Today's post comes from Vidhi Desai, Market Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
Today’s business environment calls for information sharing at an unprecedented scale. Sensitive information is shared between organizations, end consumers and even business partners. The biggest challenge that organizations face in doing so, is how to ensure that sensitive information is securely shared with different parties and that the right people are accessing the data. With the adoption of cloud and Software as a service deployment models, ensuring secure access is even more critical and challenging.
Consider a scenario where a government agency needs to share information with different agencies, local governments, citizens or even with other business entities (eg. Revenue agency that needs to share information with citizens and other entities like a tax preparation service). If one of the entities is operating in a public cloud environment, its becomes critical for government to ensure that right person is accessing the right data without sacrificing privacy, security or scalability (party requesting information really is the government revenue agency or tax preparer they claim to be).
Over the past couple years, we have seen how the US government has taken steps to ensure secure sharing of data between agencies with regulations such as FISMA, which was introduced in 2002, bringing attention to the critical nature of cyber security and its impact on national security.
Identity is at the core of any information sharing transaction. Hence whenever an individual attempts to access secure online sites or web portals, their identity has to be verified to ensure they are authorized to view that data. Additionally from the end user or citizen’s perspective, they should be able to set up their identity once and then log in to multiple systems without having to log in multiple times.
Federated identity management is the solution which enables multiple applications to share user credentials based on trust. This is especially critical in supporting cloud deployments for secure information sharing across private, public and hybrid clouds. With federated SSO, users can log on to the sites of multiple businesses and organizations by using the same user id and password, hence gaining a seamless and secure entry to multiple applications.
Tivoli Federated identity manager from IBM is an access management solution that provides web and federated single sign on to end users across multiple applications resulting in improved user experience. Tivoli Federated Identity Manager enables central management of access, enhanced user productivity and facilitates trust by delivering single sign on across separately managed infrastructure domains, both within an organization and across organizations.
Today's post comes from Perry Swenson, Market Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
IT departments at financial services firms are under tremendous pressure to ensure servers, desktops, mobile devices and other endpoints are secure and compliant. At the same time, they’re continually looking for ways to save time and resources in areas like software licensing, patch management, asset inventory and security configuration. IBM Tivoli Endpoint Manager, built on BigFix technology, is helping these firms better understand and manage the status of their endpoints, regardless of where they’re located.
In the below video of Nate Howe, VP of Risk Management at Western Federal Credit Union talks about how Tivoli Endpoint Manager provides real-time patching for operating systems and third party applications and utilities. With over $1.4 billion in assets and 32 branches in 10 states serving more than 120,000 members nationwide, Western Federal Credit Union is one of the leading credit unions in the United States. Nate explains that they now have a single view into all aspects of the systems and security for their 400 employees, 100 servers and 2 data centers, including a better inventory of installed software. And, they can do more with fewer people, which enables them to focus less on infrastructure and more on business applications and enabling business automation.
Another customer that’s realizing benefits from Tivoli Endpoint Manager is SunTrust Banks, Inc. Based in Atlanta, SunTrust enjoys leading market positions in some of the highest growth markets in the United States and also serves clients in selected markets nationally. SunTrust has a highly distributed environment with nearly 1,800 branch locations and no local IT resources at most of those locations. Using Tivoli Endpoint Manager, SunTrust now maintains a 98.5 percent patch and update compliance rate. They’ve also decreased update and patch cycle times from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 days while increasing productivity through automation. Read the SunTrust case study here.
By enabling improved endpoint visibility and new levels of automation, Tivoli Endpoint Manager is a powerful solution to help financial services firms enhance their security and compliance.
Today's post comes from Veronica Shelley, Market Manager, IBM Security.
With IBM's October 12th SmartCloud launch, perhaps you're considering cloud computing for your organization. After all, the benefits of cloud computing are well known. Cloud computing is flexible, scalable, and cost-effective, and it's a proven delivery platform for providing business or consumer IT services over the Internet. Cloud computing can help you cut costs and IT complexity, provide new services to customers, and streamline business processes. Cloud computing is gaining in popularity and may be the wave of the future. Yet, many organizations hesitate to get started due to security concerns and confusion over how to get started.
