People Who Work Together Will Win

It’s time for an updated security strategy, built on efficiency and automation.

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society.” –Vince Lombardi

Arizona State University football stadium is undergoing a substantial renovation. As with an increasing number of stadiums around the world, the renovation project will add smart building functions to the site. From bathrooms to HVAC, lighting, parking, food concessions, and mobile apps, this is the future of stadiums, shopping malls, office buildings, and other public structures. The Internet of Things is improving operational efficiency for lighting, water, heating and cooling, parking, and other aspects of the building envelope. Employees will immediately know when to restock items, clean restrooms, or deliver food orders. Visitors will have access to interactive maps, food and beverage services, social networking, and entertainment options to enhance their participation at these venues.

All of these functions rely on sensors, controls, displays, and other devices that are connected to networks, which immediately makes them potential vectors for cyberattacks. Change is coming quickly to the IoT space, driven by the desire for convenience and connectedness. When I talk to customers about security, I find that they are mostly struggling to secure their new age clouds and virtual infrastructures, and often still struggling to secure their legacy equipment. Most have difficulty imagining when and how they will be ready to protect an entire building. Yet these IoT deployments are happening faster than most people realize.

Security teams often talk about catching up: catching up to the range of installed devices; catching up to the speed of attacks; catching up to new and emerging threats. What if catching up is not the name of the game?

When trying to win against another team, catching up to their strategy is an approach that usually produces poor results on the scoreboard. It is time for an updated security strategy, built on efficiency and automation. You need to get your entire team to an optimized state of efficiency by automating a large amount of their daily duties. Perfection is not the goal, but you have to start now so that you can continue to add and improve.

Segment your network to isolate different functions, data sets, and especially any devices that could potentially be accessed by externals. Add an analytics platform if you don’t already have one, and use it to inspect your environment for unsecured or vulnerable assets and to monitor ongoing behavior. Now you will be ready to take on new challenges such as IoT lighting or HVAC. If you don’t, the harsh reality of IoT security will slap you in the face.

Whether we are talking about a football team or a security team, Coach Lombardi’s sentiment is on target.

Josh Thurston is a security strategist in the Intel Security Office of the CTO.  In this role, Thurston drives business growth and defines the Intel Security go-to-market strategy for the Americas, creating and communicating innovative solutions for today’s complex … View Full Bio

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