CISO MindMap 2018 – What Do InfoSec Professionals Really Do?

Like last year, ransomware continues to be a major issue for many organizations. One of the best things any organization can do to itself is to prepare for dealing with ransomware incidents. While ransomware is morphing into crypto currency mining in some cases, this is not the only major concern on security professionals’ mind as new technologies are emerging fast. From autonomous vehicles, blockchain, to drones to connected medical devices, security professionals are called to provide guidance/advice, frameworks, monitoring and incident handling to enable the business with these and many other technologies. All of this is making skills development a continuous and major challenge.

While other professions in technology has to focus primarily in their particular domain, the security professionals are expected to know it all.

Given these changes and challenges in the overall technology field, I have updated the CISO MindMap for 2018 which is the 10thversion since its initial publication. Major changes are highlighted in red color so that users of version 9 (2017) can easily see the updates and adapt.

 

CISO Mind Map 2018 by Rafeeq Rehman

Download PDF file by clicking here

Skill Development & Emerging Technologies

Like last year, I would recommend focusing on learning the emerging technologies (augmented reality, blockchain, machine/deep learning, computer vision, autonomous vehicles and others). I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to enable your business with emerging technologies instead of standing in the way of progress. InfoSec professionals should not only be learning these technologies but should also be creating guidelines for using these technologies (proactively).  You should be thinking about how to get logs and other data to identify threats, integrate with SOC, and deal with incidents. Many freeoptions for learning new skills are available form MOOC providers like Coursera and Edx.

Automation and Productivity

As the workload for security operations professionals is ever increasing, I would also emphasize to focus on automation and increasing productivity. New options are available to perform automatic threat hunting, anomaly detection, prioritization and others. Use of open source technologies and scripting should be an essential part of security operations. I would suggest having at least one person on your teams with excellent Python or other scripting language skills.

GDPR, Data and Privacy

Compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and data privacy is just a start and we can expect that more regulations like that will follow. Knowing what data is being collected, where it is stored, how it is utilized and secured are some of the key issues to understand for compliance with privacy regulations. The security professionals should be proactively training and guiding IT teams about data privacy, integrate with DevOps processes, and be an agent of change about how data is handled. At the same time, we need to be mindful that data is the new currency for our businesses and must be capitalized on and used as competitive edge.

Last, I want to thank all who have provided feedback and suggestions about how to improve the MindMap. The names are so many that I can’t include all of you but you know who you are. I wanted to let you know that your suggestions are very welcomed and much appreciated. Enjoy the new MindMap and don’t forget to send me a note about how it is helping you in advance your goals and objectives!

May 21, 2018.

Your feedback is very important to me. Please share your thoughts on my Twitter handle at @rafeeq_rehman. Also please subscribe to my blog using your email address at the top-right corner “subscribe” option.

References

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Building a Successful Security Operations Center (SOC): Part 4

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SOC Planning – Defining SOC Scope

Defining scope for the SOC is crucial for its success and to determine stakeholders for the SOC. The scope will help determine cost, associates needed to run the SOC, SOC processes and many other areas as listed below:

  • Coverage – Decide which areas fall under scope of the SOC (IT, OT, IoT, Physical Security, Cloud Service Providers. Others).
  • Incident Handling – Demarcation of where incident response will be handed over to other IT/OT/Physical security teams and which parts will be covered by the SOC staff. This will also help in determination of who needs access to incident management application.
  • Incident Handling Support – Which part of incidents will be outsourced to third parties, if any. For example, if the SOC does not include building in-depth forensic capability, it can be outsourced to a third party for major incidents.
  • Managing SOC IT Infrastructure – SOC team manages security applications including SIEM and security tools. However, IT infrastructure is needed to run these applications and tools. Decide who will manage network, storage, server Operating System for SOC IT infrastructure.
  • Governance – What is the governance structure and what other teams are involved. Especially who approves processes for incident handling when people outside SOC are involved.
  • Connection with Outside Parties – When outside parties like press, communication, law enforcement are engaged, who will establish relationships with these outside parties.
  • Data Collection Scope – What is the scope of data collections including logs, netflows, threat intelligence, physical security and others. What is in scope and what it not included in the data collection. If Cloud environment is in the scope, what data can be collected from the Cloud Service Providers (CSP)?
  • Vulnerability Management – Who manages critical vulnerabilities, from scanning to prioritization to patching.
  • Threat Intelligence Gathering and Use – How threat intelligence will be gathered and utilized (internal or outsources/purchased).
  • Processes – Define which processes will be part of SOC and which will be excluded. For example, is SOC responsible of education and awareness, pen testing, or patching? Depending upon organizational structure, these and other security operational processes may be part of SOC or outside of its scope.
  • Single or Multi Site – Large organizations may have more than one SOC. In case of multiple SOC situation, define geographical or organizational scope for each SOC. Also define collaboration mechanism and resource sharing among multiple SOC environments.
  • Compliance – What role SOC has in achieving and maintaining compliance with government and/or industry regulations.

