Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

9/10/2012
09:35 AM
50%
50%

Great, Now We Have To Pee In The Boat

Spontaneous reactions can create unintended and costly compliance issues

Perhaps you know the old joke about the two thirsty fishermen, far out in the ocean in a small boat, who find a magic bottle. One of them naturally rubs the bottle, and out comes a genie offering them a single wish. Before they can discuss what they should ask for, one of the men quickly wishes the entire ocean were turned into beer. In an instant, the ocean became beer, and the genie was gone in a puff of smoke.

They sit staring at each other for a moment. The one who made the wish is grinning from ear to ear, basking in his great accomplishment of acquiring all the beer he could ever drink. Finally the one who had no say about the wish looks around, sighs, and says, "Great. Now we have to pee in the boat."

I find most organizations, just like the fishermen, put themselves in unpleasant situations, at least on occasion, as the result of spontaneous, unplanned actions. Likely there were no bodily functions involved, but many times the situation is something nearly as uncomfortable. Sometimes an initial action that seemed like a great idea at the time is executed without any serious consideration of its complete future impact. The cost of unintended consequences, even for well-intended actions, can be very high.

Many security and compliance issues are the result of ad hoc actions. In most cases, the original actions were well-meaning and on the surface seemed appropriate and maybe even necessary.

There are many clear examples, such as the network administrator who locks down firewalls to the point employees can’t get do their work and are forced to cheat the security. Perhaps it is the compliance officer who creates so many checks and balances that he has long forgotten what he is checking and balancing, but nonetheless creates endless, useless busy work for himself and his colleagues.

And we have all experienced the overly complex passwords, such as #E84ti~C0v, that are so inhuman we have to write them down, thus making them incredibly unsecure. These were all well-intended ideas that forced staff to essentially pee in the boat of their business’ compliance and security.

I realize not every decision requires a long evaluation and review cycle, which would be more paralyzing and dangerous than many quick-draw bad decisions. I suggest something we often say in our office: “The fastest way to do something is to do it right.” This usually requires a reasonable amount of forethought of eventual consequences. Any security or compliance personnel who can put some thought into their actions can help keep their business in great shape and moving along efficiently.

Glenn S. Phillips prefers that clients not have to pee in their boat. He is the president of Forte' Incorporated where he works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks within. Glenn is the author of the book Nerd-to-English and you can find him on twitter at @NerdToEnglish.

Glenn works with business leaders who want to leverage technology and understand the often hidden risks awaiting them. The Founder and Sr. Consultant of Forte' Incorporated, Glenn and his team work with business leaders to support growth, increase profits, and address ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-2916
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
qtnx 0.9 stores non-custom SSH keys in a world-readable configuration file. If a user has a world-readable or world-executable home directory, another local system user could obtain the private key used to connect to remote NX sessions.
CVE-2019-12757
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP), prior to 14.2 RU2 & 12.1 RU6 MP10 and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition (SEP SBE) prior to 12.1 RU6 MP10d (12.1.7510.7002), may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt t...
CVE-2019-12758
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to an unsigned code execution vulnerability, which may allow an individual to execute code without a resident proper digital signature.
CVE-2019-12759
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager (SEPM) and Symantec Mail Security for MS Exchange (SMSMSE), prior to versions 14.2 RU2 and 7.5.x respectively, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software applicat...
CVE-2019-18372
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Symantec Endpoint Protection, prior to 14.2 RU2, may be susceptible to a privilege escalation vulnerability, which is a type of issue whereby an attacker may attempt to compromise the software application to gain elevated access to resources that are normally protected from an application or user.