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Compliance across industry cybersecurity compliance requirements by industry – Series

Each sector has its own cybersecurity pain points, and there is, of course, much overlap as well. Phishing is especially an issue across all industry sectors, likely because it taps into our behavior, and because of that it is very successful as an attack vector. To attempt to counter the onslaught of cyber threats against our nation’s industries, each sector has in place measures of compliance and regulations, with elements of security and privacy requirements specifically dealt with. In this final, round-up article, we’ll be looking at the compliance expectations of each sector, and how those guidelines should fit in with any industry sector security strategy.

Healthcare Compliance and Regulations

Healthcare is a data-rich industry sector and as such has some extensive security regulations to adhere to. The main body of regulations used within this sector is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH).

HIPPA was introduced in 1996 and the HIPPA Privacy Rule covers the security of Personal Health Information (PHI). PHI is has a very wide scope. It includes all personal information, such as name address and so on, but it also includes medical records and even DNA. HIPPA specifically regulates how PHI is handled, i.e. used and disclosed. It is meant, however, to get the balance between security and usability of PHI right; it is important to keep health data flowing and available for improved health care. The Privacy Rule covers health plans, healthcare providers, and health care clearinghouses. Importantly, it also covers ‘business associates’. This means that the extended ecosystem of third-party vendors used by health care also needs to be HIPPA compliant. Essentially any healthcare CIO is responsible for ensuring that third-party vendors take due care of any PHI that comes under their remit.

HITECH was introduced in 2009 as a way of encouraging the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR). HITECH is a separate law to HIPPA but they work in symbiosis. HITECH, for example, has set fines for non-compliance of HIPPA security regulations.

The HIPPA Omnibus rule, introduced in 2013, strengthens the main security requirements of HIPPA and sets the expectations of the breach notification rule to cover any breach of over 500 individuals. The breach must be reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services, and the details made publically accessible.

Financial Services Compliance and Regulations

The financial services industry has a focus on the protection of financial data, including payment card information. Compliance requirements across the industry are complex and can be country-specific. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) specifically covers the handling and management of payment card data. This act covers all aspects of payment card data handling, from acquiring, transmitting, storing and processing these data. PCI-DSS is based on a process of, “access, report, remediate. It is about understanding your IT assets and processes around payment card handling, sorting out any vulnerabilities, and keeping records, as well as submitting compliance reports to the banks and card brands a company is associated with. Financial services companies need to ensure that their services can be PCI-DSS compliant.

The Sarbanes Oxley Act was brought in to protect the public from fraudulent financial transactions by corporations in general. However, it also impacts the financial sector. Its main thrust is around what records to store and for how long. The act specifies security measures that need to be undertaken to protect the stored records.

Payment protection is one area of compliance, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a requirement to also protect Personally-Identifying Information (PII) – see ISO27001 below.

Manufacturing Compliance and Regulations

There are a plethora of regulations covering the manufacturing industry, some being specific to the industry type, e.g. toy manufacture. However, in terms of security, the industry has to cover areas as diverse as data protection, IT safety and security, to health, safety, and environmental impact. One of the most prevalent security-based regulatory standards in this industry sector is the ISO27001 series. ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is a generic version of the regulation applied across all industry sectors. It is a regulation designed to establish an information security management system within an organization. The regulation looks at risks across the IT systems of a company, including how IT security is managed, access controls, operations security, and even human resource security. Meeting ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is an intensive process where the company must meet all of the requirements.

Automotive Compliance and Regulations

The automotive industry as a sub-sector of the manufacturing industry has to meet the compliance requirements of that industry. However, areas of automotive also offer financial packages for car purchases, and as such also need to meet various financial regulations, like PCI-DSS.

Transportation has to look to ISO27001 to ensure that customer and supplier information is kept safe, and to make sure their vendor ecosystem is also conforming to the remit of the standard.

The automotive industry has a specific requirement in terms of car safety too. As the automotive industry embraces the IoT and driverless cars, regulations covering those specifics will likely be covered by extensions to existing regulations.

Energy Compliance and Regulations

The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) controls the compliance requirements of the utility companies under the banner of energy. NERC specifically looks after the cybersecurity expectations of the sector, and more recently the impact of cybersecurity on the Smart Grid.

