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      • Bridging the Gap between IT and the Business with Next Generation Cloud Security

        Mar 18 2015, 11:16 AM

        by Mike Smart 0

        To those of us that have been brought up in the world of IT, there is nothing scarier than users and lines of business choosing and deploying their own IT.  We’ve labeled it ‘Shadow IT’ because it’s technology that is used in the dark, without the knowledge of the IT Department.

        But actually, to the user or the line of business, it’s just innovation. The typically risk-averse IT departments are all about mitigating risk; after all we’ve deployed Anti-Virus, Intrusion Prevention technologies to mitigate the risk of viruses and intrusions. This attitude of preventing risk is making us unpopular and irrelevant to the business, and this is why they often choose to bypass the IT procurement process.

        The fact is, users are more mobile than ever, and are comfortable taking corporate data and storing it on mobile devices or cloud storage applications all in the name of innovation and increased productivity.  Perhaps those of us in IT should find a way to embrace this and at the same time protect the business without imposing impractical policies and process.

        To help you bridge the gap, and allow users and the business to adopt flexible working practices that drive innovation through the adoption of mobility, cloud based systems and infrastructure, Symantec has released Identity: Access Manager.  Symantec™ Identity: Access Manager is a next generation access control platform that offers users and administrators control, convenience, and compliance for cloud-based applications.

        Access manager starts by using Symantec Validation and ID Protection (VIP) and Symantec Managed PKI to bring integrated single sign-on (SSO) and strong authentication to mobile devices. With Access Manager, users can login one-time using a password, PIN, or even a fingerprint to safely access all of their cloud apps and information. This helps secure mobile devices by eliminating bad password practices and gives your users fast, easy access to the resources they need.

        Also, Access Manager provides flexible, easy-to-create connectors and unified identity and context-based access control for virtually any cloud app or service, which means you can enforce your security and compliance policies, log your activities to stay compliant, and ultimately turn those rogue apps into legitimate productivity tools.

        Access Manager is every bit as flexible as it is powerful. You can choose to deploy it on-premise or in the cloud, depending on the needs of your organization. And because Access Manager integrates seamlessly with your existing infrastructure, it reduces complexity by providing a convenient central point for managing all of your different user directories.

        In summary, there are five good reasons to try Symantec Identity: Access Manager in your environment:

        • Ensures control, convenience, and compliance for public and private cloud applications
        • Enhances security with strong authentication and identity/context-based access control
        • Streamlines compliance auditing by consolidating access logs for protected users and applications
        • Boosts users’ productivity with Single Sign-On – one password grants access to all apps
        • Offers flexible deployment options, choose from on-premise or hosted service

        If you want to find out more, visit our home page here:

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      • Let’ not Talk About PHI for a Moment, let’s Talk about Intellectual Property

        Aug 30 2014, 3:03 PM

        by Axel Wirth 0

        Why this post?

        Over the past few months we have seen a number of reports on breaches of healthcare organizations and medical device manufacturers where the suspected or documented target was intellectual property data related to medical devices.  Some of these recent cases have received wide press coverage.

        As a result, the FBI has issued a warning to US healthcare companies that they may be the target of further cyberattacks (FBI warns healthcare firms they are targeted by hackers). The document indicated that several companies in the sector had been targeted and intellectual property, rather than personal data or PHI, may be the main target of the attacks.

        "These actors have also been seen targeting multiple companies in the healthcare and medical device industry typically targeting valuable intellectual property, such as medical device and equipment development data" (FBI)

        It is suspected that nation states and/or well-organized cybercrime organizations are behind these highly sophisticated and well-executed attacks. This is in line with a trend cybersecurity experts have been observing for a number of years – the trend towards politically and financially motivated attacks executed with unprecedented degree of stealth, determination, and precision.

        In other words, cybersecurity is not what it used to be. Not by a long shot.

        What it means for the Healthcare Industry

        The healthcare industry has traditionally underinvested in security, yet at the same time we have seen breaches and attacks increase. Hackers focus on healthcare institutions because they are perceived as the easier target compared to other industries. We have seen focus on patient demographic information (i.e. identities), personal identifiers (social security, insurance, or medical record numbers), and medical data (PHI).

        We have seen data being stolen for the purpose of financial or medical identity theft, insurance fraud, sale of information on the underground marketplace, blackmailing of patients, financial gain, and ransoming of healthcare providers. And now we can add to that list corporate espionage and intellectual property theft.

        The recent attacks and breaches highlight the risk of companies in the medial device, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as their medical research and clinical trial partners – i.e. the hospitals and clinicians they are cooperating with. This does move the discussion to another, higher and very concerning level.

        The security industry has, for the past years, developed the concept of “Defense in Depth” … meaning that security as a point solution is no longer good enough. Not only do we need security across all layers, those security layers need to be integrated to allow reliable detection, coordinated defense, and efficient response.

        As cyber criminals are getting better, we need to up our game, too. Unfortunately, the bad guys need to be right only once, we need to be right every time. Hence, we have developed concepts of layered security, defense in depth, edge to endpoint, and lastly the importance of selecting the right security partner.

        Symantec can help you to protect your infrastructure and information on all levels through:

        • Endpoint Security: Symantec Endpoint Protection, Mobile Security Solutions, and specific solutions for mission critical systems (e.g. servers hosting clinical research and other intellectual property data) or difficult to protect and patch systems (e.g. COTS-based medical devices).
        • Data Loss Prevention: to understand data location, data access and usage so to allow for the appropriate protection of such data.
        • Encryption: to protect critical information on endpoints, fileshares, in email, or data being transmitted.
        • Altiris IT Infrastructure Management: to discover IT assets, assess IT compliance, identify vulnerable systems, and manage configuration, patching, and upgrades.
        • Validation and ID Protection Services: to enable strong (two factor) authentication and reduce the risk external access channels being exploited.
        • Symantec Web Gateway: Backed by Symantec Global Intelligence Network, it provides multiple layers of malware protection and URL filtering, securing web access and detecting malware related traffic.
        • Symantec Mail Gateway or Hosted Email Services: to block email-based malware or spam and reduce the risk of phishing attacks.
        • Security advisory, implementation, assessment and consultancy services.
        • Security Education: to make sure your employees understands today’s security threats and their obligation to prevent e.g. spear-phishing attacks.
        • Managed Security Services: Defend against today’s sophisticated cyber threats, accelerate detection, and optimize response to relevant security events.

        Large breaches can be costly and result in fines, remediation costs, class action lawsuits, loss of reputation and trust, and can affect your business and market opportunity if intellectual property is affected.

        As a security professional, that makes me wonder if not paying attention to what is happening in cybersecurity today, not understanding the changing threat landscape, and not being prepared for modern threats could be considered 'willful neglect'?

        Conclusion:

        Traditionally, lost or stolen equipment (laptops, thumb drives, backup tapes) were the biggest breach risk in healthcare, and looking at some of the breach statistics, we are still struggling to prevent. Yet, in reality, the bad guys are stepping up their game rapidly and healthcare is now in the crosshair, leading to a growing gap between threats and the industry's security capabilities.

        The paradigm is shifting and we need to be ready to deal with these new risks now, not at some point in the future. In a recent interview, John Halamka, CIO Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, stated that: “to guard against hackers, health care CIOs are investing in security like never before.”

        We have to - the gap is getting bigger as I am writing this.

        For a further discussion on healthcare breaches, see also Kevin Haley's blog post here: Responding to Data Breaches in the Healthcare Industry

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