BeyondTrust

Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

Welcome to Security in Context

Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Black Swans and Tough Trade-offs For Privilege Identity Management

Posted February 10, 2011    Peter McCalister

Recently we talked about the difficult trade-off between security and productivity in regard to designing effective password policies.  Managing these difficult exchanges is a major challenge for many IT decision makers. Security is time consuming and complicated, which almost always means extra work for someone. So IT must decide: is reduced security risk worth the extra work?

In analyzing these trade-offs, it’s generally easy to measure the impact reduced security will have on productivity. It’s much harder to assess the risks (and benefits of lowering those risks) at different levels of security. The textbook answer is to look at the impact of different security threats, and then asses the probability of them occurring. Unfortunately, we are generally bad at assessing high-impact, hard to predict, and rare events, also known as Black Swans (not to be confused with the movie of the same name). As much as we analyze past events that make the press, like the breach at Mozilla and Wikileaks, there are very real and well-documented psychological biases that make people underestimate these events.

Those biases (for example- my company isn’t at risk for a security breach) then distort the results of our trade-off analyses for privilege identity management and whether or not to implement least privilege. IT organizations fall back on gut feelings, rules of thumb, past practices and most often just follow the rules and regulations so they remain in compliance. That’s a good thing to do, though hardly optimal,and raises a bigger question for IT: Does Compliance = Security?  More on that next week.

Leave a Reply

Additional articles

randy franklin smith

At the End of Day You Can’t Control What Privileged Users Do: It’s about Detective/Deterrent Controls and Accountability

Posted March 31, 2015    Randy Franklin Smith

Live Webinar: Thursday, April 2, 2015 | 10am PT/1pm ET | REGISTER NOW! In this webinar, Security Expert Randy Franklin Smith will look at how to audit what admins do inside Linux and UNIX with sudo’s logging capabilities.

Tags:
, ,
BA_Hacked

British Airways Executive Club Member Accounts Hacked

Posted March 30, 2015    Brian Chappell

British Airways has released information regarding the hacking of a number of their Executive Club (BA’s frequent flyer programme) member’s accounts.

Tags:
, , ,
webinar_ondemand

On Demand Webinar – Why You Still Suck at Patching

Posted March 27, 2015    Lindsay Marsh

On Demand Webinar: Dave Shackleford recounts some of his personal experiences in patch management failure, and breaks down the most critical issues holding many teams back from patching more effectively.

Tags:
,