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Global Security is Like Running a Marathon While Juggling

Global Security is Like Running a Marathon While Juggling

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July 31, 2014 | Tammy Moskites

I’ve often been asked to provide some insight from a CISO perspective on how the threat landscape has changed and how, as a CISO, I’ve had to ensure business continuity while ensuring the environment is secure and in compliance to regulations. Having spent much of my career securing global organizations, I know firsthand how truly grueling it can be: a marathon that you run while juggling dozens of balls. For example, before you can even begin to set up your security programs, you have to understand the compliance and regulatory laws in each country where you do business.

Year after year these regulations and laws become more stringent, compounding the difficulty of securing a global company. You have to have a top-notch security team—which I have been lucky enough to have—and establish a close partnership with your company’s legal, regulatory affairs, and compliance teams. These teams should be well versed in the laws in different countries and can help your security team align its security programs with those laws. It then requires a very coordinated effort to ensure that everyone is always on the same page. Most importantly, you need to ensure that you are doing the right things right.

To stay on top of the accelerating threats that regulations and laws are meant to address, companies are going to have to make a lot of progress from where many of them are today. Just a few years ago companies thought that implementing tighter access controls with keys and certificates and encrypting sensitive traffic adequately protected their data. However, hackers have consistently and successfully used trust-based attacks to infiltrate networks and steal confidential data. Such attacks allow hackers to bypass traditional security measures. Security devices, such as data loss prevention (DLP) tools, cannot monitor encrypted traffic, and Gartner found that “less than 20% of organizations with a firewall, an intrusion prevention system (IPS), or unified threat management (UTM) appliance decrypt inbound or outbound SSL traffic.”

Your security team must be able to monitor traffic that appears to be trusted in your environment, to detect threats in that traffic, and to react to those threats. SSL visibility appliances can prop up security by decrypting data before it is sent out and monitoring it for anomalous behavior. However, SSL visibility appliances are only effective if you have an inventory of known trusted keys and certificates in your environment. You need to know whether you can truly trust encrypted traffic—or whether attackers have hijacked encryption for their purposes. Only Venafi solutions help your security team monitor for anomalous key usage or audit your encryption resources against the latest recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

I’m very passionate about the need to detect and stop trust-based attacks. And for five years—even before joining Venafi—I have been passionate about the tool that provides the best protection against these attacks: Venafi Trust Protection Platform. As the CIO and CISO of Venafi, I enjoy the opportunities I have to partner with other CIOs and CISOs across the globe, to give them more insight into trust-based attacks, and to discuss strategies for securing their global companies. The security world is a very tight-knit group that shares information freely, and the ability to help out all organizations, not just one, is a big plus for me. Did I mention I LOVE what I do each and every day?

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About the author

Tammy Moskites
Tammy Moskites

Tammy is Managing Director, Senior Security Executive at Accenture. She has 30 years of experience and is noted for her expertise leading IT security organizations. She was previously the CIO/CISO of Venafi Inc.

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