14. Always Running after the Shiny Kills Effective Security
It just about two weeks before RSA Conference 2023, and the hype train accelerates even beyond its usual fever pitch. Learn what the latest threats are you should definitely buy a new tool for. Find out what version of Zero Trust we're at and what generation the latest NextGen Firewall. See which cybersecurity startup has the biggest booth.
Blockchain! Zero Trust! Ransomware! Software Supply Chain! DSPM! ChatGPT!
Is XDR still hip? In cloud security, nobody even wants to say “CSPM” anymore, and CNAPP's oxygen is increasingly stolen by DSPM, the newest kid on the block. It could have been CIEM, but that is such a poorly named category that it didn't make it. CIEM probably is an IAM subcategory anyway, but that sounds so old-fashioned, boring and unsexy.
But none of that matters, anyway, because since ChatGPT was released, the entire cybersecurity industry has an opinion on the dangers and risks, as well as possible benefits of Large Language Models.
“ChatGPT-enabled” will be all over the show floor.
It's the Basics, Stupid!
Reports by the vendors of our shiny tools, such as this recent one by Qualys, show that we may have shiny tools, but they just record poor security postures. Visibility is better than having nothing at all, but deployment of tooling is just the beginning. Next comes the engineering of contextualizing alerts and findings, enrichment with metadata, and the ability to attribute them to the right team in the organization that can do something about them. Then comes the reporting, SLA tracking and organizational accountability, the developer and workforce enablement and security awareness, and compliance processes.
Everybody wants to evaluate tools, run PoCs, define security architecture, requirements and policies for others to follow. But we shy away from doing the hard work of making our environments more secure. That, we say, is someone else's problem. If only the developers and ops people would just do what we say...
It is still about the “basics” – the unsexy, really hard things you need to do:
- Asset Inventory Management
- IAM and Access Control
- Network Controls
- Encryption in-transit and at-rest
- Keys and Secrets Management
- Logging and Monitoring
- Compliance and Vulnerability Management
Zero Trust requires that you do all these things to be effective. The same is true for ransomware or data extortion attacks. We debate esoteric, academic risks and conceptual frameworks instead of how to practically run effective security programs. We talk about post-quantum cryptography when NIST hasn't established standards yet, and we still can't get our organizations to rotate keys periodically.
The Real Innovation is in Sec(Dev)Ops
I have been in Silicon Valley over 20 years. When all the hype was about the gig economy, social media and the startups in the city, the real innovation took place in the Valley (and Seattle/Bellevue, to be fair) – where big tech companies were figuring out how to run large data center and cloud services.
I have the feeling we're going through the same thing in cybersecurity at the moment. The industry is off doing their own thing that gets a lot of attention and is unquestionably overfunded, while SecOps teams within organizations are adopting cloud-native and DevOps practices to innovate and engineer new processes to drive effective security outcomes. Often based on open source solutions.
That is not sustainable. Budgets are flat or tightening. And the industry can't reprice itself because it is too leveraged.
Have a fun RSA, everyone. It may be the last exuberant one before the crash.
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