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Leading Enterprise Organizations Have Established a Dedicated Network Security Group

Posted: October 06, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: IBM, Network Security, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Cisco, IT Infrastructure, Networking, Information and Risk Management, Juniper, Sourcefire, FireEye, HP, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security

When an enterprise organization wanted to buy network security equipment a few years ago, there was a pretty clear division of labor. The security team defined the requirements and the networking team purchased and operated equipment. In other words, the lines were divided. The security team could describe what was needed but didn’t dare tell the networking team what to buy or get involved with day-to-day care and feeding related to “networking” matters.

This “us-and-them” mentality appears to be legacy behavior. According to ESG research on network security trends, 47% of enterprise organizations now claim that they have a dedicated group in charge of all aspects of network security. Additionally, network security is done cooperatively by networking and security teams at 26% of organizations today but these firms insist that they are in the process of creating a dedicated network security group to supplant their current division of labor.

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Is Cisco Back (as an Enterprise Security Leader)?

Posted: May 22, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, Hadoop, Networking, Information and Risk Management, Juniper, Sourcefire, FireEye, HP, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, CiscoLive, trend micro, Symantec, Blue Coat, TrustSec, Crossbeam, Mergers / Acquisitions, Anti-malware

It wasn’t too long ago that Cisco was a dominant force in information security technology. The company was a market leader in firewalls, IDS/IPS, and e-mail security and was actively pushing products for endpoint security and SIEM as well as security “blades” for Catalyst switches. Heck, Cisco even articulated a bold vision of “self-defending networks” with security policy, enforcement, and intelligence all baked into the network.

Somewhere around 2008, however, Cisco security went into a prolonged slump. Cisco security products didn’t offer the performance of rivals like Crossbeam (now Blue Coat), Juniper, or McAfee. Cisco missed markets like next-generation firewalls, opening the door for savvy startups like FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, and Stonesoft. Cisco products such as the Cisco Security Agent (Okena) and MARS (Protego) were abject failures and discontinued by the company. Finally, Cisco’s security team itself imploded as management and engineering leaders fled San Jose for greener valley pastures.

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Antivirus Software Is Not Quite Dead Yet

Posted: May 06, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: End-User Computing, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, endpoint security, Malwarebytes, Kaspersky, Triumfant, Guidance Software, Crowdstrike, trend micro, Symantec, RSA Security, Cylance, Bit9, Carbon Black, Anti-malware

In a Wall Street Journal article published earlier this week, Symantec SVP Brian Dye, is quoted as saying that “antivirus is dead.” Dye goes on to proclaim that “we (Symantec) don’t think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way.”

I beg your pardon, Brian? Isn’t Symantec the market leader? Just what are you saying? In lieu of specific answers to these questions, the blogosphere and Twitter have become a grapevine of rumors – about Symantec, AV, etc. Panic and wild predictions abound. Dogs and cats living together in the streets . . .

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Are Enterprise Organizations Ready to Use Free AV Software?

Posted: March 20, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: Microsoft, Endpoint & Application Virtualization, Cisco, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, Bradford Networks, Malwarebytes, Kaspersky Lab, Juniper Networks, freeware, ForeScout, Avast, trend micro, bromium, Symantec, security intelligence, Great Bay Software, antivirus, Cylance, Bit9, Anti-malware, APT

Last year, ESG published a research report titled, Advanced Malware Detection and Protection Trends, based upon a survey of 315 security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees). In one question, ESG asked security professionals whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “Commercial host-based security software (i.e., AV) is more or less the same as free security software.”

It turns out that 36% of security professionals either “strongly agree” or “agree" with this statement, while another 25% are sitting on the fence (i.e., they neither agree nor disagree with the statement).

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RSA Conference Recap: Positive Direction for Security Industry

Posted: March 03, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, VMware, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, SIEM, Proofpoint, LogRhythm, rsa conference, trend micro, Symantec, click security, Anti-malware, NIST, Firewall & UTM

Last week’s RSA Conference was a whirlwind of meetings, presentations, and unusual west coast rain storms. I’m not sure about the attendance numbers but it seemed especially busy – not surprising after the many cybersecurity events of 2013.