This sector is also covered by the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standard. Versions run from CIP-002 to CIP-009. A BES Cyber System is the term used in the sector to describe cyber assets that require protection. This includes control units such as SCADA and ICS.

Retail Compliance and Regulations

One of the main regulations overseeing security in the retail sector is PCI-DSS in controlling the handling and management of payment cards. PCI-DSS also covers Point of Sale (POS) transactions. This sector, as a major target for data theft, so is also under pressure to protect PII. Retail outlets build online stores requiring accounts to be created that store Personally-Identifying Information, such as your name, address and email address. These data need to be protected using standards such as ISO27001.

Many of the standards and regulations have cross-industry application. This makes sense in light of the cross-industry attack vectors, many of which we have explored in each of the six industry sector articles looking at cybersecurity. Although some of the sectors have specific needs, such as the healthcare industry, all require a strategic approach to ensuring that the often complex compliance requirements can be met. It can take many months to get through the onerous requirements of compliance standards such as ISO27001, but the protection that a well thought through and regulated cybersecurity strategy can offer, is worth it in the long run, especially in light of the enormous efforts made by today’s cybercriminals.


All The PXI’s (PCI/PII/PHI): Putting the P Back In Protection of the Enterprise

You may have noticed in the technology world that we use acronyms a lot. It’s a bit of a running joke in the industry in fact. However, the acronyms we are going to discuss today are no joke and are some of the most important ones in the world of cybersecurity. The acronyms up for discussion today, I am calling ‘all the PXI’s”, and they cover a wide gamut of security issues that cut across compliance and the supply chain. You will notice that across the PXI’s there is a real feeling that protection of data, in whatever form, needs to be carried out across the entire ecosystem of business partners and suppliers.

The Financial Sector and PCI

PCI stands for Payment Card Industry, and it is the acronym half of the well-known compliance standard PCI-DSS or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The standard is a framework or a set of guidelines that define the types of security required to ensure that payments are secured. Any organization, from a small local shop, to a multinational bank, has to conform to the measures set out in PCI-DSS when protecting payment card information. This means taking responsibility to ensure that financial data is protected when it is accepted, transferred, stored and processed.

The major payment card vendors oversee PCI-DSS. It is broken down into six main goals that need to be achieved at varying levels to conform to PCI-DSS requirements. Which level you need to achieve depends on the volume and type of transactions you perform. Just to make it even more complicated, each card vendor has its own variation on a level. WorldPay has a set of guidelines for merchants that helps them to establish which level they need to reach. The six requirement goals cover the following:

1.     Don’t store any authentication data from a customer (such as a PIN number).

2.     Control system and network access and protect cardholder information.

3.     Any payment card applications need to be secured.

4.     Monitor system access.

5.     If you do have to store payment card information, protect it.

6.     Pull all compliance efforts together and make sure security policies are in place.

In April of this year, PCI-DSS released a new version, 3.2.  This version was released to bring PCI-DSS up to date in terms of the new threats from mobile and Cloud computing. Version 3.2 also has a number of supply chain-related requirements, such as:

 “12.3.9 Activation of remote-access technologies for vendors and business partners only when needed by vendors and business partners, with immediate deactivation after use”

The action above is likely to have come as a direct result of breaches like Target Corp where a third party vendor was phished with the result of Target’s core network being accessible by cybercriminals.

Following on from the ethos inherent in V3.2 of PCI-DSS, there is a strong push towards the ‘shared responsibility’ in protecting the payment card data of customers across the supply chain, and with business associates.

Healthcare and PHI

PHI stands for Protected Health Information and it is one of the most sought after blobs of data that a cybercriminal has in their sights. PHI comprises a multitude of information. PHI is defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act(HIPPA) and is made up of any data that can be used to associate a person’s identity with their health care. A full list of the 18 identifiers that make up PHI, can be seen here. PHI is a valuable asset and sold on the dark web for more money than any other data set, according to Ponemon Institute. In terms of the protection of PHI, HIPPA and the related Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) – brought in to enable electronic medical records (EMR), offer the guidelines for the protection of PHI. Within HIPPA is the ‘privacy rule’ and the subsets, ‘security rule’, ‘enforcement rule’ and ‘breach notification rule’ all of which deal with various aspects of the protection of PHI. This section of HIPPA gives general guidance as to what steps to take to implement a protection policy for PHI and in particular electronic PHI (ePHI). The security section is made up of three main parts:

1.     Technical safeguards: The security rule goes through all of the likely areas that need to be addressed to ensure PHI protection. This includes authentication and access control, the integrity of data, and transmission security (encryption)

2.     Physical safeguards: Such as workstation security, removable media protection, and facility access control.

3.     Administrative safeguards: Having a policy in place to cover processes and procedures. This section also looks at security awareness training.

