FIVE PRACTICAL STEPS

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1 WHITEPAPER FIVE PRACTICAL STEPS To Protecting Your Organization Against Breach How Security Intelligence & Reducing Information Risk Play Strategic Roles in Driving Your Business

2 CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, AND CISOs HAVE A FORMIDABLE TASK instituting programs that span people, technology, and processes, to minimize risk. The term risk will have a different meaning depending on an individual s area of responsibility and industry in which they work. From an information security perspective, one of the top concerns for C-Level Executives, IT Executives and Security Professionals is reducing the risk of potential breach of information. Protecting your assets from industrial cyber espionage demands a top-down strategy. Executive Summary Most security professionals agree that the maturity of an organization s information security program is directly proportional to their ability to protect information. This white paper will provide five practical steps to protecting an organization from breach, as well as guidance for implementing a comprehensive, well-designed information security program. These steps are based on collective knowledge and best practices learned from many of Q1 Labs global customers. Top Causes of Breach While there are many statistics and anecdotal reports from respected industry research organizations on the primary causes of information breach, the data in this paper is taken from actual use cases in real situations and implementations of Q1 Labs customers using QRadar for total security intelligence. Top reasons organizations networks are successfully breached include: The reality is that addressing these issues does not happen overnight. Some organizations take years to get all of these areas under control. The good news is that even minor incremental improvement in an organization s security practices will result in a greatly impoved ability to protect information. Five Practical Security Intelligence Steps to Protecting Your Organization Against Breach Knowing that achieving operational security maturity takes time and is constantly evolving, what follows are five incremental security efforts that can be made to significantly improve an organization s ability to protect itself against breaches. STEP 1: Deploying the Right Technology Enumerating all of the information security technologies that an organization should consider is beyond the scope of this paper; however, the basics are fundamental. Organizations should look to deploy technology that meets their need to: Organizations have not invested in core information security infrastructure technology, including, but not limited to, switches, firewalls, IPS, VPNs, vulnerability scanners, and identity/access management. Organizations have not gained sufficient security intelligence on the network. Organizations haven t properly leveraged the information security technology they already own, this includes having poorly configured network and security devices. Organizations have not addressed key vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. Organizations cannot effectively minimize risk because of organizational and/or technology silos. Control the flow of information across the network. This could be as basic as implementing firewalls, or might require the use of more advanced gates like Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS) or application layer switches. In many cases there will be multiple layers to how this technology is deployed in the network. Control access to information. This could typically be achieved with a central authentication system. In some organizations this may require more advanced key management. Implement common sense security technologies that protect end systems, including anti-virus, DLP, host intrusion prevention, and file integrity monitoring. Many organizations have had this for years. Reevaluate it regularly to ensure it continues to meet your needs. Obtain visibility into the security posture. The fundamental 2