Perceived risk versus actual risk
Cloud computing may seem new, but the fact is companies have been outsourcing services and technology for years. Providers already deliver hosted technology offerings that are located off-site with client access via the Internet. This is a common scenario for services such as remote storage or hosted email and other software as a service (SaaS) solutions. And just because companies may give up some control to the provider when they move to a cloud-based environment (just as they give up some control in any outsourced arrangement), it doesn't mean they have to compromise on security. By asking the right questions and adequate preparation, companies can build a "trust and verify" relationship with the cloud provider they are working with.
Questions to ask to ensure cloud security
It's important to remember that the same factors apply to ensuring security whether it is cloud-based or within a traditional IT infrastructure. The key difference in the cloud model is that it includes external elements, and those elements will be managed by the cloud service provider. This means companies need to understand the environment beyond their own data center and consider how it impacts the organization from a security standpoint. To help ensure security and peace of mind, as well as a good working relationship with the cloud provider, the client company should always identify and prioritize cloud-specific security risks beforehand. Often, companies will find they have the same amount of control, if not more, with a cloud service.
There are specific tactics an organization can use to enhance cloud security. For identity and access management issues, companies need to control passwords, support privileged users and enable role-based access to these cloud services. With data protection, a key concern is knowing whether or not a company's hosted data is secure, especially if data from rival companies is also being stored on the provider's cloud service. Companies should also ensure the cloud provider is deploying antivirus software on all supported systems that could be exposed to attacks, and ensuring that selected programs can identify and protect against malicious software or processes. From an auditing and monitoring perspective, companies need to determine how the cloud provider is testing and monitoring the infrastructure to meet legal and regulatory requirements.
Reaping the benefits of cloud
Organizations interested in reaping the benefits of cloud can best begin by understanding the security ramifications of a cloud deployment to their business, keeping in mind they can start small by deploying cloud in low-risk workload areas like email services. This easing-in process gives organizations valuable time to become familiar with cloud on a scale that's simpler to grasp and doesn't put them at increased security risk. And as familiarity of cloud and trust in the provider grows over time, companies can expand their use of cloud computing into other areas of business. By following this gradual path, companies can start enjoying the benefits of cloud in a way that's safe and secure.
Today's post comes from Vikash Abraham, Market Manager, IBM Security.
Virtualization has proven its business worth as a technology, however there is still limited understanding about how to secure it. To many, the question still remains - why do virtual environments need separate security when we have already secured the physical environment i.e. physical servers and the network in a data center. To answer this, it is essential to understand that the virtual environment creates a totally new layer above the physical server, which in turn, acts like a mini data center with all the complexities of multiple virtual machines, hypervisors, virtual networks and virtual appliances. The biggest risk that comes with a virtualized environment is the lack of visibility into it. Thus even if the environment is being attacked it isn’t necessary that the administrators are aware of it. Hackers are also excited with the hope of unveiling a set of new vulnerabilities that this environment could come with.
Having realized this risk of vulnerability and possible loss of millions-worth of data, the PCI Security Standard Council has come up with compliance guidelines for virtual environments. In June 2011, PCI group released ‘PCI DSS Virtualization Guidelines’ that broadly describes aspects that need to be considered while securing a virtual cardholder data environment. The guidelines consider the new entities that pop up with virtualization, such as Hypervisors, Virtual Machines, Virtual Appliances, Virtual Switches or Routers, Virtual Applications & Desktops and provide the virtualization considerations across the 12 PCI DSS requirements.
It is clear that a new approach to security is required, with concepts like ‘secure by design’ making further sense in this multilayered environment. Also, a specialized security solution would be needed to provide visibility, control and proactive protection. The solution needs to protect all entities of the virtual environment and monitor data that is being shared between these entities.
While securing virtual environments, the physical components of the data center should not be ignored. These physical components should continue to be secured as it would have been prior to virtualization. The PCI guideline points out that to ensure total security, the entire infrastructure hierarchy needs to be secured. This means that even if only one Virtual Machine (VM) is carrying cardholder data, both the hypervisor and the physical server need to be secured. Since the VM sits on the hypervisor and the physical server, a compromise to either of them can lead to the VM getting compromised.
Also with the increasing buzz around Cloud computing and Cloud-based service offerings, there would be further security requirements and considerations that need to be implemented to create a secure Cloud based cardholder data environment. However, if Cloud is considered as the next level of virtualization, the additional security required would be on top of the current virtualization considerations.
