People like to ask the security manager, "What keeps you up at night?" My usual answer: "Employees." And there's good reason. About 95% of the security incidents my department responds to are a result of an employee doing the wrong thing, whether it's clicking on an evil link within an email, installing a malicious program or sending a sensitive document outside the company.
It started out as a simple call to the help desk from an engineer at one of our major development centers: Phone calls were being dropped. Soon, similar complaints were coming in from other engineers, as well as from sales associates, who said the inability to maintain phone calls was making it difficult to close deals.
Thank you, Target! It's a pity that security managers have to capitalize on other organizations' misfortunes to broker change within their own enterprises, but the notorious Target breach of late last year just might get me some things I think my company has needed.
As a security manager, I expect my company to be hit by malware infestations, data theft, denial-of-service attacks and attempts at unauthorized access. I deal with them all as they arise, and they do keep things interesting.
Security incidents are a complete disruption of my normal day-to-day activities. I love them. I especially like it when they uncover systemic problems we might not otherwise have found out about. We had one of those this week.
Every fall, I conduct a policy review. I think it's a good idea to have this on my calendar, because no policy, no matter how well crafted, is meant to last for all time. New standards arise and old ones are modified, making some policies deficient. Or a security incident, an audit or some business reality that was previously unacknowledged emerges to demonstrate how a policy falls short.
We just found 30 servers that can't be accounted for. Thirty Internet-facing servers with no malware protection and patchy patch histories. I need to take a deep breath and figure out just how bad this is and what we can do to stop this sort of thing from happening again.
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