Enable the Business? Sometimes Security Must Say “NO”…

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Anton Chuvakin

Ebb72d4bfba370aecb29bc7519c9dac2

Business: Saying NO is not an option. Security must enable the business! What is the next best option, apart from your current position of “NO, do NOT do this!!!”?

Security: There are no good options here; we did the analysis several times, consultants andGartner GTP analysts confirmed our findings.

Business: Remember that bit about “enabling the digital business”?!! You cannot say “no” – you must deliver us the next best option to enable us.

Security: Well … you can try doing X or Y, with additional safeguards of Z and U implemented.

Business: OK, that’s better! What are the known consequences of using this approach that you are suggesting?

Security: A huge meteor swarm hits Earth, everybody dies.

Business: Uh…OK. Business has the right to accept the risks, right?! Risk accepted.

0-meteor-hits

BOOM!!! Everybody dies.

5,000 years pass by…

An alien spaceship finds the now-defunct Earth, lands, and alien archeologists – in a bout of deeply alien curiosity – decide to figure out “what killed Earth?”

1-ufo-lands

They find a record of the above conversation on a miraculously survived tablet device and an argument starts between the aliens: who killed everybody on Earth, SECURITY or BUSINESS?

So, who do you think did? Essentially, there are two camps of … ahem… aliens arguing:

  1. Security is at fault – they did not communicate the risks well enough, or…
  2. Business [government agency] is at fault – they were stupidly negligent and didn’t listen to clear and precise communication, backed up by facts and external experts.

Which one sounds closer to the truth, if there is such a thing here?

Of course, this is not a blog post about the OPM breach. It is a parable about the fine line we have to tread in our daily jobs. As a security technologist you may be asked to do the impossible. While I think optimism is a great belief system, sometimes the impossible is not just very difficult… it is actually frigging’ IMPOSSIBLE. And so-called “next best option” is that you all friggin’ die!

For example:

  • An enterprise-grade “APT-ready” SOC at $0 … no good options!
  • An in-house run SIEM with no personnel dedicated to it … no good options!
  • Patch as fast as possible – with no automation and fragile legacy systems … no good options!
  • Processing super-secret data on an employee-owned PC on public wifi … no good options!

Conclusion: sometimes, “NO” is the right answer! Well, that and digging a deep enough bunker or moving to a space station before the meteor swarm hits!

This was cross-posted from the Gartner blog.

10891
Firewalls IDS/IDP Network Access Control Network->General SCADA Budgets Enterprise Security Policy Security Awareness Security Training
Post Rating I Like this!
The views expressed in this post are the opinions of the Infosec Island member that posted this content. Infosec Island is not responsible for the content or messaging of this post.

Unauthorized reproduction of this article (in part or in whole) is prohibited without the express written permission of Infosec Island and the Infosec Island member that posted this content--this includes using our RSS feed for any purpose other than personal use.