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19 posts

GDPR Is Here: Web App Security Is a Must

With web and mobile apps becoming a preferred vector for data breaches, organizations must include application security in their plans for complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.)

GDPR went into effect in May, imposing strict requirements on millions of businesses worldwide that control and process the personal data of EU residents.

While GDPR makes only a few, vague references to technology, it’s clear that, for compliance, infosec teams must demonstrate that their organizations are doing their best to prevent accidental or malicious misuse of EU residents’ personal data.

Thus, organizations must have a rock-solid security foundation for superior data breach prevention and detection, and web application security has to be a core component of it.

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GDPR Is Here: Indication of Compromise – Another Key Practice for GDPR Compliance

In this blog series, we’re discussing solid security practices that are key for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, and today we’ll address another crucial one: Indication of compromise (IOC).

In a nutshell, IOC can help customers who are dealing with unauthorized access to customer personal data by an external threat actor or adversary.

This makes IOC particularly relevant to GDPR’s stringent requirements for providing integrity, control, accountability and protection of EU residents’ personal data.

Read on to learn why IOC is critical for complying with GDPR, which went into effect in May, and how Qualys can help you.

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GDPR Is Here: Put File Integrity Monitoring in Your Toolbox

In this latest post of our series on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, we’ll explain how file integrity monitoring (FIM) can be crucial in helping organizations comply with this severe regulation.

GDPR, which went into effect in May and applies to organizations worldwide that handle EU residents’ personal data, provides few details of specific security technologies and processes organizations should adopt.

However, it’s clear from the GDPR text that the regulators expect organizations to demonstrate that  they’re doing all they can to protect their EU customers’ personal data from malicious and accidental misuse. For InfoSec teams this means providing a rock-solid security foundation that gives their organizations superior data breach prevention and detection.

File integrity monitoring (FIM) specifically provides security controls in three key areas for GDPR:

  • Ensuring integrity of data stored in filesystems
  • Protecting confidentiality of data by detecting changes to filesystem access controls
  • Detecting breaches 

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GDPR Is Here:  Assess the Security Configurations of Your IT Systems

In prior installments of this GDPR compliance blog series, we’ve discussed the importance of key security practices such as IT asset inventory and vulnerability management. Today, we’ll focus on another core component for GDPR: policy compliance.

As we’ve stated before, to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organizations must show they’re doing all they can to protect their EU customers’ personal data. Thus, InfoSec teams must provide a rock-solid security foundation that gives organizations superior data breach prevention and detection.

With a strong IT policy compliance program, organizations can deploy and manage their IT environment according to applicable government regulations, industry standards and internal requirements.

For organizations, it’s critical to establish a lifecycle for managing assets and controls to protect the data they contain. One must continuously: identify IT assets and scope, define control objectives, automate control assessment, prioritize fixes, and ultimately remediate the security configuration problems.

To be effective, this entire process must be trackable by auditors and must maintain the proper reports and dashboards necessary to drive continuous improvement. Organizations must have this knowledge not only to properly protect their EU customers’ personal data — the regulation’s core goal — but also to comply with other GDPR requirements.

After gaining complete visibility into their IT assets, organizations can create data maps and decide which technical controls it needs to secure EU residents’ personal data in a way that meets GDPR’s considerable expectations and strict requirements.

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GDPR Is Here: Assess Risk from Vendors and from Internal Teams

Organizations must manage risk from third parties such as contractors and suppliers, and from internal staffers and teams, as part of their compliance program for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The need to manage vendor risk in particular is stressed repeatedly throughout the text of the GDPR, a strict and broad regulation which went into effect last week. GDPR applies to any organization worldwide that controls and processes personal data of EU residents, whose security and privacy the regulation is designed to defend.

In GDPR lingo, “data controllers” must vet the “data processors” they share EU customer information with, and assume joint responsibility for what happens to it. So your organization is liable if one of your third parties gets breached for failing to adhere to GDPR requirements and your EU customers’ personal data gets compromised.

GDPR states that controllers “shall use only processors providing sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures” and stresses that controllers must detail in contracts how their processors will handle customer data.

In this third installment of our GDPR compliance blog series, we’ll explain the importance of  carefully and continuously assessing the GDPR compliance levels of your third parties and internal staff. We’ll also explain how Qualys can help you beef up these foundational security practices so you can shrink your risk of data breaches that could put your organization on the wrong side of GDPR.

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GDPR Is Here: Manage Vulnerabilities and Prioritize Threat Remediation

To provide the level of data protection required by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), your organization must continuously detect vulnerabilities, and prioritize their remediation.

Why? An InfoSec team that’s chronically overwhelmed by its IT environment’s vulnerabilities and unable to pinpoint the critical ones that must be remediated immediately is at a high risk for data breaches, and, consequently, for GDPR non-compliance.

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) ranks “Continuous Vulnerability Assessment and Remediation” as the fourth most important practice in its 20 Critical Security Controls. “Organizations that do not scan for vulnerabilities and proactively address discovered flaws face a significant likelihood of having their computer systems compromised,” CIS states.

In fact, hackers constantly exploit common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) for which patches have been available for weeks, months and even years. The reason: Many organizations fail to detect and remediate critical bugs on a timely basis, leaving them like low-hanging fruit for cyber data thieves to feast on.

In this second installment of our GDPR compliance blog series, we’ll explain the importance of vulnerability management and threat prioritization, and how Qualys can help you solidify these practices so you can slash your risk of data breaches.

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Indication of Compromise: Another Key Practice for GDPR Compliance

In this ongoing blog series on preparing for complying with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we’ve explained the importance of having solid, foundational security practices like asset management and threat prioritization. Today, we’ll discuss how another such practice can help organizations stay on the right side of GDPR: Indication of Compromise (IOC).

In a nutshell, IOC can help customers who are dealing with unauthorized access to customer personal data by an external threat actor or adversary. This makes IOC particularly relevant to GDPR’s stringent requirements for data integrity, control, accountability and protection.

To comply with GDPR, which goes into effect on May 25, companies worldwide — not just in the EU — must know what personal data of EU residents they have, where it’s stored, with whom they’re sharing it, how they’re protecting it, and what they’re using it for.

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Webcast Q&A: The GDPR Deadline Readiness and Impact to Global Organizations Outside the EU

With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in late May, organizations are hungry for clarifying information regarding its vaguely-worded requirements, in particular as they apply to cyber security and IT compliance. This interest in better understanding how to comply with GDPR was evident among participants of a recent Qualys webcast titled “The GDPR deadline readiness and impact to global organizations outside the EU.”

Here we’re providing an edited transcript of their questions and of the answers provided by webcast host and Qualys Director of Product Management Tim White. Darron Gibbard, Qualys’ Chief Technical Security Officer and Managing Director of the EMEA North region, contributed to some of the answers.

Are there any recommended frameworks for implementing controls and processes for information security that I could follow to ensure GDPR readiness?
There are a variety of different ways of implementing general security best practices. There are some specific recommendations and each member country is starting to post the requirements. The most advanced one is the U.K.’s ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). They provided a lot more depth about what InfoSec requirements you should put in place, but even their recommendations are still very vague. This isn’t like PCI where they say you have to implement a change detection solution to monitor critical changes to configuration files, and you must monitor log files on a regular basis. GDPR doesn’t have prescriptive controls like that. GDPR indicates that you have to implement the controls that are appropriate for the level of risk and that you need to protect the data from breaches of confidentiality, integrity and availability. So they basically say: “Do a good job at security.”

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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.

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