Are Passwords Dead? Take the Forrester Password Usage & Trends Survey!

Merritt Maxim

To paraphrase the great humorist Mark Twain, rumors of the death of passwords have been greatly exaggerated. While people lament the challenges and problems posed by passwords, they remain a core authentication and security technology.

My colleague Andras Cser and I have been fielding so many client inquiries around passwords that we are undertaking a quantitative, anonymous survey from end user organizations to gauge their current password policies and usage. This online survey asks about your organization’s current password policies and challenge as well as the future role of passwords in your organization. We also are using the survey to gain perspectives on the future of passwords and how other technologies might replace passwords completely.

The survey is completely confidential, but participants who provide contact details will receive a complimentary copy of the report when it’s published later this year.

You can access the survey here:

http://forr.com/PWTrends2015

We look forward to your responses!

Forrester’s Security & Risk Analyst Spotlight – Martin Whitworth

Stephanie Balaouras
Once a month, my co-research director and partner in crime, Chris McClean, and I will use our blog to highlight one of the 26 people who collaborate to deliver our team’s research and services and always make Chris and I look really, really good. Each “Analyst Spotlight” includes an informational podcast and an offbeat interview with the analyst. This month’s Analyst Spotlight features our newest analyst, Martin Whitworth. Based in London and bringing experience as a CISO and Head of Security across several industries, Martin will cover the most pressing issues keeping CISOs reaching for another bourbon on the rocks, including security strategy, maturity, skills and staffing, business alignment, and everyone’s favorite pastime, reporting to the board. 
 
Martin Whitworth Image Prior to joining Forrester, Martin served as CISO and senior security leader for a number of blue chip organizations, including Coventry Building Society, Steria Group, UK Payments Council, British Energy/EDF Nuclear Generation, and GMAC. In these roles, he developed and executed a variety of security strategies and programs, and he has extensive experience successfully engaging business and board-level stakeholders. He also has considerable experience as a trusted advisor to security leader peers in the public and private sectors internationally, as well as advising standards and regulatory bodies.
 
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Do You Have An Effective Privacy Organization?

Heidi Shey

A guest post from researcher Enza Iannopollo.

Upcoming changes to privacy regulation in the EU as well as rising business awareness that effective data privacy means competitive differentiation in the market makes privacy a business priority today. And this is not only relevant for tech giants: protecting both customer and employee privacy is a business priority for companies of all sizes and across industries.

But where do you start? Many companies start by hiring a chief privacy officer. Some have built brand-new privacy teams that manage privacy for the whole firm, while others prefer a decentralized model where responsibilities are shared across teams. What are the pros and cons of each approach? Which organizational structure would better meet the needs of your firm?

And when your privacy organization is in place, how do you establish smooth collaboration with other teams like marketing and digital, for example? Too often we hear that privacy teams do not have the visibility that they need into the data-driven initiatives happening within the company. When this happens, privacy organizations are less effective and the business risks failing its customers, undermining their expectation for privacy.

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What A Teenaged Driver Can Teach You About Access Governance

Merritt Maxim

Most parents cheerfully mark the key milestones in their child’s path to adulthood: first step,first word, first school, first sleepover, first broken bone, and so on. But for many parents, no milestone causes as much anxiety as “first-time driver,” which is bestowed on all USA-based teenagers upon their16th birthday.

While surviving the experience of having our child become a driver may seem far removed from the world of access governance and entitlement certification, I found some parallels between managing a teenaged driver and managing the access rights and IT privileges of the end users in your organization. You can read more about it in my latest report, “Wake-Up Call: Poorly Managed Access Rights Are A Breach Waiting To Happen,” but here is a quick preview.

A common problem facing parents of teenaged drivers and IT organizations is that they have properly authorized users but often lack visibility into actual usage of those access rights. In the case of the teenaged drivers, parents often seek data around vehicle usage (Where did it go? At what time and at what speed?). For IT security professionals, organizations can no longer rely purely on static lists of authorized users and their access rights. So, just the way parents can impose mileage restrictions (reading the odometer to limit the distance a car can go in a given night) or fuel restrictions, an IT security team cansupplement access governance processes with additional usage data such as:

1.       Has the employee accessed the application/system during the last certification period?

2.       How often did the employee use the given entitlement?

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Go Play In The Innovation Sandbox

Tyler Shields


RSAC INNOVATION SANDBOX FINALISTS SPUR INGENUITY IN SECURITY: CISOs SHOULD LOOK TO FINALISTS FOR FUTURE DIRECTION AND INVESTMENT

On Monday April 20, 2015 the biggest security event in the USA, the RSA Conference, kicks off with the ever popular Innovation Sandbox event. This event brings in hundreds of submissions from security startup companies around the world all hoping to make the top 10 finalist list, and eventually be declared the winner. The Innovation Sandbox has been running for the last ten years resulting in a great quantity of security startup data to analyze along with some very notable winning companies.