An enterprise would one day need to move on to the virtualized environment, considering the pressure to carry out continuous optimization and increase utilization. This would also mean that the ever growing cardholder data would need to move into this environment. The current deterrents that hinder this move are the lack of understanding of the environment and its security requirements to achieve a PCI compliant datacenter. However, sooner or later, the compelling business advantage of virtualization would push a CIO to take that leap.
Today's post comes from Anne Lescher, Product Marketing Manager, IBM Security.
Many enterprises run their mission critical application workloads on their mainframe systems. They would like to centralize their application security controls, security policy enforcement, data protection, auditing reporting and compliance management for a consolidated view of security. They are looking for smarter security intelligence that will help them leverage the mainframe as their enterprise security hub.
IBM Security zSecure suite V1.13 consists of multiple individual components designed to help you administer your mainframe security server, monitor for threats, enforce policy compliance, audit usage and configurations, and assist in compliance management and audit reporting.
• IBM Security zSecure Admin, Visual, and CICS Toolkit provide administrative, provisioning, and management components that can significantly reduce administration time, effort, and costs, and help improve productivity and response time, as well as help reduce training time for new administrators.
• IBM Security zSecure Audit, Alert, and Command Verifier provide security policy enforcement, audit, monitoring and compliance management components. These offerings help ease the burden of compliance audits, can improve security and incident handling, and can increase overall operational effectiveness.
New Security zSecure suite V1.13 capabilities offer enhancements for DB2, CICS, and IMS application security auditing that:
• Automates security analysis of CICS and IMS transactions and programs
• Provides automated determination of which System Authorization Facility (SAF) classes are being used by each active IBM DB2, IBM CICS, or IBM IMS subsystem
• Enhances Access Monitor and allows you to improve data consolidation
• Allows annotating userid displays with data from external human resource files such as department and employee number
• Adds globalization enhancements to support international language support and auditing
• Allows addition of your own sensitivity classification, audit concern, and priority to data set names and general resources
• Supports currency with z/OS V1R13, ACF2 R14 and R15, CICS V4R2, and Top Secret R12, R14, and R15
• Extends integration with Communications Server and provides various interface improvements
Today's post comes from Anne Lescher, Product Marketing Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
As the mainframe continues to extend support for
consolidated workloads on System z, enterprises should strongly consider
utilizing the mainframe as their enterprise data and security hub. Mainframes are uniquely able to protect
information with a rich collection of encryption capabilities that includes
self-encrypting tape and disk storage for data at rest, in addition to robust
access controls, file level encryption, database encryption, and communication
encryption protocols. Now with the mainframe’s ability to support virtual
workloads, organizations can create cloud environments with protected data
available for shared innovative collaborative ventures.
Encryption is the ultimate solution for protecting sensitive
data. But many practitioners are reluctant to utilize encryption due to
concerns of performance overhead, disruption to their operations and changes
required in their applications, and encryption key management complexity. But
the biggest fear of all is losing all access to encrypted data if the
encryption key is ever lost or forgotten.
In most cases, organizations have less and less choice over
when and how to encrypt information as more and more industries and governments
enact legislation and standards that mandate the use of encryption.
industry via HIPAA HITECH in the US protects sensitive patient
transactions mandate encrypted payment card information with PCI-DSS
financial information must be protected as regulated by SOX, GLBA, etc.
notification regulations include 45 US
states, national laws protecting
their citizens data such as in Italy, the recent rules
changes for the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications,
So a superior encryption key lifecycle management solution
is essential in order to implement the best end-to-end security which protects
enterprise mission critical data and sensitive personal information.This solution should include standards based
key management and help:
Centralize and automate encryption key management process
Work with hardware based encryption built into a
variety of IT components like self encrypting tape and disk drive
Reduce the number of encryption keys to be
managed through techniques like key wrapping of unique keys per device
Simplify encryption key management with an
intuitive user interface for configuration and management
Maintain performance by using hardware
acceleration and not slowing down data access paths
Facilitate compliance management of regulatory
standards with proof of encryption for safe harbor from disclosure requirements
Leverage open standards like the OASIS standard
Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) to give the choice of best of
breed components and facilitate vendor interoperability
Operate transparently without requiring code
IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager for z/OS allows enterprises to fully exploit the security strengths of their mainframes to act as both an enterprise data hub and an enterprise security hub for the consolidated workloads that run on the newest System z platforms.
For more information, you can visit us online here.
Today’s post is brought to you by Veronica Shelley, Product Marketing
Manager, IBM Security Solutions.
