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Network is a Network Not

By Dan Hadaway | Thursday, August 18, 2011 - Leave a Comment

Four Conditions Laid Out…


…For Why a Network Can be Anything But!
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .


I have to admit that infotex is being called into engineering meetings with larger organizations these days that are not community based banks.  We are finding the paradigm shift to be interesting.  For one, the most experienced people in a non-regulated business sometimes does not understand security as well as the least experienced person in a bank.  I have interacted with CIOs who do not know what a strong password is.  In one case I was scolded because I made the unfortunate comment that a network is a network is a network.  I realized that was an unfortunate comment because it is extremely important for any vendor to any organization to understand the nuances of that organization’s existing information system and the underlying infrastructure which includes “the network.”  But I also needed to push back to that person after demonstrating that we understood those nuances to help him understand that in the eyes of an attacker his network is no different from any other network.  His network has four conditions.

1. There are always vulnerabilities on his network, there are known vulnerabilities, but there are also unknown vulnerabilities and those vulnerabilities can be exploited.

2. There is data in the network that can be leveraged.  Whether or not that data is regulated, whether or not that data is classified, that data could be ransomed, that data could be stolen, that data could be used to extort members of the organization.

3. A method of monitoring, or a risk management system.  Or what infotex is already called, “an IT governance system” that oversees the control of risk.  What the attacker knows about that third condition is that it needs to be avoided.  The way the attacker avoids the monitoring system is by being aware of the fourth and final condition of any network.  Which is exactly what the CIO was saying.

4. A network is not a network is not a network.  A network is impermanent, it is constantly changing and therefore the monitoring needs to be consistent no matter what the network ends up being.

The point is the SIEM needs to be able to monitor the network through the ever evolving state of that network.


Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex

“Dan’s New Leaf” is a “fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.”

 


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