This seems quite a lot of work but defining the scope is crucial part of a successful SOC foundation. Writing down the scope document and getting buy in from stakeholders will go a long way to avoid problems during SOC implementation and operations phases.

For a broader overview of SOC, plate take a look at What it Really Takes to Build a SOC and other references below.

Your feedback is very important to me. Please share your thoughts on my Twitter handle at @rafeeq_rehman

References

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Is it Time for Data Driven Business Innovation Strategy?

Credit – Pexels

Data-driven business innovation is not something of distant future anymore. It is a reality of today. Many businesses are already reaping benefits of monetizing internal data that they already possess. Some are taking data-driven business innovation to the next levels by mashing up internal data with public data sources like social media feeds, weather data, and real time traffic information. Whereas others are working on generating new data from sources which were not possible in the past. For example, sensors and affordable wireless data communications is enabling gathering data from vehicles, agriculture, manufacturing, equipment utilization, and other. So what is fueling this revolution and why now? Following are few main reasons why this is happening and why you should give it a serious consideration.

  • Cost of Storing Data – Cost of storing enormous amounts of data has decreased to a level where it is almost insignificant. Quite contrary to the old days when capital investment was needed to build storage infrastructure, now almost unlimited and on-demand data storage is available from many Cloud services providers.
  • Availability of Analytics Tools – Data analytics tools, both commercial and in the open source, are available to process very large amounts of data at extremely low cost. Hadoop based technologies, Cloud services, and Machine Learning are fueling development of new tools.
  • Use of Unstructured Data – Older technologies for data storage and analytics were mostly based upon structured data. However, machine learning and AI advancements have made it possible to use unstructured data for business purposes. Now it is possible to monetize notes from customer service representatives, IVR, and unstructured public data sources.
  • Visualization – Data visualization is key to effective data-driven decision making. Now these tools are available as a service, enabling creating powerful visualizations and dashboards very quickly and without purchasing expensive tools.
  • Wireless Communications – Very affordable wireless data communication is enabling collecting data from mobile sources and remote locations that was not possible just few years back.

How businesses can monetize vast amounts to data and create data-driven strategy for business innovation? The answer is a little different depending upon type of business and the industry segment. Following are some of the ideas that you can think about as a starting point.

  • Customer Insights – A better understanding of customers and getting insights into customer behavior is every business’ dream. Data is enabling businesses gain customer insights for better customer services and building innovative brands. This is especially interesting for B2C interactions in financial, insurance, retail and other industries.
  • Product Improvement – Many manufacturers are using data to improve products, identify product defects, understand how products are being used, and in many other ways.
  • New Business Models – Many companies are using data to create new revenue streams at different levels. Some companies are simply getting into the business of selling data while others are offering data analytics as a service. Equipment manufacturers are working on providing proactive maintenance in addition to machinery, all with the help of data gathered through different sensors.
  • New Levels of Efficiency and Process Improvement – Data is fueling gaining new levels of efficiency in business processes, manufacturing processes, and even in service industries.

The bottom line is that it is imperative for every business to understand the data assets they possess, understand the data value chain, and initiate a data-driven business transformation strategy.

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Information Security Leaders Handbook

Few years ago, I wrote Information Security Leaders Handbook but it was not listed as a download on this blog. With this post, I would like to put it here and also check the level of interest from InfoSec community for an updated version (Second Edition). Please send your comments at my Twitter handle @rafeeq_rehman or through this blog.

Information Security Leaders Handbook

The objective of this book is to make you a successful information security professional by learning from experience of great leaders in this field. This book is a little dated now but provides core fundamental models in a concise manner. It is easy to read and use in managing information security programs. Most of the chapters accompany visual mind maps, action items, and other visual tools for easy understanding.

Click HERE to download the PDF version of the book.

How is this book organized?

The book covers a set of carefully selected topics. This is to ensure that focus remains on principles that are the most important to the success of a security professional. The topics are arranged in six parts as listed below.

