Orlando Scott-Cowley
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Let the Cloud Relieve Your Legacy Archive Headache

On-premises email and data archives are a growing challenge to organizations looking to reduce costs and management complexity.

Cloud archiving alternatives offer a compelling opportunity to remove the management headaches and deliver a secure, resilient and highly scalable archive service to meet requirements now and in the future. But concerns remain about the ideal migration strategy that balances effective risk management with new business requirements.

That’s why in this new webinar, I’ve teamed up with Gartner research director Alan Dayley to break down the benefits of the cloud over on-premises email archiving. Together, we also explore the key considerations for migrating to the cloud, and look to the future of email archiving in the cloud.

Hybrid or 100% cloud? Should you migrate everything from legacy systems? How do I know if I even need archiving? We explore the key considerations and review what you need to think about regarding data sovereignty.

For customers thinking about moving to Office 365, but concerned about their readiness, we’ll discuss migration strategies. Meanwhile, for those who have already made the move, we’ll discuss how a third party backup archive can make your data in Office 365 fully resilient

There has never been a better time to move archives to the cloud.

Take a look at video here.

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Old World Risk Practice Stays True for Cloud

Using the cloud to improve business agility is de rigueur but how can IT become more agile without sacrificing the information assurance holy trinity of confidentiality, integrity and availability?

My answer to this perceived quandary is based on the oldest risk management principle of all – one of ‘don’t keep all your eggs in one basket’, or more accurately, having two cloud vendors is better than having just one.

It’s a truism to say all clouds have outages, we must accept that fact, this strategy offers recovery options and alternative ways to continue communicating if the primary cloud provider is not available.

It’s a truism to say all clouds have outages, we must accept that fact, this strategy offers recovery options and alternative ways to continue communicating if the primary cloud provider is not available.

This question seems to have been at the root of a recent V3 Agile Business Roundtable.

Moving large workloads and services to the cloud is a major part of most agile business strategies but participants across a wide range of industries shared concerns about the security, reliability and adoption path to cloud computing. BSkyB enterprise architect Trevor Hackett also made the point that “When using a cloud service provider you have a vested interest in the company as if they go bust you face disaster.”

Before trusting sensitive assets to a cloud service provider, decision makers within an organization need a sound basis on which to evaluate the merits of a service offering. This should include an assessment of each Cloud Service Provider’s (CSP’s) service level agreement (SLA) terms, operational framework, architectural model, organizational history, stature within the industry, and the assurances granted to customers.

We have said many times before; reputable cloud service providers will be only too happy to help you understand how they serve and protect you and your data, and the importance of your own due diligence prior to purchase.

Office 365 adoption is a great example of the opportunity to improve agility and reduced cost of ownership with cloud services. But often CIOs don’t want to run the risk of critical business systems like core email services being outside of their immediate control. Email users have zero tolerance for downtime, and demand their connectivity be restored as quickly and painlessly as possible.

With on-premises Exchange, IT managers have choices about how they deal with planned or unplanned outages, and often put in place full disaster recovery and high availability solutions on-site. But with Office 365 that option no longer exists, and for many organizations, the fact that Office 365 is a single point of failure for such a mission critical service is a major concern, and a common roadblock for cloud migration.

But moving to the cloud doesn’t mean you should do away with a multi-vendor, multi-layered security strategy. A blended-cloud approach allows businesses to distribute important data between multiple vendors. It’s a truism to say all clouds have outages, we must accept that fact, this strategy offers recovery options and alternative ways to continue communicating if the primary cloud provider isn’t available. This exercise in risk management also supports smarter procurement by reducing the possibility of vendor lock-in. In short, you would be replicating the multi-point business continuity strategy you’ve built on the LAN, but in the cloud—a concept often overlooked during a cloud migration.

So in the end, a pragmatic approach to risk management on-premises and in the cloud will allow businesses to avoid the greatest risk of all – inaction and stagnation in increasingly agile business practices.

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Protect Against Targeted Attacks Webinar – The Highlights

First of all, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who attended Tuesday’s Mimecast webinar featuring Forrester on ‘Protecting Against Targeted Attacks’.

The interest has been huge, and we’ve made the recording of the session available here. We’ll also be focusing on key themes raised during the session over the coming weeks on this blog.

To start, we thought it would be useful to pull out and reflect on some key quotes from the session.

Recording of Mimecast webinar featuring Forrester on ‘Protecting Against Targeted Attacks’ from September 30th 2014, when practical steps to protect your business were outlined by Rick Holland.

Recording of Mimecast webinar featuring Forrester on ‘Protecting Against Targeted Attacks’ from September 30th 2014, when practical steps to protect your business were outlined by Rick Holland.

Rick Holland, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research:

- ’67% of the espionage cases in organizations involved phishing’ discussing the Verizon ‘2014 Data Breach Investigations Report‘.

- ‘There are two types of phishing vectors – one the malicious attachment…and two, URLs to malicious sites’.

- ‘The average cost of a data breach is $3.5m up 15% from 2013’ discussing the Ponemon Institute ‘2014 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Analysis’ sponsored by IBM. Interestingly, class action law suits of effected customers are part of the calculation and might be a rising trend for organizations to address.

- ‘As it becomes more common for remote workers to operate outside of VPNs (BYOD and BYOC), enterprises must protect the user when they actually click’. ‘Even if users could put something on their mobile device to protect them, they are hesitant from a user experience perspective.’ – this was one of the key points in the session, as traditional approaches to security only protect users on the network and corporate managed devices. It’s important to think beyond this given BYOD and remote working. Protection must be available no matter the device used to access corporate email systems, without increasing the IT overhead or adversely affecting the users’ experience. As Rick suggested, organizations must ‘protect the click’.

