Gartner’s Recommendations for Security Policy Configuration Assessment Part 4: Engage IT Operations to Ensure Findings are Being Addressed by Holding Regular Communication and Cooperative Meetings.
In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series we saw how to implement Gartner’s first three recommendations for security configuration assessments (SCAs). In this final chapter on the story, we will look at the last remaining ingredient. Often, engaging multiple functions within a large organization can prove challenging, but when we automate many of the processes involved with SCA, we can lighten the burden for those on whom we rely.
With each previous area, we noted how data integration was so critical to establishing baselines, requirements and reporting outputs. Along with this data integration, we explored how organizations can readily adopt frequent and regular SCAs to continuously deliver security. As always, the ultimate goal is securing the environment with configuration assurance playing a special part in improving security posture.
Let’s revisit Gartner’s advice and dive deeper into the final recommendation.
Security Policy Configuration Assessments – Recommendations
- Establish secure configuration policy baselines and minimum standards for system configurations by making use of sources such as business and functional requirements based on regulatory and statutory compliance requirements; benchmarks such as NIST and CIS; internal security policies; risk management; and results of threat assessment and incident management.
- Develop SCA capabilities by defining the objectives and scope, and selecting tools and an operating model to conduct regular SCA scans.
- Conduct frequent and regular SCAs to verify compliance with security policies, detect policy breaches and improve enforcement of policies.
- Engage IT operations to ensure that findings are being addressed by holding regular communication and cooperative meetings.
In Parts 1 through 3, we observed how organizations can accomplish the recommendations with Real-Time Monitoring and Customizable Compliance Reporting. Additionally, we saw how integrating Risk Analysis and User-Specific Reporting can accelerate our execution. In Part 3, we placed a high value on Comprehensive Automation and Data-Driven Analysis, each allowing for regularity to come to our SCA programs.
The final recommendation (engaging with others) can spell disaster for many organizations seeking to regularly and methodically improve their security posture. Everyone is busy and everyone has varied opinions. This can degrade our best efforts for continuous configuration assurance, with standards becoming a race to the bottom. Ever seen an “any-any” rule?
This comes from business moving so quickly and complexity growing so exponentially that we are forced into patchwork policy design and enforcement. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Gartner’s final recommendation is to hold communication and cooperative meetings. As anyone reading this will probably guess, such meetings are poorly attended, lack any vigor or enthusiasm and often attendees leave without any clear direction on what should happen. How do you get through all of this?
The FireMon Difference
We see thousands of organizations communicating and collaborating with ease, because there is transparency with the security policy management. By having a single view into all that is happening, you can be intellectually honest about the results from previous iterations. This honesty produces a candor that gets right to the heart of what needs to happen for the organization.
Gone are the speculations and assumptions. Instead, we can welcome in the ruthlessly precise data that informs us about what is happening now and what we should do in response.
Probing the network for answers extends beyond the malicious behavior we all think about when we hear the word “threat.” A threat can come in many forms. There are threats to compliance, threats to security infrastructure, threats of insider hacking attempts, threats to intellectual property, and so on. By threat hunting, FireMon customers have the real-time search and analysis capabilities to go deep within their infrastructures (be they cloud on-prem, virtual or otherwise), locate the digital residue of human and machine behavior to make better decisions and respond.
Imagine coming to your next meeting with several stakeholders staring at the clock waiting for the conversation to end. This time, however, you have detailed analysis of the exact areas where exposure has turned into exploit. “How did you find this?” you are asked. Your response: “I was threat hunting”.
FireMon is the only security policy management platform with threat hunting capabilities. This allows organizations to spot trouble before an alert is triggered or data is exfiltrated. When an organization adopts the mindset of assumed compromise, it opens up a world of possibility. Threat hunting is a group effort and every stakeholder has something new to address when confronted regularly with the latest results from hunting.
Having trouble getting ‘buy-in’ from various groups? Show them what you found when threat hunting.
Complete Solution Offering
Another sore spot for ongoing collaboration is having to piece together a picture of your security policies from multiple sources (none of which format data or report in the same way). This creates a relevance problem.
When communicating with other groups, it can be difficult to see engagement when the discovery details are carpentered together from a host of systems. Instead, organizations use FireMon to deliver on the crucial areas for Network Security Policy Management (NSPM):
- Security Policy Management
- Change Management
- Risk and Vulnerability Analysis
- Application Connectivity
Each of these capabilities comes ready-made for FireMon customers. Engagement challenges become a thing of the past, because all the relevant details that contribute to the collaboration is available and accessible.
Now, you can ensure business continuity with less manual work. You can assess rules and changes prior to pushing to your security devices. You can increase configuration assurance and make SCAs a cinch.
Humans are finicky creatures and getting them to see eye-to-eye can be difficult. However, we see that FireMon customers are up to the challenge. They have comprehensive awareness of their environments, they proactively seek out threats to their security and they have buckets of relevant data to help pull together seemingly disconnected business groups toward a common goal – securing the organization.
In this series we took a journey, seeing how to implement Gartner’s recommendations for Security Configuration Assessments (SCAs). From start to finish, we recognized the challenges that stand in the way of configuration assurance.
You can now have confidence. Confidence that industry recommendations, like those from Gartner, can be realized. Our customers are doing it, so can you.