Everything you know about enterprise security is wrong

Rob Enderle


The obsolescence of enterprise security was at the core of McAfee's talk this week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. The Target breach clearly showcased that you simply can't secure a company by trying to prevent unauthorised access, malware or any other internal or external security breach.

You have to step back and recognise that someone is going to break in and you must therefore focus on catching them before they can do any damage. This is a very different approach to security, and the lessons apply to both home and business and both electronic and physical security approaches. As an older woman who lives near me discovered this week when armed men pushed into her house and stole her safe, a perimeter approach to security is no longer adequate.

McAfee's presentation was so compelling it actually held my wife's interest because she could see how the lessons learned could be applied more broadly to personal defense.

McAfee argued it is in a war-like arms race, and its lead offering, which I spoke about last week ( Threat Intelligence Exchange), is only the start of the first battle.

McAfee Agrees With Blackberry
One of the things I found fascinating about the talk by Mike Fay, McAfee's CTO, was how closely it aligned with what Blackberry has been saying about mobile devices for some time. You can't layer on security anymore. If you want security you have to design it in from the ground up.

If you layer it on, an attacker will just figure out a way to go under the security layer and render it useless. If you think of this in terms of the human body, security is kind of like what you do when someone has a severe immune deficiency. You put them in a bubble and hope nothing penetrates it. The reason we all don't live in bubbles is that our immune system is an integral part of our makeup.

We survive because our bodies have defenses built into them. These anti-bodies can fight a virus or illness that gets inside and can learn over time and immunize us for things that may not have even existed when we were born.

McAfee and Blackberry are on the same page and believe the only way to really get ahead of the security problem is to aggressively design systems that can successfully defend themselves, which is where McAfee is going as it starts working with Intel to make the processors part of the security solution and where Blackberry has been working to assure everything from its phones to its services are designed with security as a key element.

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