Worry About the Basics

I have talked to many organizations in the last few months that are all wrapped up in deploying new security technologies and making elaborate plans for securing their organization. The problem is many of these same organizations have yet to get the basics right.

It does little good for you to invest in new IPS technologies, encryption widgets, automatic defensive packet switches, uber biometric scanners and other gadgets if your employees simply give out their passwords when asked, continue to click on email attachments that are suspicious and throw away scraps of paper with the keys to the kingdom on them. As in Neil’s earlier post, some users just continue to be the weakest link.

How can IPS help you if you can’t keep your systems patched? Maybe it could be used to stop some attacks, but without omnipresent visibility, it won’t truly defend you, just give you a false sense of security. That’s the problem with relying on technology and gadgets to secure your organization, without the other components of policy/processes that are strong and awareness that is effective, you might as well throw your money out the window instead of buying some new whiz-bang piece of hardware or software that the vendors say will solve your problems.

The basics of infosec haven’t really changed. You still need a set of policies and processes that explain how the organization operates, how you will secure and handle data and how your users are to act. They need awareness training on these processes and policies so that they know how to act, how to handle data and what you expect them to do when something bad happens. THEN, you need technology to enforce the rules, audit for “bad stuff” and protect you against users who make poor choices. That truly is the role of effective security tools.

So, before you invest in the next overreaching security vendor “silver bullet”, take a moment and ask whether or not those same dollars could be better used in helping your organization do the basics better. If the answer is yes, then quietly excuse yourself from the presentation, go back to your office and implement a plan to assist with the root of the problem. Otherwise, buy away, keep looking for point solutions and keep wondering why your users are still throwing passwords in the dumpster…

This entry was posted in General InfoSec by Brent Huston. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brent Huston

I am the CEO of MicroSolved, Inc. and a security evangelist. I have spent the last 20+ years working to make the Internet safer for everyone on a global scale. I believe the Internet has the capability to contribute to the next great leap for mankind, and I want to help make that happen!

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