Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Keith Cawley, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Continuous Monitoring – Part 2

By

I previously wrote about the various “functional areas” of continuous monitoring. According to the federal model, there are 15 functional areas comprising a comprehensive continuous monitoring solution, as shown in the graphic below:

Federal CM Model

These functional areas are grouped into the following categories:

  • Manage Assets
  • Manage Accounts
  • Manage Events
  • Security Lifecycle Management

Each category addresses a general area of vulnerability in an enterprise. The rest of this post will describe each category, the complexities involved in integration, and the difficulties in making sense of the information. “Making sense” means a number of things here – understanding and remediating vulnerabilities, detecting and preventing threats, estimating risk to the business or mission, ensuring continuity of operations and disaster recovery, and enforcing compliance to policies and standards.

The process of Managing Assets includes tracking all hardware and software products (PCs, servers, network devices, storage, applications, mobile devices, etc.) in your enterprise, and checking for secure configuration and for known/existing vulnerabilities. While some enterprises institute standard infrastructure components, it still takes a variety of products, sensors and data to obtain a near-real-time understanding of an organization’s security posture. Implementing an initial capability in my cybersecurity lab, we have integrated fourteen products and spent considerable time massaging data so that it conforms to NIST and DoD standards. This enables pertinent information to pass seamlessly across the infrastructure, and allows correlation and standardized reporting from a single dashboard. This will become more complex as we add more capabilities and more products. In addition, the new style of IT extends enterprise assets to include mobile devices and cloud resources – so our work to understand and manage the security within this area is just beginning.

The next area deals with Managing Accounts of both people and services. Typically, we think of account management as monitoring too many unsuccessful login attempts or making sure that we delete an account when someone leaves the organization. However, if you look at the subsections of the graphic, you’ll see that managing accounts involves additional characteristics – evaluating trust, managing credentials, and analyzing behavioral patterns. This applies not only to people but to services – system-to-system, server-to-server, domain-to-domain, process-to-process, and any other combination thereof. Think about the implications of recording and analyzing behavior, and you’ll realize that any solution will require big data. Security-related behavior is a somewhat nebulous concept, but if you drill down into the details, you can envision capturing information on location, performance characteristics, schedule, keywords, encryption algorithms, access patterns, unstructured text, and more. Accounts (whether a person, system, computer, or service) use assets and groups of assets. As such, the information gleaned from the relationships and interactions between accounts and assets provides another layer of intelligence to the continuous monitoring framework.

The Managing Events category is organized into preparation-for and response-to incidents. In the cybersecurity realm, incidents can cover anything from a spear phishing attack to denial of service to digital annihilation to critical infrastructure disruption to destruction of physical plant. That covers a wide range of methods to protect an organization’s assets – and any physical asset that is somehow connected to a network needs cyber protection. The first thing to do to manage events is to plan! Backup and recovery, continuity of operations, business continuity, disaster recovery – call it what you will, but a plan will help you to understand what needs protecting, how to protect it, and how to recover when those protections fail. This is the next layer of functionality – and complexity – in the continuous monitoring framework; the functions all build upon one another to provide a more secure and resilient enterprise. The security-related data and information aggregated across these layers provides the raw materials to understand your security posture and manage your risk.

The final set of functions deal with Security Lifecycle Management. The lifecycle helps to identify the security requirements of an organization, the associated plans and policies needed to satisfy those requirements, and the processes used to monitor and improve security operations. That improvement is based on the data collected and correlated across all the other functional areas described above. Depending on the size of an organization (dozens of assets to millions of assets) and the granularity of the data (firewall alerts to packet capture), the continuous monitoring framework leads to “big security data”. Timing is also very important. Whereas today we mostly hear about cybersecurity incidents after the fact (hours, days, months, and sometimes years later), continuous monitoring operates on real or near-real-time information. The benefits are three-fold: 1) intrusions, threats and vulnerabilities can be detected much more quickly, 2) you can perform continuous authorization on your systems; typically, after the initial Certification & Authorization approval, re-certification occurs either after a major change in the system or once every two or three years, and 3) big security data can lead to predictive analytics. That’s the holy grail of cybersecurity – the ability to accurately and consistently predict vulnerabilities, threats, and attacks to your enterprise, business, or mission.

There are other benefits to this approach, besides improving an organization’s security posture because let’s face it – all the things I’ve described look like they incur additional costs. Yet after some initial investment, depending on the size of your organization and the security products you already have in your infrastructure, there are actually cost savings. At the top of the list, continuous monitoring automates many of the manual processes you have today, reduces disruptions in your enterprise, and minimizes periodic accreditation costs. This is, however, a complex undertaking. We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t as we continue to integrate products and build continuous monitoring capabilities in our lab.  Feel free to contact me for best practices or if you have any other questions.

This post first appeared at George Romas’ HP blog.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.