The protection of PHI has become a serious matter. Recent years have seen major PHI breaches, with 112 million records being stolen in 2015, and 2016 looks likely to exceed that. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has suggested that as many as 40% of these breaches have been associated with third-party vendors. To counter this, recent changes to the twin acts HITECH and HIPPA have been implemented to extend the reach of the acts to associated businesses. The HIPAA Omnibus rule has come into play to ensure that any company that touches, at any time, a PHI record must comply with the same regulations as the main organization.

Every Industry and PII

PII stands for Personally-Identifying Information, and it ultimately impacts all organizations, of all sizes and types. Both PHI and PCI can be seen as special cases of PII. As far as cyber criminals are concerned, PII is the golden chalice. PII is any information that can be used to identify a person; For example, your name, address, date of birth, social security number and so on. Once you have a set of PII, not only can you sell it on the dark web, but you can also use it to carry out other attacks. This was exemplified perfectly in the attacks on the Office of Personnel Management, and the Anthem breach of 2015. Here multiple millions of PII data was stolen and then used to perpetrate further attacks on organizations such as the IRS.

The protection of PII is something that every industry must address and have security policies and strategies in place to mitigate the risk to PII. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a series of guidelines, which help to steer your security policy on PII protection. The NIST “Guide to CyberThreat Information Sharing“ focuses in on the benefits of using a shared intelligence approach to information security. The guide states that:

“Through the exchange of cyber threat information with other sharing community participants, organizations can leverage the collective knowledge, experience, and capabilities of a sharing community to gain a more complete understanding of the threats they may face.”

This is an important consideration in light of findings from a Ponemon Institute report “Data Risk in the Third-Party Ecosystem” which points out that 49% of respondents had a breach of sensitive data caused by one of their vendors.  If you don’t extend your security policies across your supply chain, then you are at a major risk from the extended ecosystem.

All the PXI’s are at risk from cyber threats. They are each valuable in their own right and in the wrong hands can be used to perpetrate crimes, over and over. We as organizations are compelled by law and ethics to protect the information of our customers. It is a mutually beneficial action. In protecting our customers’ data, we, in turn, protect our reputation and our bottom line. But we cannot do this alone. The extended supply chain needs to be brought under the umbrella of compliance and information protection, not only because the laws themselves are mandating it, but because working together will give the type of holistic, far-reaching protection that we need, to fight the ever-present danger of cybercrime.


Digital identity: The final frontier?

Identity and access management (IAM) has come a long way in the last ten years. Where once it was confined to the internal network of the enterprise, now it has broken free of those chains, and is out in the wild. The reasons for this are many, including changes in working habits, like BYOD, and the extension of the enterprise network outwards into the Cloud so that it effectively no longer exists. Also, closer working relationships with third parties, such as contractors and vendors have had an effect. All these changes have contributed to the evolution of IAM from an enterprise-only luxury, to a system that is used by everyone, across consumer and company boundaries.

Digital identity and it’s cousin, IAM are also changing the face of cyber security and how we deal with security threats. Online identity is a fuzzy concept, but more often than not, it’s being used as the method of identifying a person and assigning privileged access rights. The initial touch point of a breach is often via a social engineering attack that steals login credentials associated with a user’s digital identity login. The two concepts, online identity, and IAM are becoming more and more intrinsically linked as our online lives outside of work, and our access rights inside work, merge.

Digital identity: The Future is Now

Gartner is predicting that by 2019, third party provided identity services (IDaaS) will account for 40% of enterprise ID systems, replacing traditional IAM. What this means is that dedicated identity providers (IdP’s or identity platforms) will offer hosting and identity management services that will allow on boarding of employees. These systems offer a wider scope of identification services than traditional IAM, and can handle a wider set of use cases than internal identity systems, whilst still utilizing existing directory structures, like LDAP or Active Directory. IDaaS has the potential to create ‘hybrid identities’ where a mix of a consumer identity, verified by services such as credit file agencies or even social network participation, are combined with business identifiers. This idea of a hybrid identity, straddling all aspects of our personal and work life is a powerful concept and one driving changes in the IAM and general digital identity industry.

