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FCW : May 30, 2015
DAVE McCLURE is chief strategist at Veris Group. Commentary | DAVE M c CLURE Big-data analytics are gaining atten- tion in the cyber world, and there is widespread recognition that govern- ment agencies must retreat from the current cut-and-paste approach to collecting threat information. Instead, there is real value in auto- mating critical continuous monitor- ing and focusing more attention on critical analyses. That shift has given rise to the application of predictive and behav- ioral analytics to all enterprise and external data in an effort to better evaluate threat potential, thereby increasing the likelihood of detect- ing attacks before they occur and gathering useful threat and vulner- ability intelligence. However, for many organizations, it is a daunting if not impossible task to prevent all intrusions from occur- ring. In fact, most testing shows it might be safe to assume a breach has already occurred without any near-real-time detection. Today, data security --- at rest, in transit, in use --- takes precedence over a systems mentality. Data sharing, created by distributed computing environments and accelerated by the continuing explosion of end-user devices and capabilities introduced by the Inter- net of Things, has created a very challenging cyber environment. As a result, organizations must address some basics that form the foundation of future cyber protec- tion success: 1. With the push toward enter- prise solutions, data governance needs critical attention. Without it, cybersecurity is handicapped at the outset. At a minimum, agencies must categorize data into master, shared and single use bins. That is essential for building basic business and work ow processes that con- trol proper access, usage, protection and accountability. Business process rules can help identify critical assets and whether those assets are being used in ways that could create dam- aging vulnerabilities. 2. We must focus on data and security architecture and engi- neering designs that make it dif- cult to get access to key assets and limit damage when cyber breaches are successful. As noted, protecting data can be complicated by moving apps to the end user and operating in an Internet of Things world. Data segmentation practices are para- mount in a world in which vulner- abilities are a fact of life. Agencies must address a fundamental ques- tion: When an attacker gets inside a perimeter, what will that entry allow them to do? 3. Given the unprecedented rise in advanced persistent threats by internal and external actors, agencies should incorporate a "current compromise" assess- ment approach into core security measures. A good way to think about this is akin to using a hunt versus peck approach to vulnerabil- ity scanning and penetration test- ing. Compromise assessments use egress pattern matching and other techniques that can further isolate and identify the source of a compro- mise. In essence, you assess entry from an attacker's perspective and use the same likely attack vectors. Often a reverse, "inside-out" approach is deployed. Administra- tors say: "Here are my critical assets; let's try to discover all the ways an outsider could get to them and then plug the dike." However, it is more useful to search for business-critical assets and data that adversaries would seek during an actual breach. That method is stealthier than stan- dard penetration testing. Tools are available that evade and bypass normal system secu- rity protections. By emphasizing signi cant business and operational impacts, the approach is useful for drawing executive management's attention to prioritized security solutions. And it is a bell-ringer for those who doubt whether security vulnerabilities really exist and put their operations at risk. Keeping a focus on these funda- mentals in cybersecurity programs can help strengthen an agency's over- all security program and posture. n Ground rules for improving federal cybersecurity In today's complex cybersecurity environment, these three elements form the foundation of agencies' ability to defend networks and data There is real value in automating critical continuous monitoring and focusing more attention on critical analyses. 14 May 30, 2015 FCW.COM
May 15, 2015
June 15, 2015