It’s not about the security, it’s about the people

Jason Silva, April 25th, 2013

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a big fan of the Doctor Who series. I was watching a recent episode where they needed to hack into a computer system. The Doctor didn’t think Clara, the current leading lady, could do it because the security was too tight. She replied simply, “It’s not about the security, it’s about the people”. Now, while she was of course able to hack the system in this wildly entertaining and at times overly dramatic TV series, she made the perfect point. We spend so much time putting up walls made of fire (work with me here, I’m staying with the drama), installing artificial intelligence engines able to destroy an army of nasty viruses, and even purposefully putting in bottlenecks to make sure we all travel down the digital super highway through a single lane. And for what? All to make sure our people can’t do the wrong thing…our people.

So let’s think about this for a moment. What are these people doing that’s causing us to react? Well, most times they didn’t even realize they did something wrong. Have you heard these before?

  • That email seemed harmless enough.
  • The link was on my desktop, so I clicked on it.
  • I was just browsing the web.

Whatever the case, as security professionals we need a better plan than the status quo. Using commodity software for documents and reading files should not cause this much risk. The best plan moving forward should contain at a minimum:

  • Users should have minimum access and permissions to get their job done.
  • Discover and report back on applications requesting elevated rights
  • Determine what applications are being used by your user community
  • What applications have vulnerabilities that could lead to exploitation.
  • And perhaps most important, allow you to see the context around your users and changes that have been made to their profiles.

At BeyondTrust, we offer a well-rounded suite of products that fit nicely into your current infrastructure and help you accomplish these steps in a single platform. Imagine being able to provide the required rights of an application or seeing what software users have installed post image. And, before you do anything with an application, determine how safe it is before it executes in your organization; PowerBroker for Windows does this.

As an information technology security professional, you may want a full scan of your enterprise for vulnerabilities, and package updates to be pushed out via SCCM or WSUS; these can be done with Retina.

Finally, there may be a requirement to audit changes made to Active Directory, Exchange, or even MS SQL, and quickly roll back changes that may be accidental; PowerBroker Auditor is a great solution for this.

For more information on how BeyondTrust can solve these problems, and many more, please visit us on the web.