Identity and Security: Co-dependent Species

We’ve seen in the past few years a number of cyber attacks that have presented as a credential management issue. For example, the infamous Target Corp breach of 2013/2014, originated from a phishing exposure of third-party administrator credentials; the hackers using these to access customer accounts. Issues such as these will escalate as IAM and IDaaS systems are used in a more distributed manner, across companies, services, and systems. Ensuring that the right level of security is applied, at the right juncture, whilst retaining the usability needed for mass usage of identity and associated login, is a fine balancing act. One area that is being mixed into identity management is adaptive authentication, whereby user credentials are linked to a risk based policy or rule set. Here, a user can utilize the same identity as a consumer and as a business user, but the use of that identity and their associated login is controlled by rules. For example, if the user is accessing a company resource from outside the company geography or IP address, then they will need to enter a second factor such as a mobile app based code to gain access. Single Sign On (SSO) is used effectively with adaptive settings to ‘up the ante’ in login expectations based on a variety of rules, whilst retaining the usability afforded by SSO. This type of adaptive setting is now being expanded to IDaaS platforms where you want to create a hybrid identity, made up from a consumer profile, coupled with a business profile. This is being exemplified in the verification of the individual. Verification within an enterprise is often done using the company’s rules of on boarding of an employee. Verification outside of a company is much less controlled, but there are systems that can add levels of assurance that the individual is, who they say they are, and these types of verification services are starting to become de rigueur in modern IDaaS platforms.

Government Driving Identity Innovation

A number of governments, including the USA and UK are working on making online citizen identity a reality. In the UK, the government Verify initiative is taking the ideas of identity verification, fraud handling, and second factor authentication, and wrapping them up into the concept of a ‘level of assurance’ or LOA. The Verify system uses commercial IdP’s from the likes of Barclays Bank, Royal Mail, and Experian, to issue and manage the user identities to a LOA 2 level. This effectively means the user has gone through an identity checking experience that incorporates a third party external ID check, coupled with document ID checks, and something known as Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) whereby they must answer a series of questions personal to themselves. The Verify system went into full production earlier this year and is being used for a number of online government services.

In the USA, a much larger and more dispersed population than the UK, the idea of citizen identity is more of a challenge. However, there is a lot of work going on in this area, and movement is happening. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) which is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing the framework for an online, secure, and privacy enhanced identity system for online service access across a consumer and business environment. Working groups like Connect.gov of which NIST has input, are working out the technology implications of such a framework for government – citizen use.

The type of mass adoption afforded by government based identity systems has to drive innovation, as the demography is large and complex. These innovations are bound to trickle down to the use within a commercial context.

IAM to IDaas to More Secure Working

One of the best outcomes from the transition to Cloud based identity systems is to have a more holistic view of what working securely really is. Our online identity is becoming intrinsically linked with our access to our work resources. As government drivers cross into the commercial world, and as our personal identity and work identity become ever more blurred, we will see IDaaS become the frontline of secure working. We are already seeing strides forward in making identity access and credential management a better proposition. Just this last month, NIST set out a directive around the use of SMS text message as a second factor – NIST deprecating the use of SMS as a 2FA because of inherent security issues. Work is continuing to make online identity across disparate systems and resources even more of a way of life for all of us. New protocols like OpenID Connect will likely replace SAML 2.0 in the longer term, purely because they have been specifically designed for large scale Internet use. Movements in the space that make identity both a usable and secure proposition, but one that connects back to existing company directories, will only continue to strengthen the use of a fully verified identity as a front door into our IT networks and resources.

