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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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

Computerworld’s Advice Still Relies Too Much on Trust

Posted November 17, 2010    Peter McCalister

In a Computerworld article, last week, exploring the ‘scary side of virtualization’, the reporter, took some time out in a sidebar, to offer some sage staffing advice.

His riposte, ‘Beware the All-Powerful Admin’, made clear the risk of giving server admins the ‘keys to the kingdom’ – not a good thing so consultants and IT execs unanimously agree.

They might for example create virtual FTP servers ‘or they may inadvertently use a virtual-machine migration tool to move a server onto different hardware for maintenance reasons, without realizing that the new host is on an untrusted network segment.’

His sage advice, is to establish a clear separation of duties in virtual infrastructures, and develop a strong change-management process that includes issuing change management tickets.

BeyondTrust, naturally would agree, but with one caveat. Businesses don’t rely on trust alone. BeyondTrust’s name doesn’t invite businesses to put their faith in some kind of metaphysical state that transcends our human frailties, it simply invites you to recognize that people can and do make mistakes, and when they are people with the ‘keys to the kingdom’, these mistakes can be costly.

Better to trust your people, and, take out an insurance policy against human frailties, whether those be fat fingered mistakes, or willful misuse of responsibility.

In any environment especially the deployment of virtualized environments, strong identity management practices, and specifically control around privileged access, must be put in place. As BeyondTrust’s Jeff Nielsen says: “As the number of virtual hosts increases, there is a natural tendency to create islands of identity that are difficult to manage. As individual virtual servers are created that serve the needs of departmental applications, there will be typically be a push from the departments for them to own the access to the server, specifically the privileged access, in the name of departmental efficiency. As the number of identity sources increases, the prospect for orphaned or inappropriate privileged access increases. Without a well-orchestrated management scheme for identity management and privileged access, the company will soon lose control compromising security and audit compliance.”

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Additional articles

Dark Reading

2014: The Year of Privilege Vulnerabilities

Posted December 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Of the 30 critical-rated Microsoft Security Bulletins this year, 24 involved vulnerabilities where the age-old best practice of “least privilege” could limit the impact of malware and raise the bar of difficulty for attackers.

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Looking back on information security in 2014

Posted December 16, 2014    Dave Shackleford

Dave Shackleford is a SANS Instructor and founder of Voodoo Security. Join Dave for a closer look at the year in security, and learn what you can do to prepare for 2015, with this upcoming webinar. 2014 has been one heck of an insane year for information security professionals. To start with, we’ve been forced…

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December 2014 Patch Tuesday

Posted December 9, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This month marks the final Patch Tuesday of 2014. Most of what is being patched this month includes Internet Explorer, Exchange, Office, etc… and continues a trend of the greatest hits collection of commonly attacked Microsoft software. Probably the one thing that broke the mold this month is that for once there is not some…

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