I met with around 40 different security vendors throughout the week and heard some encouraging news. Rather than crow about the latest technology fad or threat Du Jour, many security vendors are now focused on:

  1. Integration. In the past, vendors tended to push a bunch of point products on a one-off basis but enterprise CISOs are now resisting this onslaught as they don’t have the time or personnel to manage an army of security widgets. Smart vendors are responding with more integrated product suites and central management. For example, Trend Micro is aggregating all of its endpoint elements into one product offering while FireEye is extending its protection across the enterprise. Similarly, Cisco is adding Sourcefire technology into traditional Cisco security and networking, while Symantec has consolidated a number of products into a data center security suite. Finally, Palo Alto Networks has externalized integration with a number of proof-of-concept projects with VMware NSX for virtual network security in large data centers. These efforts aren’t simple bundling and marketing spin, there is actual R&D going on to make products work better together.
  2. Ease-of-use. Security professionals don’t have the time for complex product deployment, customization, or lengthy training classes on product administration. Fortunately, some vendors are addressing this by making their products much easier to use. Newcomer TraceVector is designed to identify and apply risk scores to malware with a simple but thorough graphical interface. Click Security uses visual analytics to help security professionals see the relationships associated with malicious traffic patterns between various internal and external hosts. LogRhythm’s new 6.2 release is designed to advance and improve how security intelligence gets delivered to security analysts. Given the IT security skills shortage, this trend is very encouraging.
  3. Middleware. Once you start integrating security piece parts, you need middleware to act as the software glue between them. McAfee announced this type of architecture as part of its Security Connected and Threat Intelligence Exchange (TIE) announcements. In the short term, McAfee will use its middleware to integrate its own products and threat intelligence but it plans to extend these capabilities to 3rd parties over time to support heterogeneous environments.
  4. Automation. Given the scale of network traffic and malware, CISOs want intelligent technologies to take some of the risk management and remediation burden. I hosted a panel discussion on security automation that featured speakers from Boeing, NIST, and JW Secure (sponsored by the TCG) around this topic. All agreed that we need to instrument security tools and provide standard enumeration and protocols so we can share information more effectively. Many vendors are using the DHS/Mitre TAXII and STIX standards along this line to automate and integrate threat intelligence sharing. Aside from standards discussions, new security products from companies like Proofpoint, Tufin, and vArmour, are designed specifically to automate today’s complex security tasks. Once again, the security skills shortage makes automation a necessity.
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Endpoint Security Market Transformation In 2014

Posted: January 13, 2014   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: IBM, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, Malwarebytes, Triumfant, Mandiant, Avast, trend micro, RSA, antivirus, Cylance, Bit9, Anti-malware, APT, Trusteer

It is widely agreed that the security software market is over $20 billion worldwide and that endpoint security software (aka antivirus) makes up the lion’s share of this revenue. After all, AV is an endpoint staple product bundled on new PCs, required as part of regulatory compliance, and even available for free from reputable providers such as Avast, AVG, and Microsoft.

Yup, AV software is certainly pervasive but traditional endpoint security vendors will face a number of unprecedented challenges to their comfy hegemony in 2014 for several reasons:

  1. Security professionals are increasingly questioning AV effectiveness. According to ESG research, 62% of security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) believe that traditional endpoint security software is not effective for detecting zero-day and/or polymorphic malware commonly used as part of targeted attacks today. To quote Lee Atwater, ‘perception is reality’ when it comes to AV.
  2. Many organizations are already moving beyond AV. ESG research also indicates that over half (51%) of large organizations are planning to add new layers of endpoint security software in order to detect/prevent advanced malware threats. This means that enterprise companies aren’t waiting for AV vendors to catch up but rather spending on new endpoint defenses – likely with new vendors.
  3. The industry is turning up the heat. The AV market has been a cozy oligopoly dominated by a handful of vendors. This market is coming unglued as a combination of new threats and user perceptions is opening the door to an assortment of upstarts. The list includes smaller firms like Bit9, Cylance, Malwarebytes, and Triumfant as well as 800-pound gorillas like Cisco (with Sourcefire FireAMP, IBM (with Trusteer), and RSA Security (with ECAT). Oh, and let’s not forget red hot FireEye’s acquisition of Mandiant or Palo Alto’s purchase of Morta. These two firms are intent on leaving AV vendors in the dust as they pursue the title of “next-generation security company” (whatever that means).
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Addressing advanced malware in 2014

Posted: December 16, 2013   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: IBM, Check Point, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Cisco, IT Infrastructure, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, HP, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, endpoint security, Kaspersky, LogRhythm, trend micro, bromium, Symantec, Invincea, antivirus, RSA Security, Sophos, Bit9, Anti-malware, Hexis, Splunk

In the cybersecurity annals of the future, 2013 may be remembered as the year of advanced malware. Yes, I know that malware is nothing new and the term “advanced” is more hype than reality as a lot of attacks have involved little more than social engineering and off-the-shelf exploits. That said, I think it’s safe to say that this is the year that the world really woke up to malware dangers (advanced or not) and is finally willing to address this risk.