  1. Know The Business – List of topics important for understanding and knowing the business.
  2. Information Security Strategy – Elements of information security strategy, how to create strategy and put it into practice.
  3. Security Operations – Major areas related to running an effective security operations program.
  4. Risk Management – How to assess and manage risk.
  5. Personal Branding – Creating personal brand and establishing credibility to be effective as information security leader.
  6. Appendices – Miscellaneous data points and sources of information.

How to Use This Book?

I suggest that you read one chapter daily, take actions, set goals, and write those actions and goals on the “Goals and Activity Log” page at the end of each chapter. Next day, read another chapter and write the actions and goals with target dates. As you go along, start reading random chapters and keep on reviewing and updating your actions and goals to measure your progress and success.

A Systematic Way of Achieving Excellence

The book provides a systematic and measurable way towards excellence in your job. I have gone to great length to limit each topic to two pages or less. Please use the “Goals and Activity Log” page to record your progress and make the best use of your time. While you go along, record your experiences and share them on the book web site.

Subscribe to Blog for Release Dates and Updates

Please subscribe to this blog to keep yourself updated about the release date of the book. You can use “Follow Blog via Email” link on top-right corner of this page.

Your feedback is very important to me. Please share your thoughts on my Twitter handle at @rafeeq_rehman

Other Useful Links for InfoSec Professionals

DISCLAIMER: All material presented is my own and not of my employer and does not constitute any recommendations, endorsements or professional consultation.

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CISO MindMap 2017 – What Do InfoSec Professional Really Do?

Note: An updated version of CISO MindMap (2018) is published here

While Ransomware may be the talk of the town these days, many other profound changes are happening in the industry that impact job of information security professionals. Keeping in view these change, I felt a need for updating CISO MindMap. The new and updated CISO MindMap 2017 is attached below. This time, I have highlighted all changes in red color to make it easy for those who have been following this CISO MindMap for some time.

One major change is about IoT, keeping in view that more and more companies see value and are adopting IoT technologies. Lines between IoT, Industrial IoT, and industrial control systems are blurring gradually. Security professionals are being called in to respond to IoT incidents, which are increasing over time. The IoT vendors are in infancy from security perspective in many cases, with lax security controls. I feel there is a need for all organizations to include IoT as an essential part of their overall security operations. With a little research inside their organization, they may be surprised how many IoT technologies are already being used by their businesses that they may not be aware of.

I also believe that InfoSec professionals should make subjects such as artificial intelligence, drones, sharing economy, and data analytics as part of their learning goals. InfoSec is an essential enabler for modern businesses and we, as a community, should be at the forefront of this progress instead of standing in the way.

Last but not the least, InfoSec professionals must keep a better “Customer Experience” as a guiding principle of everything they do. I would recommend taking a short course on “design thinking” methodology that would make people think and act differently and more productively. We must improve our brand!

Like always, feel free to provide your feedback and comments. Also, register on this blog to keep updated. You can also download PDF version of the CISO MindMap.

CISO MindMap

Your feedback is welcomed on my Twitter handle at @rafeeq_rehman

References

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What is Return on Security Investment (ROSI) Anyway?

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ROSI or Return On Security Investment is simply a way to calculate if a security control is worth implementation or not. For a control to be financially viable, the reduction of risk has to be greater than the cost of implementing security control. Continue reading

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Business Innovation with a Data Driven Approach

Effective use of data has become a key to run modern business, gain enhanced customer insight, improve loyalty, and drive sales.

More and more companies are realizing that a customer-centric and data-driven approach is the only way to compete in this hyper-connected business world.

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Aligning Business Goals with InfoSec Strategy

How do you align yourself with the business you are supporting? What value are you creating? These are the questions that every CISO should be thinking on regular basis. In a typical organization, the CEO has a list of business goals and objectives that trickle down through chain of leadership. Objective for IT leaders are usually derived from CEO’s business objectives to support the organization. Understanding the organizational objectives as well as the personalities of business leaders helps in creating and aligning the information security strategy. Continue reading

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DBIR 2017 – Major Findings of Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

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Verizon is publishing Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) for over 10 years. The latest release is DBIR 2017 which was published on April 27th. This year’s report contains 1935 confirmed data breaches and more than 42000 security incidents. Like always, DBIR 2017 provides great insights about how data breaches are happening, who is behind attacks, and what their motives are. Continue reading

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Three Fundamental Questions for Strategic Decision Making

How to pick the right projects for the next year or the next thing to work on? Recently, this was the major point of discussion in the planning meeting of a non-profit organization. Irrespective of for-profit or non-profit status, all organizations and businesses have to make the same strategic decisions about picking and choosing projects. Continue reading

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