- ‘Sometimes the URL isn’t bad at the time of delivery’ the attacker may turn the server over from benign to malicious after the email is sent.’

- ‘URL rewriting is emerging to protect the user…I recommended it as an RFP requirement.’

- ‘Whatever the culture of the organization, use that to (tailor) security training…increasing awareness and propensity to report incidents.’

- ‘(Phishing) is only going to get more and more sophisticated.’- which is why the protection organizations put in place now must be able to stay ahead of the attackers.

Steve Malone, Security Product Manager, Mimecast:

- ‘Phishing is viewed as a technology problem…the usual approach is to add more technology. But the issue is that adding more technology is actually increasing complexity.’ Steve further explained that the most successful approach is two-fold: choosing the right technology coupled with user education.

- ‘As we’ve got better at protecting against these attacks, the attackers have moved the goal posts. We now have to assume all the links in emails are bad.’

- ‘Clean up (post-attack) is generally very difficult and time consuming and the root cause is not addressed.’

- ‘Mimecast’s Targeted Threat Protection addresses advanced attacks in email by rewriting the URLs. It means protection regardless of the device used.’

- ‘We’re building into the service a real-time education component for users.’

It’s clear from the interest and the great questions we received at the end of the presentations that this is a hot topic. The evolution of threats is forcing IT teams to rethink the planning, purchasing and management of their business security systems. In addition, it’s being recognized that in order to stay ahead of the attackers, technology alone is not the answer – the complete solution needs to account for this and train users in a new way.

Please leave a comment or @reply me at @orlando_sc if you’ve any particular areas you want us to cover in our follow up posts.

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Top Priorities for CIOs over the next Year

We’ve come a long way on the timeline of enterprise information security. About ten years ago we’d finally become used to the idea of a second firewall upgrade and were thinking about dedicated security teams and policies that had a reach much farther than just the IT team.

Today, and into the next twelve months, the list of priorities for CIOs and CISOs is far more complex and only bears a passing resemblance to the past.

The future looks far more advanced, from a security perspective, which by right is an accurate reflection of the nature of the threats that we now face. Traditional security technologies are struggling to keep up, and in many ways have seen their day. Today’s shopping list of security tools would include Mobile Device Management (MDM) services, next generation firewalls and threat detection tools as well as new more active types of host anti-virus; altogether more complex and advanced than the types of tools we were buying just a few years ago.

Also on the agenda are the softer, more human components of information security. Compliance tools and processes have never been more important, neither, and perhaps surprisingly for some, are formal enterprise privacy agreements for users. The latter in response to growing privacy concerns driven by major data leakage and snooping scandals, and the former—your staff—being a new frontier for soft security technologies and training, that seek to secure one of the weakest lines of defense in enterprise.

So all things considered, here are my predictions for the types of projects you’ll be seeing this year:

- Cloud identity and authorization: With the rise of cloud based services in the enterprise, IT teams will need to ensure access control requirements are met across all services. Using third party identity and authorization services that integrate with the cloud and on-premise directory services will be essential to enable the use of cloud services that can match your enterprise authentication policies.

Cloud encryption: If not provided by a cloud security vendor already, more CIOs will demand their data be encrypted in the cloud with a separate cloud encryption tool. Public cloud services will be affected most to guarantee the confidentiality of data for the enterprise as CIOs seek to find ways to protect their information regardless of its storage location.

- Formal privacy programs: Privacy is critical to both customer and end user trust in your organization, with the added benefit of helping you comply with local laws and customs. CIOs will be creating privacy protection controls for their sensitive customer data and personal information that balance business enablement with business protection. This is a new concept for many, but as the line between enterprise and personal computing is increasingly unclear, CIOs will need to establish clear boundaries for data access, storage and monitoring.

- Next generation tech: The ‘next generation’ is never well defined, but we know the current generation of technologies is fast being outmoded. Security technology in particular has become easy for attackers to circumvent, so vendors are responding with next generation, more advanced, security solutions. Spear-phishing is a great example – all the most recent high profile attacks have bypassed traditional email security technologies, by the use of very well crafted malicious emails.

- Threat detection and response: Similarly, as threats change and become more stealth we need to address how we detect and respond to them, given the possibility we may not be able to prevent them all. End point and host detection will play a large role in these new projects as businesses look for ways to quickly detect the outbreak of a problem on an end point and seek to lock it down or remote wipe it as quickly as possible.

- Security governance: This has always been a growing part of a CIO’s responsibilities, and we’ll see IT GRC management and ITSM increase as rigor is brought to bear on the IT department, and the buy-in of IT initiatives by the rest of the organization becomes more normal.

- Mobile device management: BYOD has come and gone, or at least embedded itself in our everyday IT policy. Users, not satisfied with your policies being enforced on their personal devices, appear to be much happier with the containerized or compartmentalized use of business data and apps on those devices. Simply letting users bring their devices into your network is no longer acceptable as it once was, controlling the use or your data on their devices is now essential.

- Testing and training: Security training has always been part of our routine for users. Most new users are given a ‘sheep dip’ when they join, and a rare few given ongoing training thereafter. But, as the value of training is diminished by more successful attacks in the face of well trained staff, real-time testing becomes a more viable solution. There are numerous open source tools available to help you socially engineer your staff; we should expect to see these sort of activities being offered as services in the near future, and should take advantage of them – even if you’ve shied away from classic “pen-testing” in the past.