Anticipating Black Hat

RSA 2014 seems like ancient history and the 2015 event isn’t until next April. No worries, however, the industry is set to gather in the Las Vegas heat next week for cocktails, sushi bars, and oh yeah – Black Hat.

Now Black Hat is an interesting blend of constituents consisting of government gumshoes, Sand Hill Rd. Merlot drinking VCs, cybersecurity business wonks, “beautiful mind” academics, and tattooed hackers – my kind of crowd! As such, we aren’t likely to hear much about NIST frameworks, GRC, or CISO strategies. Alternatively, I am looking forward to deep discussions on:

  • Advanced malware tactics. Some of my favorite cybersecurity researchers will be in town to describe what they are seeing “in the wild.” These discussions are extremely informative and scary at the same time. This is where industry analysts like me learn about the latest evasion techniques, man-in-the-browser attacks, and whether mobile malware will really impact enterprise organizations.
  • The anatomy of various security breaches. Breaches at organizations like the New York Times, Nordstrom, Target, and the Wall Street Journal receive lots of media attention, but the actual details of attacks like these are far too technical for business publications or media outlets like CNN and Fox News. These “kill chain” details are exactly what we industry insiders crave as they provide play-by-play commentary about the cybersecurity cat-and-mouse game we live in.
  • Threat intelligence. All of the leading infosec vendors (i.e., Blue Coat, Cisco, Check Point, HP, IBM, Juniper, McAfee, RSA, Symantec, Trend Micro, Webroot, etc.) have been offering threat intelligence for years, yet threat intelligence will be one of the major highlights at Black Hat. Why? Because not all security and/or threat intelligence is created equally. Newer players like BitSight, Crowdstrike, iSight Partners, Norse, RiskIQ, and Vorstack are slicing and dicing threat intelligence and customizing it for specific industries and use cases. Other vendors like Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks are actively sharing threat intelligence and encouraging other security insiders to join. Finally, there is a global hue and cry for intelligence sharing that includes industry standards (i.e. CybOX, STIX, TAXII, etc.) and even pending legislation. All of these things should create an interesting discourse.
  • Big data security analytics. This is an area I follow closely that is changing on a daily basis. It’s also an interesting community of vendors. Some (i.e., 21CT, ISC8, Leidos, Lockheed-Martin, Norse, Palantir, Raytheon, etc.), come from the post 9/11 “total information access” world, while others (Click Security, HP, IBM, Lancope, LogRhythm, RSA, etc.) are firmly rooted in the infosec industry. I look forward to a lively discussion about geeky topics like algorithms, machine learning, and visual analytics.
Topics: IBM Check Point Palo Alto Networks Fortinet Cisco Data Management & Analytics Information and Risk Management Juniper HP McAfee Enterprise Software Security and Privacy Crowdstrike Lockheed Martin Black Hat trend micro RiskIQ 21CT Leidos Norse CybOX BitSight Symantec RSA TAXII ISC8 Blue Coat STIX Webroot

Enterprises Need Outside-In Continuous Monitoring for Risk Management

Ask any CISO what their job entails and they are likely to respond with a common mantra: Assess IT risk, communicate IT risk to business executives, and then create and execute a mutually agreed upon plan to address risk.

Topics: IBM Cloud Computing Cybersecurity Information and Risk Management Security and Privacy Security risk management DHS Booz Allen Hamilton Lockheed Martin RiskIQ BitSight Target CSC CDM cyber supply chain security Public Cloud Service

New Year’s Forecast for the Information Security Industry: Part 1

I hope my cybersecurity colleagues enjoyed their holiday these past few weeks. It was surely well deserved as the year 2013 will be remembered as a whirlwind of activity featuring successful IPOs and scary security incidents. Given this, it’s likely that security professionals spent the last few weeks with one eye on family and holidays and another on emerging details about the massive breach at Target.

So what’s in store for the information security industry in 2014? On the surface, it should be a happy new year across the board for security technology vendors, MSSPs, and professional service firms. That said, there is a lot of work ahead as enterprise organizations figure out how to transform an army of point tools and manual processes into a cohesive security strategy.

Topics: IBM Apple Network Security Cybersecurity Check Point Fortinet Cisco Information and Risk Management FireEye HP Dell McAfee Security and Privacy Security Juniper Networks Lockheed Martin E&Y Leidos Booz Allen Accenture Blue Coat ARM CSC Intel NIST

The Security Skills Shortage Is Worse Than You Think

I’ve written a lot about the security skills shortage but it is worth reviewing a bit of data here for context. According to ESG Research, 55% of enterprise organizations (i.e., those with more than 1,000 employees) plan to hire additional security professionals in 2012 but they are extremely hard to find. In fact, 83% of enterprises claim that it is “extremely difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to recruit and/or hire security professionals in the current market.

Given this data, it is fair to assume that many IT security organizations are short staffed and pushing the security team to its limits. As if this wasn’t bad enough, ESG data also points to 3 trends that exacerbate the security skills shortage further impacting the effectiveness of the precious few security personnel in place:

  1. Critical skills deficits. Along with the shortage of staff, many organizations report that their security staff lacks skills in critical areas such as network security, cloud computing/server virtualization security, mobile device security, and security analysis/forensics.
  2. Security staff time management. Large organizations indicate that one of their biggest problems is that their security professionals spend an inordinate amount of their time putting out fires. This limits the time for other more proactive security activities.
  3. Security tools complexity and lack of automation. Security vendors built tools rich in feature/functionality and designed for customization. Unfortunately, many large organizations don’t have the time or staff necessary to fine-tune them or develop expertise in their use.
Topics: IBM Cloud Computing Check Point Palo Alto Networks Private Cloud Infrastructure Information and Risk Management Sourcefire HP Dell McAfee Security and Privacy BYOD Raytheon Lockheed Martin trend micro Symantec saic CSC BT Verizon Unisys Server Virtualization security skills Public Cloud Service