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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.

Securing the Perimeter One Privileged User at a Time

Posted July 14, 2011    Peter McCalister

You’ve heard it said before: “To some degree, you just have to trust your employees.”

Ideally, yes. Trust between employee and employer is important, even necessary. But when this statement is made in the context of an employee’s access to a company’s most critical IT assets, the risk that accompanies it is simply too great for any employer to take.

This isn’t to say that employees inherently foster evil intentions when it comes to their company’s critical data. The fact is, good people do bad things – and often those bad things are completely unintentional. After all, one of the most widely quoted data points from the Verizon 2010 Data Breach Investigation Report is that 48% of all data breaches that year involved privilege misuse. Chances are, carelessness, not intent, accounted for a hefty portion of those occurrences.

But the question of whether the privilege misuse that resulted in so many breaches last year was intentional or not does not change the painful end result: critical data was lost or stolen, and companies – and their customers – paid the price. The people and organizations whose responsibility it is to secure the IT infrastructure cannot ignore this fact. This makes it all the more perplexing why so many companies still insist on directing a disproportionate amount of their security budgets to protecting against the external threat at the expense of the internal threat.

A 1000+ person survey was recently conducted by McAfee, with assistance from SAIC and international research firm Vanson Bourrne, that estimates that businesses lost more than $1 trillion in 2008 as a result of data leaks. According to the report, outward-facing security mechanisms primarily intended to prevent malicious hackers, viruses and worms are the most popular methods of protecting sensitive data: anti-virus, firewalls, and intrusion detection/prevention systems. Surveys from the CSI/FBI research team also show that most organizations believe the majority of their security risks are from external threats, yet actual analysis of real breaches shows that internal threats outweigh external ones. And that points directly to – you guessed it – the misuse of privilege.

The good news is, controlling what privileged users can and can’t do is neither an insurmountable task nor one that has to result in employee productivity loss. By providing the necessary guardrails to prevent employees from using their privileges in insecure or nefarious ways, you can confidently maintain a productive workforce while minimizing risk to your organization. And trusting in that will put any security professional’s mind at ease.

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Why big data breaches won’t always be so easy

Posted September 19, 2014    Byron Acohido

This blog post is republished with the permission of ThirdCertainty. See the original post here. – By: Byron Acohido, Editor-In-Chief, ThirdCertainty Some day, perhaps fairly soon, it will be much more difficult for data thieves to pull off capers like the headline-grabbing hacks of Home Depot and Target. That’s not a pipe dream. It’s the projected outcome…

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8 Reasons Your Privileged Password Management Solution Will Fail

Posted September 18, 2014    Chris Burd

Leveraging complex, frequently updated passwords is a basic security best practice for protecting privileged accounts in your organization. But if passwords are such a no-brainer, why do two out of three data breaches tie back to poor password management? The fact is that not all privileged password management strategies are created equal, so it’s critical…

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You Change Your Oil Regularly; Why Not Your Passwords?

Posted September 11, 2014    Chris Burd

There are many things in life that get changed regularly:  your car oil, toothbrush and hopefully, your bed sheets.  It’s rare that you give these things much thought – even when you forget to change them. But what if you’re forgetting something that can cost you millions of dollars if left unchanged for long periods…

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