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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.

News Year’s Resolution For 2012: Practice Safe Security

Posted January 20, 2012    Peter McCalister

Admit it. You follow certain practices within your IT environment you know to be risky from a security perspective.

You’re not alone. In fact, the number of IT professionals who routinely and knowingly take such risks is surprisingly high. Often the rationale is reasonable: you have limited resources and more IT projects than your staff can realistically manage. Your choices are : 1) miss a key deadline, 2) refuse a critical project, or 3) accept the workload you’re given and figure out a way to improve efficiency enough to complete all the projects on time. Not a tough decision to make, considering the most likely outcome to the first two choices is a not-so-subtle reminder that management teams are not interested in hearing from employees offering to do less, more slowly.

So you set out to improve efficiency instead. The problem is, “improve efficiency” typically translates to “cut corners.” Bypass a security process or two. Take a not-so-calculated risk. Grant a privilege that might be suspect; maybe even give out a root password so someone can wrap up a maintenance job that’s been on hold while the admin assigned to the task has been out sick. And these help desk calls that keep coming in for this new software the marketing team needs on their desktops – maybe just give them local admin rights for the time being so they can download the software themselves. You can always go back next week and restrict them back to standard users (if you remember to).

“Improving efficiency” may also mean signing off on a compliance control without proper examination. Who has time to inspect sudoer files on 250 servers every single quarter to validate access privileges? Let’s spot-check, say, 25 instead. Just this quarter, until you can get caught up.

The interesting thing is that for a small upfront time investment, you can obtain tools to improve efficiency in these areas permanently. You don’t have to go to 250 servers to inspect sudoer files if you centralize privileged user policies in one place and have one entitlement report to examine. And elevating a privilege on the desktop so people have what they need to do their jobs can be done almost instantly, without granting local admin rights. All you need are the right tools – ones that allow you to keep your IT environment secure without impacting productivity. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep: practicing safe security, efficiently.

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Additional articles

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Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

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Adobe Patches Zero-Day Flaw Being Exploited in the Wild

Posted January 22, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Earlier this week, French malware researcher Kafeine reported on a new Adobe Flash zero-day vulnerability that was being exploited in the wild using the latest versions of the Angler Exploit Toolkit. “Any version of Internet Explorer or Firefox with any version of Windows will get owned if Flash up to 16.0.0.287 (included) is installed and enabled”…

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Your Data Security Strategy Starts with Deploying a Least Privilege Model (part 2 of 2)

Posted January 22, 2015    Scott Lang

In last week’s blog, we talked about how controls and accountability must be put into place so that only the right folks can access data and the systems on which that data resides, and that employing a least privilege model helps to achieve that and more. We’re using conclusions and data from a recent report…

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