3 technology required here is the implementation of a centralized log management and/or security information and event management (SIEM) solution that integrates native anomaly detection and content capture. Encrypt information wherever necessary or required. Organizations might include VPN technology to help with this area. Look for holes in the security infrastructure. This typically will include one or more Vulnerability Assessment (VA) scanners and possibly other tools. Meet more advanced security requirements, including, but not limited to, data loss prevention. Deploy advanced technology that enables full security intelligence lifecycle: before, during and post exploit. In the end, the requirements of the business will drive the technologies deployed and the depth to which the technologies are leveraged. A major lesson that has been learned by Q1 Labs customers is that, more times than not, leveraging compliance creates budget to enable the investment in a security technology that will pay dividends in the end, provided enough thought is invested all through the process of technology selection and implementation. STEP 2: Use Information to Your Benefit By working with more than 1600 customers, Q1 Labs has learned that the more information an organization analyzes from the network, the better off they will be in their ability to minimize and quantify information risk. Fundamental to this premise is that a solution has been deployed that can effectively make sense of all the data collected. There are varying degrees to which an organization might need to collect and analyze information. At one end of the spectrum there might be the need for basic log management to manage information risk for a single application as required by some compliance regulation. At the other end of the spectrum is a comprehensive end to end security intelligence solution that looks at events from every imaginable networked system. When selecting a log management, SIEM and/or total security intelligence solution there are a few important considerations, including: How straight-forward is the technology to acquire, deploy, and maintain? This seems like a no-brainer, but it is amazing how many organizations pick solutions that require an army of staff and professional services. Do you want to maintain a science project? How well does the solution normalize and categorize the information? This is often overlooked during a SIEM evaluation, but may be the single most important consideration. The reality is that event data is complex, and why would you want a solution that can t deliver a common taxonomy across all data collected? How well does the solution deliver secure log collection, storage, and archival? These features should be considered mandatory requirements in any security intelligence solution. How good is the solution at turning potentially billions of events into a useful and actionable assessment of security incidents? This one can be tricky because every solution claims to provide a detailed assessment of the security posture. The reality is that many correlation engines fail because they only look at data within a single silo they don t correlate across data silos (applications, user identity, assets, content, etc.) or they can t see the depth or breadth of information required to properly detect incidents. How easy is it to customize the solution to meet unique business requirements of the organization, including analyzing data from unique or custom event sources? Organizations that are looking at security intelligence solutions should ensure they meets both short and long term data collection needs. How well does the solution scale? Scale requirements come in many forms ranging from high event rates in a data center to meeting distributed scale considerations. It is important that the solution scales without introducing unnecessary complexity. There are countless log management and SIEM success stories. Organizations that use data, or intelligence, to their advantage via an effective security management solution will be in a much better position to minimize risk of breach on their network. STEP 3: Ensure Ongoing Proper Device Configuration to Stay Ahead of the Threat Ensuring ongoing proper device configuration sounds great, but in reality it can be quite challenging. The fundamentals here are pretty basic ensure all the doors on the network are locked except when 3

4 necessary to meet specific business requirements. This requires being able to continually assess the effectiveness of the configurations that are deployed on the network. There are automated configuration audit solutions that can assist in meeting this objective. Important considerations when assessing tools to help in this area include: How well does the solution automate the collection of configurations? How well does the solution ensure consistency of configuration across different types of devices, potentially from different vendors? How well does the solution interpret how traffic is allowed to traverse the network based on configurations and how easy is it to analyze and understand? Can the solution accurately portray network configuration when devices are mis-configured or there are gaps in data collection? Can the solution automate the monitoring and notification of risky changes to configuration in a timely fashion? The essential thing to consider in this step is having tools that help lower the barrier to entry to effective analysis of complex device configuration and provide exceptional automation that can quickly determine, and notify, when risky configurations are deployed on the network. STEP 4: Ensure Top Vulnerabilities Are Addressed Vulnerability scanners have become an important tool in the security administrator s tool chest to ensure that devices on the network are not susceptible to well-known vulnerabilities. Historically there have been challenges with vulnerability scanners because they typically report vulnerabilities without context of the world around the device. This can result in numerous false positives and information overload. There is little doubt that systems that are exposed to well-known vulnerabilities are the first line of attack from those that wish to do harm. Organizations that wish to ensure top vulnerabilities are addressed should look to expand their capabilities with solutions that can: Effectively normalize vulnerabilities to a common framework Assess the risk of vulnerabilities in conjunction with how the network is configured. It is important to be able to prioritize systems that may be easily breached because network configurations would allow specific vulnerabilities to be compromised Analyze vulnerabilities from many angles, including results from multiple vulnerability scanners, passive vulnerability analysis, and behavior analysis Automate the detection of configuration changes in the network that would introduce new risk of vulnerabilities to be compromised What s important here is not looking at vulnerabilities in a vacuum, but rather taking a more holistic risk-based approach that takes a much more relevant network and security analysis into account. STEP 5: Implement An Integrated, Risk-Based, Security Intelligence Framework Over the years, Q1 Labs has learned that many organizations struggle to gain the necessary security visibility because of the existence of organizational and/or technology silos. A rule of thumb with most any security management deployment is that the more information provided to the solution, the better off the organization will be at detecting and minimizing risk. Breaking down silos often requires organizational and/or operational changes, but in the end when the right hand finally learns what the left hand is doing, the results can be tremendous and budget savings can also be realized through consolidation. Organizations that wish to introduce an integrated security intelligence framework should look to acquire and deploy a solution that can: Break down technology silos through the integration and analysis of a broad spectrum of information, including network, virtual network, security, vulnerability, asset, application, and configuration data, among others Break down operational silos and deliver the most appropriate security functions to meet the requirements of a broad spectrum of users, including operators, analysts, auditors, managers, and executives, among others Prioritize the risk of a security incident based on the overall impact to the business Automate the detection and notification of newly introduced risks on the network. Deliver an integrated security intelligence framework for assessing risk across all relevant information The key to this step is understanding that total security intelligence 4