So how will enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) change their security strategies over the next year to mitigate the risks associated with advanced malware threats? According to ESG research:

  • 51% of enterprise organizations say they will add a new layer of endpoint software to protect against zero day and other types of advanced malware. Good opportunity for Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos, Symantec, and Trend Micro to talk to customers about innovation and new products but the old guard has to move quickly to prevent an incursion by new players like Bit9, Bromium, Invincea, and Malwarebytes. The network crowd (i.e., Cisco, Check Point, FireEye, Fortinet, and Palo Alto Networks, etc.) may also throw a curveball at endpoint security vendors as well. For example, Cisco (Sourcefire) is already selling an endpoint/network anti-malware solution with a combination of FireAMP and FirePOWER.
  • 49% of enterprise organizations say they will collect and analyze more security data, thus my prediction for an active year in the big data security analytics market – good news for LogRhythm and Splunk. Still, there is a lot of work to be done on the supply and demand side for this to really come to fruition.
  • 44% of enterprise organizations say they will automate more security operations tasks. Good idea since current manual security processes and informal relationship between security and IT operations is killing the effectiveness and pace of security remediation. Again, this won’t be easy as there is a cultural barrier to overcome but proactive organizations are already moving in this direction. If you are interested in this area, I suggest you have a look at Hexis Cyber Solutions’ product Hawkeye G. Forward thinking remediation stuff here.
  • 41% of enterprise organizations say they will design and build a more integrated information security architecture. In other words, they will start replacing tactical point tools with an architecture composed of central command-and-control along with distributed security enforcement. Good idea, CISOs should create a 3-5 year plan for this transition. A number of vendors including HP, IBM, McAfee, RSA Security, and Trend Micro are designing products in this direction with the enterprise in mind.
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It Could Be a Very Happy New Year for FireEye

Posted: December 11, 2013   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Cisco, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, Security and Privacy, LogRhythm, trend micro, Blue Coat, Firewall, Anti-malware, APT, Hexis

Ah, December. Time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2014. In retrospect, 2013 was a banner year for the security industry as the world finally woke up to the very real perils of cybersecurity. Of all the many events of this year, however, FireEye’s IPO may have trumped them all. As I write this blog on December 11, 2013, FireEye’s market cap is just north of $4.5 billion. Wow!

Yup, Wall Street loves a hot market and a timely IPO – check and check for FireEye. Okay but when the New Year’s Eve champagne turns into the New Year’s Day hangover, what’s in store for FireEye in 2014?

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The Pressing Need to Improve Endpoint Visibility for Information Security

Posted: August 13, 2013   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, endpoint security, big data security analytics, Bradford Networks, Mandiant, ForeScout, Guidance Software, bromium, Invincea, Great Bay Software, RSA Security

In a recent ESG research project, 315 security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) were asked to identify their organizations’ endpoint security monitoring weaknesses. Thirty percent said they were unsure about, “applications installed on each device,” 19% had difficulty monitoring “downloads/execution of suspicious code,” 12% struggled when tracking, “suspicious/malicious network activity,” and 11% had a hard time tracking “current patch levels.”

Why is it so difficult to monitor endpoint activities? An old saying comes to mind: “Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.” There are records about endpoints all over the place – asset databases, CMDBs, network monitoring tools, vulnerability scanners, patch management tools, etc. – but when security analysts need up-to-the-minute information for critical remediation activities, they have to scramble around through a myriad of management systems to retrieve it.

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Which Security Vendors Have an Advantage with Integrated Network and Host-based Security?

Posted: August 08, 2013   /   By: Jon Oltsik   /   Tags: IBM, Network Security, Check Point, Cisco, Information and Risk Management, Sourcefire, FireEye, HP, McAfee, Security and Privacy, Security, endpoint security, Guidance Software, trend micro, Symantec, Blue Coat, antivirus, Anti-malware, APT

Suppose that President Obama scheduled a visit to New York for an event in Time Square. Now what if the Secret Service deployed two teams responsible for security; one to secure the Avenues running north and south (i.e. Broadway, 7th Ave., etc.), and another to do the same for the streets running east and west (i.e., 49th St., 48th St., etc.)? Further, what if these teams operated independently with little coordination and communications and different chains of command?

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