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Cost of a Data Breach Report 2019

This year's Cost of a Data Breach Report explores several new avenues for understanding the causes and consequences of data reaches. For the first time, this year's report details the 'long tail' of a data breach, demonstrating that the costs of a data breach will be felt for years after the incident. The report also examines new organizational and security characteristics that impact the cost of a data breach, including: the complexity of security environments; operational technology (OT) environments; extensive testing of incident response plans; and the process of closely coordinating development, security, and IT operations functions (DevSecOps). Continuing to build on previous research, the 2019 report examines trends in the root causes of data breaches and the length of time to identify and contain breaches (the breach lifecycle), plus the relationship of those factors to the overall cost of a data breach. Following the 2018 report's initial examination of 'mega breaches' of greater than 1 million lost or stolen records, we continue this research with comparative data for 2019. And for the second year, we examined the cost impacts of security automation, and the state of security automation within different industries and regions.

Lost business is the biggest contributor to data breach costs*

The loss of customer trust has serious financial consequences, and lost business is the largest of four major cost categories contributing to the total cost of a data breach. The average cost of lost business for organizations in the 2019 study was $1.42 million, which represents 36 percent of the total average cost of $3.92 million.** The study found that breaches caused abnormal customer turnover of 3.9 percent in 2019. Whereas organizations that lost less than one percent of their customers due to a data breach experienced an average total cost of $2.8 million, organizations with customer turnover of 4 percent or more averaged a total cost of $5.7 million – 45 percent greater than the average total cost of a data breach.

Data breach costs impact organization for years

About one-third of data breach costs occured more than one year after a data breach incident in the 86 companies we were able to study over multiple years. While an average of 67 percent of breach costs come in the first year, 22 percent accrue in the second year after a breach, and 11 percent of costs occur more than two years after a breach. The long-tail costs of a breach were higher in the second and third years for organizations in highly regulated environments, such as the healthcare and finance industries. Organizations in a high data protection regulatory environment saw 53 percent of breach costs in the first year, 32 percent in the second year and 16 percent more than two years after a breach.

* The research in the Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on a non-scientific sample of 507 companies. The key findings are based on IBM and Ponemon analysis of the data and do not necessarily apply to organizations outside of the group that was studied.

** Local currencies were converted to U.S. dollars.

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BEING MINDFUL OF CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS is number 1 priority

How can you raise cybersecurity awareness within your organization? The cybercrime wave that has been the hot topic continues to rumble on. We are in fact in a bizarre situation where we, as well as commercial competitors, have cybercriminals competing with us. The competition, in this case, is for data, an item that straddles all industry sectors.

Cybercriminals make a lot of money from the data they compromise. It is estimated that currently, cybercrime is costing the global economy around $450 billion annually. Some, like Juniper Research, are predicting those costs will spiral to around $2 trillion by 2019. Once you start describing losses in the trillions, rather than billions, you know you really do need to take stock. Analysts, HPS, have shown that cybercrime is truly a globally competitive business, comparing it to the likes of Apple and Microsoft in terms of revenue generation. Cybercrime is a formidable and successful competitor in today’s data stakes.

Source: HPS

With a business model this effective, cybercrime is set to continue as a major threat to normal business operations. Changes in the threat landscape, such as models enabling cybercrime, like ‘Malware as a Service (MaaS)’, make this onslaught of attacks even more likely. We are left with no option but to take this all very seriously. It’s too bad though that the old methods of defense, like anti-virus software, are showing cracks in their armor. With anti-virus vendors like Symantec stating that anti-virus software is only effective against 45% of viruses. We need to move to a new paradigm in our approach to mitigation of cyber threats – the war against cybercrime is now about a simple concept…awareness.

The Biggest Threat is You

Any type of crime, be it real world or digital, has an element of human behavior about it. One of the world’s most famous scams, the Ponzi Scheme, carried out back in 1920 was based on the basic human behavior to accumulate resources – in this case, lots of money. Today, cybercriminal scams also focus on human behavior to elicit knee-jerk reactions. Phishing, a technique based on social engineering, which encourages its target to perform an action that benefits the cybercriminal, is the most successful vector for cybercrime according to a report by Phishlabs. And in 2016 this continues to be the case with the first quarter of 2016 seeing an increase of 250% in phishing attacks.

Phishing is a perfect example of the use of human behavior to exact an outcome. Phishing comes in a myriad of forms, morphing into new ones as older ones become recognizable and less effective. The reason why this method is so successful, with SANS Institute, estimating that phishing is behind 95% of all security breaches, is because the successful cybercriminal uses their knowledge of how we tick as much as they use software code. What this means for us, as business owners, IT staff and company employees, is that we need to be much more aware when it comes to security, especially cyber. With the type of cyber-threat climate we face today, we cannot rely solely on technology to get us out of sticky cyber-situations.

