Nine Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs) Compete In The North American Market

Edward Ferrara

After months of diligent vendor evaluations, last week we officially published The Forrester Wave: Managed Security Services: North America, Q1 2012. This report features our detailed analysis on nine of the top managed security services providers (MSSPs) offering a robust set of security services to their North American clients.

Through this process, we uncovered a market that we believe is currently ripe for a major disruption: market demand for managed security services (MSS) remains extremely strong, customer satisfaction is higher than we’ve seen in the past, and current MSSPs tend to compete on delivery, customer service, and cost.

This isn’t to say MSSPs all currently offer the same services with the same level of quality – not by a long shot. Selecting the right provider still means that you must understand your needs and the areas you feel they can enhance your security program the most. Each MSSP we evaluated has solid overall security capabilities, but has unique strengths in certain security areas and use different deployment methods to bring their offerings to bear.

At the same time, however, we hear more decisions today come down to cost and execution, and as this becomes more commonplace, we begin to prepare ourselves for a shift in the market. In fact, we believe we’ll see significant changes over the next couple of years for three primary reasons:

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Security Intelligence: Should We Send A Guy With A Gun Or A Wrench?

Andras Cser

We are kicking off research on security and identity intelligence, which is about understanding risk and detecting abnormal behavior.  One thing is clear: companies don't even *know* what kind of security (SIM, data,  identity, email, etc.) information they should be inspecting to detect security threats and where they should start eating the giant elephant of risk. They clearly need intelligent and automated systems to establish what a normal baseline means in user behaviors and events and then alert on any anomalies - and when they see any changes to normal patterns, understand whether they should send a guy with a gun or a guy with a wrench.  In this research (which will also be the topic of my Security Forum keynote speech) we will look at the interdisciplinary areas between enterprise fraud management, risk based authentication, data protection and identity management. I want to hear about your concerns, issues, and early case studies/solutions in this area.

Security & Risk Professionals: Leapfrog Your Global Competition. Rethink Security; Run At The Threat.

Laura Koetzle

One of the highest-stakes parts of my job as the leader of our Security & Risk business is the in-depth business review that I present to Forrester’s executive team twice a year.  And I always start those presentations with a single slide in which I attempt to capture the Security & Risk profession in as few words as possible.  My current formulation is: “We protect our company’s brand – and our Security & Risk program allows our company to pursue new business opportunities safely.”

Our CEO, George F. Colony, sat bolt upright and said, “Wow – I didn’t know that CISOs saw their roles in such business-centric terms!”  To which I replied, “And that’s exactly the problem.  Strong CISOs are generally all action and very little talk – they put the brand and business opportunity at the center of everything they do, but they don’t brag about it.  And thus they don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

And my team and I are on a mission to help you change that.  Because we know that a strong security & risk program can be a competitive differentiator.  We can help our businesses win on the global stage by enabling our firms to accept more (and different!) risks than others can afford.  Rethinking your security assumptions and your security infrastructure means that you will have the skills, processes, and tools your business needs to seize new opportunities.  So now you just have to get the word out that you can help.

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Don’t Forbid Employees From Using The Escalator, Give Them Reasons To Use The Stairs

Chris McClean

Guest post from Researcher Nick Hayes.

If you had to go up one level in a train station, would you take the stairs or use the escalator? Most people would choose the escalator. But what if the staircase played musical notes like an interactive piano? This may change things, right? A couple of years ago, Volkswagen began sponsoring an initiative called The Fun Theory that tested the degree to which they could change people’s behavior for the better by introducing an element of fun. In one example, they found that by adding a unique element to the stairs – transforming it into an interactive piano – they were able to increase staircase use by 66%. You can watch the short video here.

You can apply this same principle to your training and awareness programs -- find your own piano staircase, and use it to begin guiding people to choose the right thing on their own. Chris and I have been working on a report that stresses the importance of organizational culture in the development of risk and compliance programs. Throughout the research process, we asked risk and compliance professionals and vendors in the space the same question: “How are you influencing and promoting positive behavior?”

You can create new technical controls and policies, and you can require employees to sign attestations all day, but these efforts have minimal value (or worse) when there’s no positive reinforcement. When compliance and risk management are considered obligatory tasks, rather than meaningful efforts that the company values, it diminishes the perceived importance of ethical behavior.

