People, Process, and Technology is the cornerstone of ITIL, but can it also be used to ensure a proper cybersecurity foundation? The answer may surprise you!
Let’s just get this out of the way. You are not secure. There I said it.
Let me qualify that statement: when I say you are not secure what I mean is that regardless of the money, talent, resources, or luck your organization possesses, your organization (or any other) cannot consider itself completely impervious to outside aggressors. Just like a Major in boot camp, let me tear your assumptions down for a moment so I can build them back up.
According to Gemalto, 82 records were compromised every second in 2017. It is widely accepted that the nation-state failure rate is as near to nothing to make no difference. There are spear phishing kits available to allow anyone, even your mom, to launch a targeted attack against you. You have to be right every time; a hacker only has to be right once. A bird in the hand . . . . . I could go on, but I think you get the point.
“But,” you say “I just bought something with ‘NEXT-GEN’ in the product description. That’s got to make me secure!” No, it won’t. Nothing short of throwing all copies of your secure data into a volcano will make your data completely secure.
What we must strive for, what we must get up every morning and make it our mission to accomplish, is the process. A far too common mistake is that once we place security controls around our data we believe the job is done. Once we buy and install that tool, outsource that task, or hire that consultant firm we are not done. Let’s look at the tried and true foundation of People, Process, Technology and see how that fits into your cybersecurity plan – we are going to switch it up and discuss process last.
According to ITIL News, using People, Process, and Technology for a successful implementation is not only good old-fashioned common sense but also like a 3-legged stool. The stool analogy is used because any leg that is too short or too long will cause an imbalance.
People, Process, Technology
Here’s one thing everyone in security knows: People like clicking on all the links! Hackers know this, even that rich Prince from Nigeria knows this! In Jim Collins book, Good to Great, he discusses how the leader of your organization is a like a bus driver and the employees are the bus riders.
You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.
While this may seem like a stretch in the cybersecurity world, the analogy holds true in the sense that everyone on board the bus must be on the same mission. We don’t want to let anyone (cybercriminals) on the bus or let any corporate secret fly out the bus windows.
Train your people and make sure policies are understood from the top down.
If that “next-gen” tool were able to keep you secure without your ability to understand and effectively use it, why isn’t everyone buying it and not the others? Because no tool by itself can effectively secure your data. You must be knowledgeable of what the tool is telling you, how to effectively deploy it, and how to customize it to your environment. If you don’t take the time to do these things you might as well have dug a hole and thrown the money in, it’s the same thing. Too many times I have seen a very expensive product simply create heat. The security product was implemented, but time was not dedicated to truly use the product. Now it’s ignored.
On the other hand, you could outsource the task of doing all that.….
Great! You’ve contracted an MSSP to watch your security for you. Job’s a good’n. Nope. I’ve trained many, many MSSPs, probably near fifty plus. I’ve been instrumental in starting two successful MSSPs. This experience has taught me several things of which one is critically important to this conversation.
It can be summed up by a question: How do you know they provide value?
Nifty charts? Awesome. Wizbang product suite? Sweet! Suites that cost more than your first car? Shiny. However, all of that is for naught if you have not educated yourself in the mechanics of what they provide. Most people outsource what they are not good at, wouldn’t a better idea be to outsource what you are good at? The more you know about the topic the less you must worry about whether that vendor is doing a good job. If you don’t stay current, educate yourself on cybersecurity and constantly engage your vendor, what value do they really bring?
It is said wisdom is the appropriate application of knowledge. You may have learned many things about cybersecurity, but if you can’t effectively use that knowledge in everyday life what use is it? This is where everything we’ve discussed above fits into “the framework”. I’ve described what a framework is and how to pick one in other blogs.
With a framework, we can take each new product; align it with our goals, test the product, and verify our management of the product is appropriate. With each outsourced task, we can quickly and easily see if the value exists by the iterative processes inherent in frameworks. With each consultant, we can direct and manage the work and relationship using the process of satisfying the framework.
Cybersecurity is a process. It is not a rush to prepare for a single point in time audit and relaxing until the next time. By embracing that iterative steps, incremental progress is the proper way to secure your environment, you inherently become secure.
Well, at least until George clicks on that link again.