Cybersecurity Awareness

Being security aware is about creating a culture of security within an organization. In practice this will require everyone, from the board to the IT department, to the sales team, out into your extended third party vendor system, to understand the implications of the modern cybersecurity threat.

Security awareness includes understanding the security requirements and impact of common standards and compliance, such as HIPPA and PCI-DSS. However, security awareness is much more than just complying with laws. Security awareness is about knowledge and understanding of what the threat landscape has in store for us, and the techniques used against our organization and ourselves. To be security-aware you need to:

1.     Know the types of attacks being targeted at your specific industry area (check out our industry series covering six industry sectors, and the types and levels of cybercrime they experience)

2.     Use this knowledge to set up the best type of security awareness program to put in place in your company

3.     Use special programs, like phishing awareness to train your staff and extended vendor ecosystem in what a phishing campaign will look like. This can include creating mock phishing attacks. Metrics from these mock attacks can also help you to understand where in the organization to concentrate security awareness training on.

4.     Recognize that security awareness is an ongoing activity. Cybercrime is not a static practice; it morphs and changes to optimize better outcomes. The fact that cybercrime revenue is up there with the most successful companies in the world is a testament to the cyber criminal’s continuous improvement of their business models.

Being mindful of the benefits of security awareness is a modern way of tackling cybercrime. It allows us to form a concentrated defense system, utilizing the very thing that cybercriminals rely on to bring about a breach – ourselves.

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Why Privileged Access Management Must Be Part of Your Overall IAM Strategy

This article is written by Patrik Horemans (IBM) Source: Security Intelligence.

In the past, the urgent need to secure privileged accounts has led organizations to implement a privileged access management (PAM) solution as a standalone track. Many companies have invested or are investing in products to help them secure access, get usage under control, provide detailed audit trails and implement processes.

Securing the use of these accounts is, and will remain, a good security practice. After all, a recent survey from Centrify revealed that more than 70 percent of breaches involved the abuse of privileged accounts in one way or another.

Today, however, companies are starting to understand that the management of access to privileged accounts should be an integral part of their overall identity and access management (IAM) strategy. This means it should be built into core IAM processes such as provisioning, deprovisioning, access risk mitigation and segregation of duties. Furthermore, the implementation of such a solution should be integrated into company security processes to gain visibility into risks across the landscape of both privileged and nonprivileged users, and be part of the business’s overall security monitoring and risk mitigation strategy as well.

A Life Cycle for Privileged Account Access

When you implement a PAM solution as a standalone project, you will often face the same challenges that you had before.

In other words, granting access to privileged accounts is not necessarily better than the manual process you had before, and will result in collecting more and more access rights over time, leaving you again in a vulnerable state with too much access. Administrators, developers and third parties need certain access levels to do their jobs, but PAM solutions alone age poorly through the life cycle of giving, maintaining and revoking access to privileged accounts. In fact, they rely on external processes, such as adding the right people to the right groups, either in the PAM solution or directories such as Active Directory.

There has to be a process around the PAM solution to manage the hygiene of access. Companies that do not have the proper automated processes in place will face an issue they had before: permission scope creep, or the expanding collection of access to privileged accounts over time by a user as a result of changing roles, jobs, departments, etc. The challenges these security teams had before with shared passwords and the management of personal administrative accounts are now moved to the access model for privileged accounts. This is why it’s crucial for organizations to implement an automated life cycle process for privileged account access.

Avoid Toxic Access Combinations That Lead to Risk

PAM solutions give you a simple way to know who can access and use privileged accounts. However, the combination of access to systems, devices and applications, as well as any related privileged accounts, often presents a risk to the enterprise.

For example, a user has access to an application that uses a database to store its data. That same user also has access to the privileged account to manage the database. As such, he or she will be able to change things in the database, circumventing the business and authorization controls from the application. If they also have access to the privileged account that manages the operating system, they could clear audit traces. This could be a toxic combination of access that should be avoided from a security and compliance perspective.

Toxic access combinations related to PAM solutions usually fall into three categories:

  1. Combinations related to the PAM solution itself, for example, the capability to create access to a privileged account and the capability to approve.
  2. Combinations related to the privileged account, for example, the capability to manage a server and the application running on it.
  3. Combinations related to business services and privileged accounts, such as in the example described above.

