I’ve written before how some periodic reviews provide management with little assurance, but management doesn’t realize how little.
My previous post focused mostly on server access￼. In this post, I want to look at normal user access.
For example, let’s assume your company has a policy that states that all IDs must be assigned within an Active Directory group. In other words, IDs are assigned to groups, and groups are assigned to assets; IDs should not be assigned directly to an asset.
Assume the control you are testing states that user access is reviewed annually.
It’s 10 o’clock in the cloud. Do you know where all your user IDs are? Are some hidden in the cloud?
Cloud security if often cloudy because it’s not on premise where you can control it easier.
That means you may have powerful user IDs in the cloud that your security team knows nothing about, which means….
And in unprotected documents.
Lots of passwords. Lots of documents. Lots of easy access.
If you haven’t determined how server virtualization changes your audit plans, you better get moving. I’m not just talking about a virtualization audit (more on that later), but the audits that you typically do every year or on a multi-year cycle.
For example, if every year you do an audit on all networks, servers, applications, and databases that host your key financial reporting or PHI systems, you’re looking at policies and procedures, configuration management, security (including patching), user access, logging, and so on. But do you first consider whether those assets run on virtualized servers?
I was at a client’s site looking for more contract work when the manager of the department started telling me about their great IT security website on their Intranet. She clicks on their random generator password page and shows me how you can generate a block of “approved” passwords, sanctioned by their security department. At the top of the page, a banner read: Select a Strong Password!
CSO magazine had a great article some time ago that I came across again entitled, How Not to Hire an Information Security Officer Who’s on Parole. After it describes some true-life hiring horrors, it provides some good points to remember about hiring:
In Standard (Snake) Oil, I complained about companies that don’t audit according to standards because some treat control owner statements as pure gold, don’t insist evidence be tied back to actual systems, and don’t ask all the appropriate questions.
Here’s a few more questionable practices that I’ve challenged all too recently.
An example of a serious office policy failure…
SAN JOSE, Calif. — An office worker cleaning a refrigerator full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill.
Lenny Zeltser, of the SANS Internet Storm Center, posted his Three Laws of Behavior Dynamics for Information Security. These laws describe why people follow or don’t follow new security initiatives. Basically, it describes how people react to change overall, but Zeltser focuses on security change specifically.