Qualys Blog

www.qualys.com
12 posts

Implementing the CIS 20 Critical Security Controls: Slash Risk of Cyber Attacks by 85%

If a CISO needed to cut cyber attack risk by 85%, how would this security chief go about accomplishing that? Would the CISO even know where to begin? It’s safe to say that such a mandate would be considered daunting, and maybe even overwhelming.

CISOs are scrambling to protect IT infrastructures whose boundaries are increasingly fluid due to the adoption of mobility, cloud computing, IoT, and other new technologies. They get bombarded daily with information — research studies, threat warnings, vendor announcements, regulatory requirements, industry recommendations. Making sense out of it all is a challenge.

And yet, that dramatic cyber-attack risk reduction is an attainable goal for organizations that apply the first five of the Center for Internet Security’s 20 Critical Security Controls.

This structured and prioritized set of foundational InfoSec best practices offers a methodical and sensible approach for securing your IT environment. It maps effectively to most security control frameworks, government regulations, contractual obligations and industry mandates.

In this blog series, we’ll explain how Qualys Cloud Platform — a single, integrated, end-to-end platform for discovery, prevention, detection, and response — can help security teams of any size to broadly and comprehensively adopt the CIS controls. Continue reading …

Webcast Q&A: DevSecOps – Building Continuous Security Into IT and App Infrastructures

As organizations adopt DevOps to create and deliver software quickly and continuously — a key step for supporting their digital transformation initiatives — they must not overlook security. In DevOps, development and operations teams add agility and efficiency to software lifecycles with automation tools and constant collaboration, but the added speed and flexibility can backfire if security is left out.

Rather, organizations should bake security personnel, tools and processes into the process to end up instead with DevSecOps, a topic whose business and technology aspects were explored in depth during a recent webcast by Qualys Product Management VP Chris Carlson and SANS Institute Analyst John Pescatore.

In this blog post, we’re providing an edited transcript of the question-and-answer portion of the webcast, during which participants asked Carlson and Pescatore about a variety of issues, including the dangers of using Java, the right tools for DevSecOps, and the best way to embed security into the process. We hope you find their explanations insightful and useful.

In addition, if you didn’t catch the live broadcast of the webcast — titled “DevSecOps – Building Continuous Security Into IT & App Infrastructures” — we invite you to listen to its recording, which we’re sure will provide you with a lot of practical tips, useful best practices and valuable insights about DevSecOps and digital transformation. Continue reading …

DevSecOps: Building Continuous Security Into IT and App Infrastructures

With software now at the heart of essential business processes, organizations must build security into their IT and application development pipeline to prevent breaches, avoid compliance violations, and protect digital transformation initiatives.

This especially applies to organizations creating and deploying applications quickly and continuously using DevOps, in which development and operations teams add agility and efficiency to software lifecycles with automation tools, pre-built third-party code and constant collaboration.

DevSecOps Building Continuous Security into IT and App InfrastructuresDevOps replaces the traditional, linear “waterfall” method in which each team works in silos with minimal communication and coordination, often resulting in lengthy software lifecycles and code that is buggy and insecure.

But for all the speed and flexibility that DevOps adds to IT and application development and delivery — and to the business initiatives powered by the software —  it can backfire if security is an afterthought or left out altogether.

Instead, security pros, processes and tools must be threaded seamlessly into DevOps to end up with DevSecOps. Continue reading …

Webcast Q&A: Automating the CIS Critical Security Controls

Qualys Product Management Director Tim White and SANS Institute Analyst John Pescatore did a deep dive into the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls during a recent webcast, and answered questions from audience members about these 20 foundational security practices, and about the importance of maintaining basic security hygiene.

In this blog post, we’re providing edited transcripts of their answers to all the questions, including those that they didn’t have time to address during the one-hour webcast, which was titled “Automating CIS Critical Security Controls for Threat Remediation and Enhanced Compliance.” We hope you find their explanations insightful and useful.

Webcast Questions and Answers - Automating CIS 20 Critical Security ControlsIn addition, if you didn’t catch the webcast live, we invite you to listen to the CIS controls webcast recording. We also encourage you to download a copy of a highly detailed guide that maps the CIS controls and sub-controls directly to specific features in Qualys apps.

Continue reading …

The Critical Security Controls: Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene for your Organization

It’s a well-known fact that most successful cyber attacks are easily preventable. That’s because the majority are neither highly sophisticated nor carefully customized.

Instead, they are of the “spray and pray” sort. They try to exploit known vulnerabilities for which patches are available, or to take advantage of weak configuration settings that IT departments could have handily and quickly hardened.

One recent and infamous example was the WannaCry ransomware, which infected 300,000-plus systems and disrupted critical operations globally in May. It spread using the EternalBlue exploit for a Windows vulnerability Microsoft had patched in March.

So why do many businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies — including those with substantial cybersecurity resources and knowledge — continue falling prey to these largely unrefined and easy to deflect strikes?

