Get Ready to Keep Your Enemies Closer

I was sitting on a plane this morning (the flight was delayed), and the crew was in a quandary. There was a weight problem. There was a strong, 190mph-plus headwind, which meant the plane would need to carry additional jet fuel to avoid stopping for gas during the flight. But the flight was fully booked, 78 seats and 78 passengers, and could only accommodate 70 pieces of luggage. Something had to give. If a few passengers agreed to take a later flight we could leave. Some kind passengers in the front of the plane “volunteered”  (not me—as a last minute reservation, I was stuck in the back), and we made the required weight for takeoff.

You may ask, “What does this have to do with system complexity, and proactive security. Well, let me tell you. The process of building and operating a jet is extremely complex. Coupled with the calculations needed to estimate range and arrival time based on a wind speed reading at 28,000 feet and equate that to the weight of a the plane at takeoff…. It boggles the mind. To take into account all variables necessary to avoid unscheduled fuel stops is to be proactive. Airlines know that any one of their customers can drive negative messaging against the carrier if he or she has a bad experience.  As my fellow passengers and I bounce along at 30,000 feet, the plane dipping and rolling like an old wooden roller coaster, my mind goes to the passengers and their luggage that were on a flight behind us.

Security Evolution

Security systems are designed and built with a capacity to incorporate more complexity over time as requirements and regulatory and operational needs expand and change. Threats, and therefore risks, continue to morph across multiple vectors on both sides of the defined network edge. These adages are true for all types of organizations and have held true throughout time.  The business of information, network, and data security also changes and adjustments are made in light of these changes to reduce organizational risk.

Over time, security design, in the quest to find a better way to maintain data privacy, integrity and operational availability, has moved from simple filters at the actual network edge to that of a defense in-depth architecture across multiple layers and multiple network segments. Improvements in security design are about being more efficient, more cost effective, and more secure—you can’t just pick two. While it’s true that this has led to improvements in security, it’s also often led to controls that are large, overly complex, and that result in heavy infrastructures.  Like my plane, organizations need to drop their weight (reduce complexity) in a way that will not compromise the integrity of the assets (passengers) being protected. Many times this requires outsourcing part, or all, of security operations or analysis.

The Simplification of Security Infrastructure

Airlines and information security departments both need to make the complex simple and reduce risk—all while leveraging every available resource to achieve maximum benefit for a minimum cost.  On February 22nd (1:00 PM EST/10:00 AM PST) please join me and Khalid Kark, Forrester Research Inc. VP-Research Director, as we review new findings on the simplification of security infrastructure and how AT&T can help position your company’s security infrastructure to be more proactive.

Keep the dialog open follow me on twitter @stevenhurstATT and @SRH131

Steve Hurst Managed Security Product Director AT&T About Steve