A typical user can have multiple log-in and password
combinations, often with different requirements and update intervals. With so
many log-ins to keep track of, users either forget or resort to unsafe
practices (i.e. writing them down) to help remember their passwords. Yet, there
are times when youruser community
simply can’t remember their log-in information. How many calls to the Help
Desk, how many hours of lost user productivity, can be attributed to workers
who can’t log into a particular application or database because they forgot
their password? Precious time is wasted finding, remembering, and resetting
passwords, so this can become a major productivity issue for organizations of
As the number of enterprise applications and access points
continue to increase IBM Tivoli Access Manager for Enterprise Singe Sign-On
(TAM ESSO) delivers a balance between easy access and strong security. This
industry leading access management solution supports a wide variety of
authentication factors (including smart cards, badges, tokens, and biometrics),
meeting the needs of different user groups and industries. TAM ESSO provides single sign-on capabilities,
meaning users have to remember just one password to automatically log into all
their applications and data sources. No more time consuming and expensive help
desk calls, no more frustrated users, no more lost hours of productivity. Users
benefit from fast access to all of their applications, while organizations benefit
from the increase in productivity, security and compliance with security
A few years ago, I worked on organizing an analyst summit for IBM where we announced the (then new) IBM Security Framework.*
Cut to today and the IBM Security Framework is still at the foundation of Smarter security solutions from IBM.
The IBM Security Framework. Visibility, Control and Automation.™
when we talk to customers about how to address their business pains, the fundamentals remain the same even though the technology continues to advance in new directions.
With Cloud and Virtualization in particular, the technology is certainly changing at a pretty fast clip.
Take a look at the fourth video in our series, "Cloud Enabling Your Data Center: Security and the Cloud" where Joe Anthony, IBM Director, Security, Risk & Compliance Product Management, talks about the IBM Security Framework and how it addresses the Cloud and business pains our customers are trying ot address.
The message and the focus of security and the Cloud is still very much rooted in the IBM Security Framework.
As a reminder, the entire video series can be seen using the YouTube Playlist (Get Cloud Ready).
* To be clear, I had nothing to do with building the IBM Security Framework. I was just the project manager for the event. Like Jarvis in the Avengers. (as a side note: one thing I learned about event planning - coffee, coffee, coffee!)
We are increasingly living our lives in online spaces, and as a result, the monetary value of those spaces seems to be rising every day. Billions and billions of dollars are spent every single year on online advertising. One of the challenges is not only making sure that your money is well spent, but also that your spend won't have a negative impact on your brand. If you're wondering how that could happen, think about this: it's estimated that about 10% of all online ads wind up in places they shouldn't be.
I actually had the pleasure of having lunch with Ian Lightstone (CFO ArtsandTV) a few months back while we were originally filming this video. It was my first exposure to the project and I have to say, it's pretty fascinating what they're working on. As someone who spends all their time talking about vulnerabilities and attack types and all the other pieces of the security conversation, advertising wasn't something that came up a lot. SEO attacks are probably the closest I'd ever gotten to thinking about advertising in the context of security. So how does security intersect with advertising?
ArtsandTV is a relatively small company that needed a lot of data. Data is something that IBM has. Specifically, we have one of the largest URL filtering databases in the world (Security Content Analysis SDK). This product is something typically used to enhance existing security offerings, but it is being used a bit differently here. The Project Sunblock team wanted to improve the way advertisers spend their money.
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of inappropriate websites on the internet, places where you wouldn't want your brand to appear. In addition to the obvious places you want to avoid, there are other places that are more subtle. Imagine you are a bank, and you advertise a lot on some popular news site. One day, that site runs a story about the financial crisis and is extremely critical of the banking system. Despite the fact that you might frequently advertise on this site, you likely do not want your brand associated with that story.
So, ArtsandTV had the algorithms and IBM had the data. The combination of the two became Project Sunblock, an ad spend optimization and brand protection tool. Project Sunblock can help to keep your brand from appearing on inappropriate pages through the use of content and image analysis combined with a real-time decision making engine. This applies to both generally inappropriate sites, as well as the instances of specific articles and stories that you don't want your brand associated with.
One last thing to remember is that 10% figure I cited at the beginning this post. Not only is this solution protecting the image of a brand, it is also a way to get a better return on your investments. That 10% can be better spent elsewhere.