Skip to main content

Here come the Security Police

Security teams often attract antagonism from the business that they are supposed to serve, appearing as self-appointed policemen in a police state. This is unhelpful and not what we are or should be aiming for. Security departments should be providing a secure environment in which business users are free to do what they want. Obviously this environment will have boundaries, but they must be agreed with the business and not just imposed arbitrarily.

Take an example from children's play areas, children should be safe within the confines of the soft play area and not too much harm will come to them. They can run around and play whatever game they like as long as they stay within the boundaries. Children can't wear shoes in a soft play area as they may hurt another child, but this doesn't stop them from doing what they want as the play area has been engineered so that they don't need shoes to stop them from hurting their feet or getting wet and dirty.

The same principles can be applied to security. If we build a safe and secure environment that has everything that people need within it already then they are free to do what they want and need, and are far less likely to break the rules or circumvent security controls. The architecture has to be secure and services should be tailored to the business functions and not just imposed by the security teams. A good example is to provide a Choose Your Own device (CYO) offering to avoid the problems of Bring Your Own (BYO) or the restrictions of imposing a single device. It is possible to support a range of devices and then even offer a restricted service on some further devices, but allow the users choice.

In the end there will always be a certain amount of policing required, but if, as a security professional, you are spending most of your time in that role then your network, architecture and attitude are wrong.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Coventry Building Society Grid Card

Coventry Building Society have recently introduced the Grid Card as a simple form of 2-factor authentication. It replaces memorable words in the login process. Now the idea is that you require something you know (i.e. your password) and something you have (i.e. the Grid Card) to log in - 2 things = 2 factors. For more about authentication see this post . How does it work? Very simply is the answer. During the log in process, you will be asked to enter the digits at 3 co-ordinates. For example: c3, d2 and j5 would mean that you enter 5, 6 and 3 (this is the example Coventry give). Is this better than a secret word? Yes, is the short answer. How many people will choose a memorable word that someone close to them could guess? Remember, that this isn't a password as such, it is expected to be a word and a word that means something to the user. The problem is that users cannot remember lots of passwords, so remembering two would be difficult. Also, having two passwords isn't real

How Reliable is RAID?

We all know that when we want a highly available and reliable server we install a RAID solution, but how reliable actually is that? Well, obviously, you can work it out quite simply as we will see below, but before you do, you have to know what sort of RAID are you talking about, as some can be less reliable than a single disk. The most common types are RAID 0, 1 and 5. We will look at the reliability of each using real disks for the calculations, but before we do, let's recap on what the most common RAID types are. Common Types of RAID RAID 0 is the Stripe set, which consists of 2 or more disks with data written in equal sized blocks to each of the disks. This is a fast way of reading and writing data to disk, but it gives you no redundancy at all. In fact, RAID 0 is actually less reliable than a single disk, as all the disks are in series from a reliability point of view. If you lose one disk in the array, you've lost the whole thing. RAID 0 is used purely to speed up dis

Proposed Pseudo-Code for Hacking Process

It is quite common in Information Systems to use pseudo code to describe a process. I have often thought that the same principle can be applied to the process of hacking an organisation, which may help people understand the process and how to protect themselves. Below is my proposal for this pseduo-code for the hacking process. This is very much a work in progress. I would welcome feedback on it and I will update it as suggestions are made or as I feel it needs revising. organisation = proposed target organisation. footprint (value, effort, risk) profit = value - (effort * risk) if profit > 0 then   organisation. enumerate ()    select attack_type      case DoS        engage_botnet (myBotnet)       myBotnet. launchDDoS (organisation)      case Access       organisation. gainAccess (myAccount)       myAccount. Elevate ()       organisation. installBackdoor (myAccount)       organisation. cleanUP ()    end select else   exit end if This highlights the fact tha