While reading Ruchir Sharma’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Nations’, I came across two interestingly coined terms – ‘anchoring bias’ and ‘confirmation bias’.
Anchoring bias is the tendency to believe good times will last forever. Confirmation bias is the tendency to collect only the data that confirms one’s existing beliefs. The book tries to convey the idea from a global economy perspective, where you should identify signs and be attentive to sniff the hidden and not-so-obvious signals.
Now, you may think, why am I saying all this, and what is its relevance to privileged access security? Let me explain.
Anchoring Bias in the Privileged Access Security Context
Often, in an enterprise setting, when a team implements a security solution, there arises a tendency for the team to believe that the solution can block hackers and bring compliance – this ever so slightly tends to the anchoring bias concept. In addition, the team would also tend to think they have covered all possible areas of cyberattacks and reduced attack surface.
However, the reality is so long as an enterprise has critical assets, there will be attackers conspiring with their attack vectors.
Cybersecurity, in general, is never about “happily ever after”. It is a continuous process. It is a well-known fact that cyber attackers are inevitable. And it is up to the security team to ensure that they don’t get into the anchoring bias but instead strive to keep fixing vulnerabilities.
Similarly, you have evaluated and implemented a privileged access security product for your infrastructure and critical assets. But does that end there? Are you monitoring how the product has been implemented in line with your user or future architectural requirements? Are you on top of all the product capabilities, and which capability is of paramount priority for your user access? Are you assessing the adoption and usage of the product among all privileged users?
Answers to these questions will guide you to an important decision for 2018 – the Re-evaluation of existing products.
Confirmation Bias in the Privileged Access Security Context
Let’s evaluate confirmation bias in the context of privileged access security.
How to ensure that you are finding the correct vulnerabilities and not missing out on any critical weak points? Are you likely to be the victim of confirmation bias?
You are a security expert. You have analyzed historical patterns, identified and zeroed in on the different types of attacks, and even predicted the kind of alleged attacks. Yet, there is a 0.1% chance that you may have given in to confirmation bias by only collecting enough data to analyze historical patterns and your predictions and beliefs of why past attacks happened and why some are predicted to happen. Based on this, you have identified and protected critical privileged accounts.
But have you identified all the critical devices in your infrastructure (on-premise and cloud) stack? Have you accurately mapped all the privileged accounts associated with these devices?
You may have considered all your internal privileged users. But what about external users such as third-party vendors & remote users?
It is the age of remote users. Even internal users today can be considered remote users (courtesy of trends such as BYOD & offshore outsourcing). It has therefore become imperative today to focus on securing remote privileged access. Often, for collaborative activities to be facilitated for remote users, additional privileged accounts are created – sometimes known, in most cases unknown and unaccounted for, exposing security gaps for cyber attackers to leverage.
This leaves you thinking that your privileged user security goal for 2018 should be a renewed collaboration-based privileged access security.
Prioritize Privileged Access Security
It is recommended that you prioritize securing the Remote aspects of every privileged User. The goal is to understand your infrastructure’s in and out, including critical devices and users, and analyze all possible vulnerabilities and weak points.
How Can Sectona Help?
At Sectona, we have engineered an advanced Privileged Access Management (PAM). We have developed a unique cross-platform and collaborative PAM suite for enterprises and service providers of any size and scale. We are equipped to help you stay ahead of the curve from the PAM perspective with our renewed PAM approach. Check out our Sectona Privileged Access Management to learn more about our products.