Paul Kenyon
January 9th, 2013

4 Security Considerations for 2013

While forecasting the security culprits of the coming year has become a clichéd annual technology tradition, there is definite value in preparing for what may lurk ahead. Take for instance, how quickly the threat landscape has shifted.  It’s hard to believe that movements, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or cloud computing, have only recently emerged, yet they have become ingrained in our security posture and threat landscape. Considering this speed of change, taking a moment to reflect on the security risks ahead is not only prudent, but could save your organization from being blindsided. From my view, here’s what I’d recommend organizations, from SMBs to the enterprise, prepare for 2013.

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When privileges start to ‘creep’…

Bad privilege management is as dangerous as none

Utilizing tools native to the operating system to convert Windows networks to an environment in which administrator-level privileges are the justified exception rather than the rule is often mistakenly seen as a discrete destination when it is really part of a long, ongoing, complicated journey.

It’s an easy mistake to make. Many organizations find themselves simultaneously running up to three significant generations of Windows; XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8, plus one or two way points in between such as Vista and Service Packs. Each one of these comes with slightly different ways to manage standard and administrator accounts. These include the evolving controls in User Account Control (UAC) and related technologies such as XP’s prototype whitelisting Software Restriction Policies (SRP) and 7′s AppLocker.

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Migrating? Put admin rights in the past!

Do you give local administrative rights to all your users?  Or maybe it’s just to the executives or laptop users?  As companies now have under a year to move away from Windows XP, this is the perfect, once-in-a-decade opportunity to make your environment more secure, raise user productivity and make the lives of your support personnel easier.

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How Effective are Your Defenses?

Keeping malware off your network is like a never-ending game of space invaders, except that you need more than one weapon to ward off criminals from cyberspace. But deploying the right security solutions in the right places is crucial if your lines of resistance are to be effective.

A report published in November 2012 by NSS Labs, Cybercrime Kill Chain vs. Defense Effectiveness – subversion of layered security, analyses the effectiveness of security systems, concluding that many attacks successfully penetrate layered security defenses. Network edge firewalls, intrusion protection systems (IPS), endpoint protection suites/antivirus and browser protection, as commonly deployed by large organizations, all fail to live up to expectations.

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Digital usage policies and the ‘new’ desktop

Every admin knows it – written policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

The PC desktop is changing, so fast that what used to confidently be called the ‘desktop’ is undergoing the sort of rapid evolution bound to throw up new and unfamiliar security challenges.

Technological developments such as smartphones, tablets and mobile operating systems can be wheeled out to partly explain this change. However, it is to the humble user rather than computer architectures of network topologies we must pay the closest attention if we are to understand how the business desktop will be reshaped from the ground up over the next decade.

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Software Licensing for Virtual Desktop Infrastructures and Terminal Servers

Many organizations waste thousands every year on unused software licenses. This occurs for a number of reasons, but not least due to the complexity of Microsoft licensing programmes and the need to track license usage across an ever changing IT infrastructure. With the growing popularization of virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs), monitoring license usage has become more challenging as virtual machines (VMs) can be dynamically created for one-off applications, and software installed on-demand from app stores.

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