Previous sandbox winners include SourceFireImpervaAlertEnterprise and most recently Red Owl Analytics. Many security companies have been declared finalists, fared well with additional funding, and found reasonable financial success, specifically acquisition. The graph to the left shows the acquisition trends for Innovation Sandbox finalists since 2009. Security start up success is on the rise and the Innovation Sandbox is there to build on that success.

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RSA Conference 2015 – What We Hope And What We Expect To Hear

Chris McClean

Forrester’s Security and Risk team will have a lot of analysts out once again for this year’s RSA Conference. After all these years (12 for me!) we have to balance our excitement to see old friends and colleagues with our cynicism that says it will be a week of empty buzzwords just slightly updated from those we heard last year.

We expect this to be mostly a fashion show – or what my old friend and colleague Rachel used to call the security industry’s debutante ball. We will hear far too many definitions for words like threat intelligence, platform, and integration; and we won’t hear the phrases case study examples, customer trust, or customer value nearly often enough.

But rather than dwell on our skepticism, here are a few things we’re excited about going into next week:

  • The Innovation Sandbox is always a highlight. Most of our team will come by to see the finalists on Monday, and you should look for our upcoming blog posts, tweets, and a report or two examining some of the vendors that have competed in this annual contest.
  • The expo dress code will be a whole lot classier. I’m personally glad to see RSA’s leadership with the new vendor dress code guidelines this year. (And kudos to our former colleague Chenxi Wang for her role in this change.) Hopefully that means everyone’s more focused on the substance of vendor messaging.
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Brand Resilience: Risk Pros' Key Role In Protecting Company Reputation

Nick Hayes

Risk professionals aren’t prepared for the age of the customer. Empowered consumers and changing market dynamics are upending longstanding business models and lines of operation, but risk professionals largely stand pat, and continue to neglect risks related to their organizations’ most critical asset – company reputation. Yesterday we published a report on "Brand Resilience" that will hopefully help you change that legacy risk mentality.

 

Corporate Reputation Is Increasingly Valuable…  

Companies today rely on their reputation to generate greater portions of their revenue, attract new customers, and retain existing ones. This is why we see:

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Myth Or Reality: The Chief Data Officer

Heidi Shey

S&R pros, is there a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in your organization? Do you work with them? Previously, John and I wrote about the CDO role and how we believe that CDOs will help to drive security policy in the future because they can 1) directly tie business value to data assets, 2) have a deep understanding of data identity and purpose, and 3) possess a great incentive to protect the company’s data (it’s a strategic business asset after all!). Colleagues like Gene have also written about the CDO and the importance of the CDO in data management.

The emergence of this role now brings about more questions than answers, and we’d like to provide more in-depth analysis and clarity around this topic. What is a CDO, and what do they do exactly? Is this a temporary role, or a critical C-level position that is here to stay? Why should we even care about this CDO role? These and other questions are ones that a team of analysts from Forrester are exploring in upcoming joint research, and we’d love to hear from you if you are a CDO, currently work with one, or don’t feel there is a need for a CDO because there are other roles in your organization are responsible for data strategy. Some of the key themes we are looking into include:

  • The responsibilities of the CDO role
  • Where CDOs reside in firms’ organizational structure
  • How CDOs help their firms win, retain, and serve their customers
  • Common benefits and challenges faced by CDOs
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Analyst Spotlight Podcast With Merritt Maxim

Stephanie Balaouras
This month’s S&R Analyst Spotlight Podcast features a slight change to our usual program: we have a guest host! Chris McClean, our San Francisco-based Research Director, interviewed the newest addition to our analyst team, Merritt Maxim. Merritt’s coverage areas include identity and access management, access governance, federation, authentication, and role design and management. In our podcast, Maxim tells us about his career before Forrester, his planned coverage area and his current must-read book on security. 
 
These Analyst Spotlights are all included in S&R’s First Look newsletters. Email srfl@forrester.com to be added to the list!
 
To download the mp3 version of the podcast, click here.
 

Merritt Maxim Image

 

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Ice Dams And Identities: Remove Dams Before They Remove You

Merritt Maxim

This winter in Boston has been a record breaker. Bostonians are tired of the weather, while non-Bostonians are tired of hearing Bostonians complain about the weather. However, this never-ending winter provides a useful analogy for assessing your organization’s identity and access management (IAM) processes.

My analogy is based on two words that strike fear into many Boston-area homeowners: ice dams. Ice dams are ice structures that form on roofs, following heavy snowfall, that can cause leaks.[1]



Ice dams often dissipate naturally, but record snowfalls and persistent cold temps have exacerbated ice dams this winter.

Just as ice dams can cause leaks, “identity dams” can cause data leaks and other internal problems. Identity dams may result from reorganizations or may just be existing business processes, but they should be removed.  

The challenge is overcoming complacency. Just as many homeowners hope ice dams will dissipate naturally, organizations delude themselves with “This is how we’ve always done it,” and conclude that therefore removing identity dams is not necessary. For complacent organizations, the worst case is having users become accustomed to complicated manual processes for requesting access to new applications, waiting weeks to get access to new applications, and having multiple passwords.

Organizations and homeowners should follow these three steps to minimize the potential damage caused by ice dams and identity dams:

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