To avoid these toxic combinations of access, security teams should implement segregation of duties (SoD) controls. But these can only be implemented when you have adequate visibility into the access for both privileged and nonprivileged accounts. PAM solutions typically don’t have SoD enforcement capabilities and therefore another system, such as an identity governance tool, should be implemented.

To be able to implement SoD controls, you need visibility across privileged access and normal business user access. You will need a solution that can read and combine information from both sources.

Optimize Recertification Campaigns With Identity Governance Tools

Another area to consider, both as part of the access life cycle for privileged accounts and for compliance reasons, is the capability to recertify access to privileged accounts on a regular basis. PAM solutions typically don’t have this capability. Some companies use manual processes with spreadsheets and emails. While this might work, it is a cumbersome and error-prone process. It also provides little context on why someone would still need that access.

Integration with identity governance solutions can provide capabilities to automate regular recertification campaigns in an understandable business language so that approvers understand clearly what they are approving. Recertification campaigns will help companies to prove compliance as well. Proving compliance and maintaining clean and healthy access requires a solution that can automate recertification campaigns in an optimal way. Integrating campaign results with life cycle automation also improves efficiency and consistency.

By integrating a PAM solution with identity governance and administration (IGA) tools, you will get a holistic view across your enterprise over privileged and nonprivileged users. This will allow you to introduce processes across both domains and manage access seamlessly. It will help to analyze access and permissions, find anomalies, understand risk and consolidate audit and reporting capabilities. Risks such as segregation of duties can also be mitigated.

Integrating a PAM solution with an IGA tool will accomplish the following:

  • Access life cycle to avoid scope creep and good access hygiene.
  • Recertification campaigns to prove compliance.
  • SoD controls to avoid risks across privileged accounts and business infrastructure and applications.

Secure Your Privileged Access Management Solution by All Means

Finally, events related to privileged access should be processed by a security information and event management (SIEM)platform to compare indicators of compromise with other real-time threats to prioritize alerts by risk. User behavior analytics (UBA) can also help organizations flag unusual activity, such as high-risk behaviors or the granting of uncommon access levels.

On last consideration is the area of secured access to the PAM interface. Think about it: A PAM solution contains all the keys to the kingdom. A PAM user can access a whole bunch of privileged accounts during his or her work day. This also means that if a PAM user’s credentials are stolen, the thief has access to these privileged accounts and could have total control of the environment.

Therefore, it’s crucial to secure access to your privileged access management solution with capabilities such as multifactor authentication (MFA) and risk-based access controls. You want to avoid malicious access to your PAM solution — as well as your identity and access management system as a whole — by any and all means.

Source: Security Intelligence.

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CyberArk wins a Fortress Cyber Security Award

The Business Intelligence Group announced the winners of the 2019 Fortress Cyber Security Awards on the 5th of June. We are happy to see that CyberArk is one of those winners. Congratulations are in order!

The business award program sought to identify and reward the world’s leading companies and products that are working to keep our data and electronic assets safe among a growing threat from hackers. Working executives from the cybersecurity and information technology fields volunteered to judge the program using a proprietary scoring methodology.

“The security of our online identities and data is rapidly becoming as important as our physical security,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer, Business Intelligence Group. “We are proud to recognize all of our winners who are working to prepare, defend and respond to this growing threat. Congratulations to everyone.”

Read the whole story, including the winners, on Fortress


Our CyberArk Champion

Every month our partner CyberArk calls out a Champion for their Champions portal. The Champions portal is a place for the community of CyberArk. We are proud to announce that our colleague, Jeroen, has won the prestigious title; May Champion.

Jeroen joined the program in July 2018 during the Berlin Impact event and is currently working toward his Certified Delivery Engineer certification. He was also recently involved with a POC with CyberArk Conjur. In the short time Jeroen joined the community, he showed his brilliance and hospitality towards CyberArk’s Champions portal.

As CyberArk put it:

When we put out a request for things to do and see in Amsterdam (the location of this year’s European Impact), our Netherlands-based May Champion of the month came back to us with a wealth of information we could quite literally cut and paste to share with attendees.

