Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

IT Forensics tools today

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

IT Forensics tools today can be categorized into Data gathering and data analysis.

The data gathering tools runs a monitor on the subject machine and gathers the necessary information - typically a mdf or pst file in windows environment.

The data analysis tools are evolving and would depend on the legal objective - if the objective is a simple source code search or keywords, it is quite easy. However, if you are looking for photographs or audio or video, it is complex - luckily, most of the legal needs today are ‘text’ based lookups.

One of the key areas where the tools offer an extra hand is: they record the system name and date which are very important to prove it in a court of law.

Would Virtualization not save you money on Information security?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

That would depend on how you deploy it.

With the right set of policy and deployment standards, the cost can be zeroed right from the initial days of deployment and you need to strike a balance between the risk vs. the benefit - benefit as in agile environment, risk as in exposure to security threats.

For example one of the policy could be:

No sharing of virtualized zones between business applications. Say, ERP and HR applications.

With this, you reduce the security exposures and leverage existing set of controls (assuming existing controls are strong). However, here is where you strike a balance between risk vs. benefit. You lose a bit of agility of virtualization however it is well worth it.

Another policy could be:

All changes to the virtualized zones/clusters align with the existing change processes with appropriate approvals including access changes. Again, assuming there is a strong change process and security related changes are well addressed.

This would help increase awareness and reduce the ‘knee jerk’ reaction to make changes to virtualized zones.

Another policy could be:

Migration to production (regardless of OS, Database, Applications, interfaces, Network connectivity, storage changes) complies with Security checklist - this checklist ensures securing the base operating system (hardening), physical and logical access to console, admin access to each zones and so on for each associated layers.

Another policy could be:

Logs of changes are maintained in the system (global zone and virutal zone) and is audited periodically.

This is to ensure that potential exposures are detected and addressed.

Overall, in a typical public company, almost all of the above controls would exist (existence is one thing, execution is another) excepting the last audit of logs control.

Here is an interesting conversation that started me to write this blog by Christofer Hoff at http://rationalsecurity.typepad.com/blog/2008/05/virtualizing-se.html

He has raised several key points of which one of them is SOD - I agree with his concerns on SOD and with a strong policy and procedures, it can be addressed and is not impossible.

Data center consolidation

Friday, May 8th, 2009

As business evolves through standard growth, mergers or acquisitions, organization could find itself trying to manage and maintain multiple, redundant data centers.

The agenda for Data Center Consolidation (DCC) could be to

  • centralize your systems,
  • Reduce power and cooling costs and protect your environment by implementing comprehensive security
  • business continuity and availability plans.
  • Eliminate IT redundancies
  • Increase IT asset utilization
  • Reduce management and operational costs
  • Achieve greater return on investments

Typically DCC projects is sponsored by core-IT management. DCC projects are run as a program than a project as it involves cross-IT and business owners accross.

Every DCC program has many unique challenges. Hence getting the scope of the DCC should be defined and agreed-upon. Also identifying and obtaining sign-off to what is not done is equally important. A top level presenattion to the management about - Basics (What we do and what we dont do, Strategies followed, High level steps in moving), Process, Budget and time line should be able to help management understand clearly the direction and would help them approve the budget.

Click here to see a presentation of DCC run as a program

Who needs ISO-27001?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

If you hold your client’s classified or sensitive data as part of performing business with your client, you may want to get an ISO 27001 to offer ’security’ comfort to your clients. Get it?

Here is an example, if you hapenned to hold your clients’ source code or similar sensitive data as part of performing your business, your client will be concerned about the security of their sensitive data -  specifically, they would like to know if your Information security department is reliable and sustainable.  That is where ISO 27001 comes in. Not all companies benefit from ISO 27001. Right?

What does ISO 27001 offer that is different from what you have today? It is a measuring Framework. Framework which enables you to scale your policies and handle them appropriately as your grow.

Security policies in companies today are often abstract and gets close to the ‘terms of usage’ policy within a company. However, it is worth exploring an ISO security framework - ISO 27001. This enables you to formally enumerate policies, data classifications and provide an appropriate risk treatment and provide continuity.