Hosting Providers Matter as Business Partners

Hosting providers seem to be an often overlooked exposure area for many small and mid-size organizations. In the last several weeks, as we have been growing the use of our passive assessment platform for supply chain assessments, we have identified several instances where the web site hosting company (or design/development company) is among the weakest links. Likely, this is due to the idea that these services are commodities and they are among the first areas where organizations look to lower costs.

The fall out of that issue, though, can be problematic. In some cases, organizations are finding themselves doing business with hosting providers who reduce their operational costs by failing to invest in information security.* Here are just a few of the most significant issues that we have seen in this space:
  • “PCI accredited” checkout pages hosted on the same server as other sites that are clearly under the control of an attacker
  • Exposed applications and services with default credentials on the same systems used to host web sites belonging to critical infrastructure organizations
  • Dangerous service exposures on hosted systems
  • Malware infested hosting provider ad pages, linked to hundreds or thousands of their client sites hosted with them
  • Poorly managed encryption that impacts hundreds or thousands of their hosted customer sites
  • An interesting correlation of blacklisted host density to geographic location and the targeted verticals that some hosting providers sell to
  • Pornography being distributed from the same physical and logical servers as traditional businesses and critical infrastructure organizations
  • A clear lack of DoS protection or monitoring
  • A clear lack of detection, investigation, incident response and recovery maturity on the part of many of the vendors 
It is very important that organizations realize that today, much of your risk extends well beyond the network and architectures under your direct control. Partners, and especially hosting companies and cloud providers, are part of your data footprint. They can represent significant portions of your risk, and yet, are areas where you may have very limited control. 
 
If you would like to learn more about using our passive assessment platform and our vendor supply chain security services to help you identify, manage and reduce your risk – please give us a call (614-351-1237) or drop us a line (info /at/ MicroSolved /dot/ com). We’d love to walk you through some of the findings we have identified and share some of the insights we have gleaned from our analysis.
 
Until next time, thanks for reading and stay safe out there!
 
*Caveat: This should not be taken that information security is correlated with cost. We have seen plenty of “high end”, high cost hosting companies with very poor security practices. The inverse is also true. Validation is the key…

3 Reasons Your Supply Chain Security Program Stinks

  1. Let’s face it, Supply Chain Security and Vendor Risk Management is just plain hard. There are a lot of moving pieces – companies, contacts, agreements, SLAs, metrics, reporting, etc. Suppliers also change frequently, since they have their own mergers/acquisitions, get replaced due to price changes or quality issues, new suppliers are added to support new product lines and old vendors go away as their product lines become obsolete. Among all of that, is cyber-security. MSI has a better and faster way forward – an automated way to reduce the churn – a way to get a concise, easy to use and manageable view of the security of your vendors’ security posture. This month, we will show you what we have been doing in secret for some of the largest companies in the world… 
  2. Vendors with good security postures often look the same as vendors with dangerous security postures, on paper at least. You know the drill – review the contracts, maybe they send you an audit or scan report (often aged), maybe they do a questionnaire (if you’re lucky). You get all of this – after you chase them down and hound them for it. You hope they were honest. You hope the data is valid. You hope they are diligent. You hope they stay in the same security posture or improve over time, and not the opposite. You hope for a lot. You just don’t often KNOW, and what most companies do know about their vendors is often quite old in Internet terms, and can be far afield from where their security posture is at the moment. MSI can help here too. This month, we will make our passive assessment tool available to the public for the first time. Leveraging it, you will be able to rapidly, efficiently and definitively get a historic and current view of the security posture of your vendors, without their permission or knowledge, with as frequent updates as you desire. You’ll be able to get the definitive audit of their posture, from the eyes of an attacker, in a variety of formats – including direct data feeds back into your GRC tools. Yes, that’s right – you can easily differentiate between good and bad security AND put an end to data entry and keyboarding sessions. We will show you how… 
  3. Supply chain security via manual processes just won’t scale. That’s why we have created a set of automated tools and services to help organizations do ongoing assessments of their entire supply chain. You can even sort your supply chain vendors by criticality or impact, and assign more or less frequent testing to those groups. You can get written reports, suitable for auditors – or as we wrote above, data feeds back to your GRC tools directly. We can test tens of vendors or thousands of vendors – whatever you need to gain trust and assurance over your supply chain vendors. The point is, we built workflows, methodologies, services and tools that scale to the largest companies on the planet. This month, we will show you how to solve your supply chain security problems.
 
If you would like a private, sneak peak preview briefing of our research and the work we have done on this issue, please get in touch with your account executive or drop us a line via info (at) microsolved /dot/ com, call us at (614) 351-1237 or click the request a quote button at the top of our website – http://microsolved.com. We’ll be happy to sit down and walk through it with you. 
 
If you prefer to learn more throughout March – stay tuned to http://stateofsecurity.com for more to come. Thanks for reading! 

March is Supply Chain Security Month at MSI

This month, March of 2016, we will be creating and publishing content around supply chain security, vendor risk and our new products and services focused on this area of your business.

For the last 2.5 years, MSI has been working with partners and companies around the world to create new solutions to aid them in the battle of identifying, profiling and auditing the security of their supply chain vendors. Our research in this area has led to the creation of a new line of products and services that we will be making public throughout the month. 

Stay tuned to StateOfSecurity.com for the details as they unfold. In the meantime, if you would like to arrange a special private briefing about our exciting and unique new approaches and tools – give your account executive a call to arrange for a private discussion, capabilities briefing and demo.

As always, thanks for reading – and here is to helping making supply chain security manageable, efficient and effective for companies of all sizes!