attacks. Responding to these questions is tricky: “It’s like treading on a thin ice,” commented one CISO. If you tell them everything is under control you may create a false sense of security. If you tell them that it is very likely that such an incident can happen within their organization – it may be a career limiting move.
I would recommend giving the executives a dose of reality. I do many security assessments for our clients and often find that many organizations are solely relying too much on technology and infrastructure protections they have. Today’s reality is very different. We often operate in a global context with large and complex IT environments making it hard to monitor and track data and we are sharing a tremendous amount of sensitive information with business partners and third parties. All of these realities were faced by the US government as well and probably all contributed to the circumstances that led to the disclosure of data.
As many of you try to extract the lessons learned from this episode, here is my take on it – It is a failure of not a single security control but a set of multiple preventative and detective lapses.
Failure of preventative controls: Governance, Oversight and Access Control
On the heels of Forrester's GRC Market Overview last month, this week we published my Governance, Risk, And Compliance Predictions: 2011 And Beyond report. Based on our research with GRC vendors, buyers, and users, this paper highlights the aggressive regulatory environment and greater attention to risk management as drivers for change. Specifically, here is a brief summary of the top five trends we will see next year:
Increasing vendor competition will continue to bring more choices and more confusion. Strong market growth will encourage more technology and service vendors to get into the market, which means the fragmentation (which I've discussed previously) and confusion will continue.
It will come as little surprise to most of you that the overall GRC market is still saturated with relatively small vendors, many of which continue to struggle to maintain their market niches. At the same time, a handful of market leaders (notably BWise, IBM/OpenPages, MetricStream, RSA/Archer, and Thomson Reuters/Paisley) continue to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, while several large competitors (including Oracle, SAP, SAS, Software AG, and Wolters Kluwer) put more and more pressure on the market all the time.
It's been interesting to watch these vendors that competed head-to-head regularly for SOX compliance deals now drifting further apart . . . some focusing more on risk management and analytics, some strengthening their compliance and content offerings, some building deeper integration with IT systems, and others building bridges into audit departments. The current environment of increased government oversight and regulation — and in some cases, reform of whole industries — worldwide promises to bring a strong resurgence to the GRC platform market overall, which means increased competition both from veteran vendors and newcomers alike.
It's that time of year when we begin planning our spring Forums. Our Security & Risk Forum EMEA will take place in London, March 17th and 18th. Planning and content creation for that Forum is already well underway and we're looking forward to another great event. But I also wanted to highlight our spring IT Forum. Mark your calendars for May 25-27 in Las Vegas and June 8-10 in Barcelona. Not only is there a dedicated track for Security and Risk professionals at IT Forum but there is an opportunity for Security & Risk pros to learn about broad IT challenges and trends. I believe this is critical because in order for security organizations to become much more proactive and less reactive, they have to understand what's happening across IT and not just narrowly within security. We need to be ready for the next major business or IT shift before it happens.
As technology becomes more accessible through mediums beyond IT's control, you have but one choice: Get proactive by empowering employees, or swim against the current. Successful BT leaders will react not by blocking access but by lending their expertise to increase the chances of technology success and empowering the users to solve customer and business problems. This year's IT Forum will provide a blueprint for reaping the benefits of your empowered organization — complete with case studies, methodologies, and step-by-step advice tailored to each IT role.
In a rather unsurprising move, Oracle acquired its longtime OEM partner of eSSO solutions, Passlogix. The sale has closed after a relatively long courtship – the eSSO market has been consolidating for a long time: Novell’s OEM agreement with ActivIdentity, IBM’s acquisition of Encentuate all signal IAM stack consolidation. Beyond the obvious — 1) eSSO integration with Oracle Access Manager and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager to integrate with web single sign on, 2) a multitude of second factor and adaptive authentication mechanisms using v-GO User Access Manager, and 3) using v-GO SSO’s screenscraping technology to create Oracle Identity Manager connectors to arcane, no-CLI systems — large tasks remain for Oracle: a) providing access management for mobile devices and b) getting to be a credible player in Privileged User Management (where Passlogix’s v-GO Shared Accounts Manager is a second-tier player).