Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Locking down long-time vulnerabilities

Don't worry -- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn't until October, you still have many months to plan that perfect awareness event. But this month we're going to focus on the security topic because you need to be aware of security every month.

Today we're going to talk about two forms of critical security vulnerabilities continue to plague mission critical network infrastructure and account for the majority of related security breaches:
  • Maintaining secure software and configurations | Updating the software on, and configuration of, network and communications devices in the face of constantly evolving security threats
  • Securing Administrative Console Access | Ensuring appropriate and audited access and compliance with policy by the technicians, sometimes employees sometimes not, that you rely on to maintain network and communications gear
When it comes to maintaining securing and updating software and configs, it's an on-going battle that can never ultimately be won. New forms of attack are being developed and new vulnerabilities discovered every day in even the best software. For example in 2013 Cisco alone issued 42 Security Advisories typically recommending configuration changes or software patches.

Network devices that cannot be frequently and easily configured and upgraded cannot be secured. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is a hacker’s dream. (see a previous blog entry, Even it it ain't broke, you might want to fix it.)

When the network goes down users notice and the goals of the enterprise can be severely undermined. Given this, pushing upgrades and making changes to the network, over the network, using centralized tools is extremely risky. Applying upgrades and patches reliably can mean time consuming and expensive site visits, still with the risk of down-time, leading to infrequent change.

Uplogix Configuration and Change Management makes it easy and safe to apply changes and updates to address new threats immediately as they become known. For more key change management capabilities, see the Uplogix website.

For console access, in the heat of the moment when network problems arise, urgency can prevail over security. Break-glass root passwords are issued to empower technicians to console connect to devices and resolve issues, any centralized administrative audit is off-line, and carefully crafted policies intended to protect data are quickly forgotten. This is precisely the circumstance that sets the stage for a serious breach, unintended or not.

Uplogix Local and Out-of-Band Management is console connected to managed devices, simultaneously enhancing technicians’ ability to mount an effective response to issues while ensuring that security and audit is not compromised. By storing encrypted device credentials only on the Uplogix Local Manager, secure, policy compliant and audited administrative access can be ensured with complete logging of all transactions for compliance requirements. For more information on secure administrative access, see the Uplogix website.