In most cases, the main reason can be traced back to hygiene — of the cybersecurity type, of course. Just as personal hygiene practices reduce the risk of getting sick, applying cybersecurity hygiene principles goes a long way towards preventing security incidents.

That was the key message Qualys Product Management Director Tim White and SANS Institute Analyst John Pescatore delivered during the recent webcast “Automating CIS Critical Security Controls for Threat Remediation and Enhanced Compliance.”

Continue reading …

Achieve Continuous Security and Compliance with the CIS Critical Security Controls

For InfoSec pros, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constant noise from cybersecurity industry players — vendors, research firms, consultants, industry groups, government regulators and media outlets. A good antidote for this hyperactive chatter is to refocus on foundational InfoSec practices. That’s what SANS Institute Senior Analyst John Pescatore and I will do this week: An immersion into the Center for Internet Security’s Critical Security Controls (CSCs).

During an hour-long webcast on Sept. 28, we’ll be discussing the benefits of implementing these 20 recommended controls. Initially published in 2008, these information security best practices have been endorsed by many leading organizations and successfully adopted by thousands of InfoSec teams over the years. Now on version 6.1, the CIS CSCs map effectively to most security control frameworks, as well as regulatory and industry mandates, and are more relevant and useful than ever.

Continue reading …

Countdown to GDPR: IT Policy Compliance

From the first page, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation stresses the importance it places on the security and privacy of EU residents’ private information. The 88-page document opens by referring to the protection of this personal data as a “fundamental right” essential for “freedom, security and justice” and for creating the “trust” needed for the “digital economy” to flourish.

The stakes are sky-high for EU regulators tasked with enforcing GDPR, and for organisations that must comply with it. The requirements outlined in the document amount to what some have called “zero-tolerance” on mishandling EU residents’ personal data and apply to any organisation doing business in the EU, regardless of where they are based.

Both data “controllers” — those who collect the data — and data “processors” — those with whom it’s shared — must implement “appropriate technical and organisational measures” and their IT networks and systems must “resist, at a given level of confidence, accidental events or unlawful or malicious actions.”

Bottom line: Organisations are expected to have technology and processes in place to prevent accidental or malicious incidents that compromise the “availability, authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of stored or transmitted personal data.”

As we’ve discussed in this GDPR preparedness blog series, while the regulation’s document is light on specific prescriptive information security controls and technologies, organisations must have solid InfoSec foundations in place to comply with this regulation, which goes into effect in May 2018.

In prior installments, we’ve discussed the importance for GDPR compliance of IT asset inventory, vulnerability management, prioritization of remediation based on current threats, and vendor risk assessment. Today, we’ll focus on another core component for preparing for GDPR: policy compliance.

Continue reading …

CyberSecurity Report: Threat Landscape Gets More Sophisticated

Destruction of service. Get acquainted with this newly-minted term, and with its acronym — DeOS. It’s a particularly disturbing type of cyber attack InfoSec teams may face regularly in the not too distant future.

Cisco 2017 Cybersecurity ReportThat’s one of the main findings featured in the Cisco 2017 Midyear Cybersecurity Report, a comprehensive cyber security study the networking giant has been publishing for almost a decade.

Due to several troubling developments, including the expected popularization of DeOS attacks — intended to wreck breached IT systems — and the proliferation of IoT device use in DDoS attacks, this report blares a special alarm.

“We must raise our warning flag even higher,” reads the report, which is based on research and data from Cisco and several of its technology partners, including Qualys. “Our security experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the accelerating pace of change — and yes, sophistication — in the global cyber threat landscape.”
Continue reading …

Countdown to GDPR — Reduce your Risk

First discussed in the 1990s and turned into law last year, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally goes into effect in May 2018, imposing strict requirements on millions of businesses and subjecting violators to severe penalties.

The complex regulation is of concern not just to European businesses. It applies to any organization worldwide that controls and processes the data of EU citizens, whose privacy the GDPR is meant to protect.

A recent PwC survey found that more than half of U.S. multinationals say GDPR is their main data-protection priority, with 77% of them planning to spend $1 million or more on GDPR readiness and compliance.

“The GDPR is putting data protection practices at the forefront of business agendas worldwide,” Steve Durbin, Information Security Forum’s managing director, wrote recently.

In other words, it’s crunch time for companies that fall within the GDPR’s broad scope and that haven’t completed their preparations to comply with this regulation. Gartner estimates that about half of organizations subject to the GDPR will be non-compliant by the end of 2018. You don’t want to be in this group of laggards.

Continue reading …

Checklist: Qualys Top 10 Tips for a Secure & Compliant 2017

With 2017 still in its infancy, plenty of time remains for InfoSec practitioners to make concrete strides toward better security and compliance in their organizations. That’s why to help you start off the year on the right foot, we’ve shared best practices, ideas and recommendations in our Qualys Top 10 Tips for a Secure & Compliant 2017 blog series.

Continue reading …