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Cybersecurity: How to get your software patching strategy right and keep the hackers at bay



Intel to Windows 10 users: You have patches for 19 severe flaws, use them!
Update Intel Windows graphics drivers, and stop using Intel Matrix Storage Manager and USB 3.0 Creator Utility.

Patching software flaws is often a time-consuming and tedious job, but organisations need to have a clear strategy in place which minimises the potential risks involved with deciding when, or even if, to update vital enterprise systems.

Cyber attackers will regularly look to take advantage of systems that haven’t received the latest security updates by deploying malware with exploits that target those particular flaws. That might be as part of an intentional attack on a particular company, or the organisation could be caught in the cross-fire of a more general attack that takes advantage of a particular exploit. 

For example, WannaCry exploited EternalBlue, a vulnerability that organisations across the globe had yet to patch when the campaign hit in May 2017. If all the organisations affected by the attack had patched their systems when it was issued – rather than ignoring the warnings to to so – it’s likely that WannaCry would have had a much smaller impact.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)  

Working out which systems need to be updated and when is a challenge for tech chiefs.

“There are some things you clearly need to be patching straight away. There may be others where you need to take a really robust analysis and you need to make a decision on this,” said Jonathan Kidd, CISO at Hargreaves Lansdown.

There’s also the issue of some of these patches potentially causing inadvertent issues or disruption when applied – something which may dissuade organisations from applying them, especially to critical business systems.

“Your patching cycle will be driven by the risks on your estate, in some cases, the risk of disruption from installing it can be greater,” Kidd said, speaking during a panel session at Infosecurity Europe 2019 in London.

But for some systems, even the idea of applying a patch can be a challenge – it’s not unknown for some organisations to be running applications and operations they fear taking offline, because they are concerned they may not come back online if updated.

“There are some cyber legacies which can’t be patched where systems are so old they’ve on for 20 years with a note – ‘please don’t touch, because we don’t know what will happen,” said Ewa Pilat, Global CISO for Jaguar Land Rover, although she made it clear this wasn’t an issue for the vehicle manufacturer.

“For these, you can have some additional security controls, but not all systems are patchable, so the risk needs a proper analysis and assessment to decide what, when and how,” she added.

Taking the time to make that assessment can go a long way to determining the ‘crown jewels’ and what action needs to be taken immediately – as opposed to action which can be delayed, or in some cases, not taken – should the system be entirely isolated, for example.

“This is why it’s important to have that risk assessment. If you’ve got a new estate, you should be patching straight away. But if you have legacy systems, you might take a more cautious approach,” said Kidd.

SEE: 10 tips for new cybersecurity pros (free PDF)

However, the IT and security teams must be careful not to rush into these judgements alone: the business must be consulted in order to ensure the best results.

“We have to have engaging conversations with our business partners who understand what’s the most critical business system – because we can’t define business-critical, only the business can define business-critical,” said Bobby Ford, VP & global CISO at Unilever. 

“Once we understand that, we have to prioritize – if we want to be successful as professional security risk managers, we have to be able to prioritize; we cannot secure all systems, so we have to work with the business to identify critical systems and then secure those,” said Ford.


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Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure



Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

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Secure Insight: GigaOm Partners with the CISO Series



Don’t look now, but GigaOm, the analyst firm that enables smart businesses to future-proof their decisions, is forging new partnerships to extend its reach and better inform busy IT decision makers. On Thursday, the company announced it was teaming with the CISO Series to share content and better support the community of chief information security officers, security practitioners, and security vendors.

“The CISO Series is one we have admired for a while because they have a very similar aim: They help security professionals become more knowledgeable and understand how their roles are changing,” said Ben Book, GigaOm founder and CEO. “We saw a clear common interest and are delighted to be working together.”

The CISO Series brand has built a formidable reputation through its podcasts, blogs, video chats, and live events for the security community. It has added the extremely popular CyberSecurity Headlines podcast to its stable this year, which joins the CISO/Security Vendor Relationship and Defense in Depth podcasts. Every Friday at 10am Pacific Time, the CISO Series hosts its highly engaging and fun weekly live CISO Series Video Chat, which viewers can register for here.

The channel partnership connects two of the strongest, fastest-growing brands in enterprise IT content production. The agreement enables the CISO Series to share exclusive GigaOm reports with its audience ahead of publication, while GigaOm is able to share insights from the CISO Series’ various publications through its social channels and newsletters. The CISO Series joins other media firms, such as The Register and SDXCentral, as official GigaOm Channel Partners.

“We are delighted to be working with GigaOm because we’re not only both addressing the same audience, but we’re also both trying to bring education and understanding to both the security vendor and practitioner communities,” said David Spark, managing editor and executive producer at the CISO Series. “GigaOm is providing some excellent reports that we’re leaning on for our discussions and reporting across all of our shows.”

Spark continued: “We are always tweaking our programming to bring the best and most up-to-date resources and we’re really impressed with both the volume and quality GigaOm is delivering. Not only are we impressed with their editorial work, but we also appreciate their business branding. It’s something we felt comfortable about aligning with the CISO Series brand as well.”

Check out the CISO Series schedule at, or visit for more information about the CISO Series and its weekly Video Chats.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating Vulnerability Management Tools



Vulnerability management tools scan your IT estate to help identify and mitigate security risks and weaknesses. These tools can facilitate the development of a more comprehensive vulnerability management program. Leveraging people, processes, and technologies, successful initiatives effectively identify, classify, prioritize, and remediate security threats.

A security vulnerability is a weakness that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of information. Attackers are constantly looking to exploit defects in software code or insecure configurations. Vulnerabilities can exist anywhere in the software stack, from web applications and databases to infrastructure components such as load balancers, firewalls, machine and container images, operating systems, and libraries. This includes code used in the CI/CD pipeline as well as the infrastructure-as-code (IAC) that defines the compute, network, and storage infrastructure.

Recent cybersecurity events have exposed widespread vulnerabilities involving the exploitation of zero-day malware and unknown weaknesses. Threat actors continually discover new exploitation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to take advantage of weaknesses throughout integrated systems. Moreover, identifying breach paths is increasingly complicated due to the widespread adoption of ephemeral services.

Vulnerability management solutions should provide end-to-end visibility of the protect-surface by aggregating both platform and application risks in a single pane of glass, while leveraging prioritized remediation based on business risk and threat context for efficiency. Containerized workloads deployed via DevOps pipelines have unique security requirements that demand a fully integrated vulnerability assessment to be automated into cloud platform services running containerized workloads.

The path to a mature security posture starts with the ability to identify vulnerabilities in software code, third-party libraries, and at runtime. In addition, the cloud platform used to host your applications should be scanned for misconfigurations. This requires the use of policy configuration baselines, benchmarks, and compliance standards that apply to both the infrastructure and the code used to build it. As organizations implement security guardrails early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), they can take advantage of cloud-native culture to ensure network and security tools are used throughout all phases of the SDLC.

This GigaOm report explores the key criteria and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should evaluate when choosing a vulnerability management solution. The key criteria report, together with the GigaOm radar report that evaluates relevant products, provides a framework to help organizations assess the solutions currently available on the market and how these tools fit with their requirements.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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