5 is all about adding context and correlating that information together across the entire security intelligence lifecycle. A security intelligence solution should be able to help an organization understand: What risks does an organization have and how can risks be reduced or prevented from happening in the first place What is happening right now and how to detect threats with intelligence and visibility What happened post-exploit and how to understand the impact or cost with forensics to determine how an event spread or what was stolen NEXT STEPS These five steps have outlined many considerations for how to build a more mature information security management program. An important consideration along the way is partnering with a security intelligence provider that can deliver a range of solutions that meets the requirements of an organization no matter where they are in their path to a comprehensive risk-based approach. Q1 Labs QRadar Security Intelligence Platform Q1 Labs provides a family of security intelligence solutions that assist organizations of all sizes and across multiple industries to meet a broad spectrum of information security requiments. In addition, the QRadar Security Intelligence Platform provides a future-proof family of products that allows organizations to grow their level of security intelligence in alignment with the state of their individual information security program. The diagram below provides a high-level overview of the QRadar Security Intelligence Platform and the product path many of our customers have taken to meet their growing security requirements: Utilizing security intelligence solutions from Q1 Labs, organizations can effectively mature their security program to meet many of the information security considerations discussed earlier with the most intelligent, integrated and automated solution available: 1 Scalable, enterprise-wide log management provides the ability to: Centralize the collection and secure storage of events and logs across an entire multi-vendor organization. Easily meet compliance mandates. Gain visibility into log data for actionable IT operations and security forensics. Easily upgrade with a future-proof growth path to full SIEM. 2 Deep visibility with security information and event management (SIEM) delivers the: Ability to improve the effectiveness of infrastructure investments through advanced analysis of network behavior and security information Comprehensive visibility into an organizations information security posture to detect threats Power to turn billions of events into a priortized list of security incidents that need to be addressed Automated detection of threats typically missed by solutions that have not integrated operational or technology silos 3 Comprehensive, risk-based security management for: Automating collection of configurations from network and security infrastructure Timely detection of the introduction of risky configurations Powerful risk prioritization that leverages a broad spectrum of risk indicators, including network activity, network topology, and vulnerability scan results How Customers Transition from Log management to Total Security Intelligence Advanced threat modeling and simulation 5

6 Summary: Considerations for a Long-Term Strategy There are many considerations that span people, process and technology that organizations should consider to improve their ability to protect valuable information assets. Thinking about the finish line, when just starting the race, can seem overwhelming to any size organization. When planning a long-term strategy it is imporant to understand that incremental improvements in a security program will return signficant dividends, provided enough thought and planning has gone into defining and implementing these improvements. Q1 Labs experience with customers has shown there are a few tried and true steps that should be considered that will greatly reduce the risk from information breach, including: Deployment of sufficient network and security technologies that can properly gate access to sensitive information Implementation of an effective log management and/or SIEM solution that can leverage a broad spectrum of security data to properly monitor, detect, and remediate significant security incidents Taking a proactive, risk-based approach to security management that can minimize risky network configuration and system vulnerabilities A reality in today s world is that there are criminals out there that are doing everything they can to steal the valuable data of almost any organization they can breach. Companies that leverage total security intelligence solutions to mature their security program - utilizing many of the methods described above - will be less likely to be breached by these criminals, inside or outside the organization. Q1 Labs 890 Winter Street, Suite 230 Waltham, MA USA , Copyright 2011 Q1 Labs, Inc. All rights reserved. Q1 Labs, the Q1 Labs logo, Total Security Intelligence, and QRadar are trademarks or registered trademarks of Q1 Labs, Inc. All other company or product names mentioned may be trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of their respective holders. The specifications and information contained herein are subject to change without notice. WP5SPOB0211 6

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