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Blending Cloud IAM Delivery Flavors: Convergence Of In-House And IAM Suite Offerings

Andras Cser

Today we see two basic flavors of cloud IAM. One archetype is the model offered by Covisint, VMware Horizon, Symplified, Okta, OneLogin, etc.: these vendors provide relatively tight integration, but less capable identity services based on their respective firm's own intellectual property. Because of the above, these offerings clearly have a short implementation time. The other camp of vendors believes in providing hosted services of "legacy" IAM products: CA Technologies coming out with CloudMinder, Lighthouse adding their own IP to IBM TIM/TAM, Simeio Solutions blending OpenAM and Oracle's identity stack with their own secret sauce, and Verizon Business using NetIQ's IDM stack as a basis for their hosted offering solution.

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How To Survive And Thrive At #SXSW If You’re Not From Texas

John Kindervag

I’ll be in Austin, TX this weekend to participate in South-by-Southwest Interactive. My panel “Big Data Smackdown on Cybersecurity” will be held Sunday, March 11 from 12:30PM - 1:30PM at the Austin Hilton Downtown. Hope to see you there.

Now, I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could. I’ve lived in Dallas, TX for 30 years so I consider myself an adopted native-Texan. I’ll be at South-by-Southwest Interactive this weekend, so I thought I’d share some tips for all my current and future friends. For those of you from out-of-state – known as furriners – I hope you’ll find this advice helpful.

You’re coming to a foreign country.

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An Unexpected RSA Encounter

Rick Holland

Last Friday, after a long week of RSA conference events and meetings, I eagerly looked forward to slipping on my headphones and enjoying the relative silence of my flight back to Dallas. As I approached my seat, I saw I was sitting next to a United States Air Force (USAF) officer. I looked at his rank and saw two stars on his uniform, making him a major general. I had a sudden sense of nostalgia and I instinctively wanted to salute him. I resisted the urge, introduced myself, and thanked him for his service.

Over the next two hours I had the most unexpected and fascinating conversation of my RSA week. It turned out that my fellow traveler is the commanding officer of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). According to the website, the AFRL is “the Air Force’s only organization wholly dedicated to leading the discovery, development, and integration of war fighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces.” We discussed a variety of open source topics, including electromagnetic pulse weapons, cyberweapons, Stuxnet, unmanned aerial vehicles, USAF renewable energy initiatives, as well as national policy.

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Lies, Damn Lies, Security Metrics, And Baseball

John Kindervag

The legendary British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is said to have noted that “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” Much of the technology world is focused on statistics and metrics. You’ve often heard it said, “If I can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.” Known as the McNamara fallacy — named after the business tycoon turned Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense — this famous idea failed miserably as a strategy. While it sounds good to the CEO’s ears, there is a corollary bubbling up below him that implicitly states that “If my boss wants to measure something that doesn’t exist, then I’ll invent it!”

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WikiLeaks And Stratfor Make The Case For More Data Encryption

John Kindervag

Yesterday, WikiLeaks released emails taken in the highly-publicized Stratfor data breach. While many of the emails are innocuous, such as accusations regarding a stolen lunch from the company refrigerator; others are potentially highly embarrassing to both Stratfor and their corporate clients. The emails reveal some messy corporate spycraft that is usually seen in the movies and rarely is illumined in real life. For example, one email suggests that Stratfor is working on behalf of Coca-Cola to uncover information to determine if PETA was planning on disrupting the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

While Stratfor’s response suggests that some of the emails may have been tampered with, this is not the point. As the soon-to-be infamous “Lunch Theft” email shows, that might be merely what the email calls Fred's rule # 2: “Admit nothing, deny everything and make counter-accusations.”

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Force Multipliers - What Security & Risk Professionals Can Learn From Special Forces

Rick Holland

Last week I read an article on wired.com’s Danger Room blog about the elite US military Special Forces command, JSOC.  The units within the Joint Special Operations Command (Delta Force and Seal Team 6) are responsible for the most clandestine and sensitive US military operations, including the Bin Laden raid into Pakistan last year. JSOC is very similar to elite Special Forces (SF) units across the globe including: the Russian Spetnaz, British SAS, French Naval Commandos, and the Israeli Shayetet 13.  These SF units are capable of addressing asymmetric threats that traditional military units aren’t prepared to handle.

In the article, Spencer Ackerman interviews Marc Ambinder, one of the authors of The Command about JSOC. The article piqued my interest and I just finished reading the eBook. Like almost everything I do, I considered the information security implications as I read it.  Today’s infosec threat landscape is dominated by unconventional threats that are difficult to address. How can we leverage the techniques utilized by SF to deal with the cyber threats we face today?  I realize that we have an international audience, and my point isn’t to focus on US policy, but rather to take a deeper look at the unique capabilities of SF units and what lessons we can apply in our roles as S&R professionals.

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