That cooperative spirit sees this Champion frequently contributing in Discussions with detailed and timely responses. Our May Champion is a Security Engineer and has been working with CyberArk for about two years. Our May Champion works at SecurIT B.V. a solutions provider which specializes in Identity & Access Management projects throughout Europe and North America.

CyberArk is the global leader in privileged access security, a critical layer of IT security to protect data, infrastructure, and assets across the enterprise, in the cloud and throughout the DevOps pipeline. CyberArk delivers the industry’s most complete solution to reduce risk created by privileged credentials and secrets. The company is trusted by the world’s leading organizations, including more than 50 percent of the Fortune 500, to protect against external attackers and malicious insiders.


FIDO2 is on the rise

The Passwordless web is coming

The FIDO alliance is now one of the most influential cross-industry alliance. It launched its FIDO UAF and U2F standard in 2014, recently the FIDO2 specification.

Yubico helped to create FIDO2 to extend the FIDO standard beyond external security keys to include new built-in fingerprint readers and facial recognition technologies.

The promise is to have a solution for MFA that does not need drivers or software to be installed on systems, protection against man in the middle attacks and that the need for passwords are coming to an end. All of this with a low operational support cost and portable everywhere – used for corporate login but also as a consumer.

In this authentication landscape, the YubiKey takes on the important role of a root of trust. As users move between different platforms and computing devices, having this portable root of trust is essential for enabling rapid bootstrapping on new devices and for recovering when devices are lost, stolen or replaced.

Many companies are embracing this technology which led to the recent announcements that Microsoft supports with the latest Windows 10 Windows Hello and Edge. Also Google turned Android 7+ Phones into FIDO2 devices and +500 companies are certified, also Yubico’s newest security keys support FIDO2 for a while.

Join us in this webinar where we will present and demonstrate:

  • The opportunity for companies using FIDO2 for MFA
  • How consumers can benefit
  • How you can enable FIDO2 support for your web and mobile applications
  • What the concern and limitations are
  • The YubiKey, the portable root of trust
  • The impact of enabling FIDO2 support
  • Integration with legacy systems

Practical information

When: 20 June 2019
Where: Webinar
How late: 15:00 CET (not GMT!!)


About SecurIT

Founded in 1999, SecurIT has over 18 years of extensive experience of designing, implementing, maintaining large Identity Management/Governance infrastructures. With more than 30 specialists permanently employed in the Netherlands SecurIT offers its customers high quality consultancy, implementation, management and support services (24*7). 


SecurIT has appointed a new Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President of SecurIT

The CEO of SecurIT, Rob Bus, announced that the company’s current General Manager/Vice President of North America Kent McKown was promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President of SecurIT effective the 1st of May.

Previously, Kent has played a vital role in the recent acquisition of PSG and the follow-on integration into SecurIT. In his new role, Kent will focus on the day-to-day operation on both continents working with the VP/General Manager in Europe, Ricardo Kowsoleea, and the VP Global Business Development, Terrah Carawan.

Regarding the appointment, SecurIT CEO Rob Bus said: “Kent’s appointment will further allow me to focus on the strategic direction of the company, key clients, partnerships and strategic alliances and investor relations. Kent will specifically focus on the development and execution of the business plan; working with the leadership team to ensure cohesiveness, traction and values alignment throughout the global organization. Kent and I will also work collaboratively on all leadership and strategic matters of SecurIT.”

Before his most recent position, Kent has led five growth companies as CEO/COO/President. Kent was responsible for clarifying vision and setting the strategic direction to ensure the consistent profit growth and risk reduction; developing a reliable leadership team with the right mix of abilities that shared similar values; and creating visibility of critical measurements to ensure traction, cadence, and accountability. Kent’s past successes have been primarily a result of an organization consistent of a committed team with shared values with a sincere desire to grow themselves and their clients. Significant growth in profits and revenue were a result of these significant achieved initiatives.

Kent earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Citadel and a Bachelor of Business Administration – from National University. He previously served as a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps and resigned his commission as a Captain in 1992.

SecurIT Is a global cybersecurity company focused on designing, implementing, and maintaining large Identity & Access Management / Governance infrastructures. We operate in Europe and North America.

The company always strive to provide the best service and IAM solutions for our customers. SecurIT offers its customers high-quality consultancy, solutions, and support services (24/7).

Kent McKown