Aujas US

An IDG Ventures Company

Aujas Opens New Office in California to Focus on Global Growth

Sameer Shelke, Co-founder, CTO and COO moves to US

Aujas, a global provider of information risk management services, has opened a new office in California as part of the company’s continued geographic expansion. The new office will increase Aujas’ presence in key growth markets and support its global growth strategy. The expanded U.S. presence will allow Aujas to offer its information risk management services to companies across the West Coast.

As a part of this initiative, Sameer Shelke, co-founder, COO and CTO of Aujas has moved to California to work closely with key clients in the region. His focus will be on developing and creating more focused information risk solutions to help companies globally. Sameer will also explore new areas of partnerships and business opportunities across country.

“With an increase in the need for information risk  management services globally, Aujas has been considering ways to serve, partner and engage with local communities to provide solutions. We are very confident  that with our presence in California, we will be able to open up new opportunities and strategic partnerships in the U.S.,” said Sameer.

Joining Sameer in the California office is Ms. Annmarie Papp, who recently joined Aujas as Business Development Manager. She has more than 25 years experience in sales and consulting for technology organizations, and was previously with RSA as the Senior Director of Professional Services. Annmarie has worked with companies such as Symantec Corporation, EMC Corporation, Hitachi Computer Products and has considerable experience in sales,  results-oriented sales management and business development strategies.

“We’re getting a good response from the market and have already signed up many clients on the East Coast. The new California office plus our existing presence in New Jersey will help us work with new clients and partners and establish a higher level support and commitment. We’re delighted that our efforts to expand and reach out to companies seeking help on information security are showing results,” added Karl Kispert, VP of Sales and Business Development.

In an independent survey conducted at CIO & IT Security Forum 2011, companies chose Aujas amongst the top 5 most requested information risk management service providers. With the new office and team, Aujas will be able to reach out to such companies and focus on their information security needs.

About Aujas

Aujas (www.aujas.com) is a global Information Risk Management services company and an IDG Ventures company, part of International Data Group (IDG).  The company’s consultants work with the client’s management teams to align information risk with business initiatives, so that security becomes a business driver and competitive advantage.

Aujas helps clients manage emerging technologies – mobile devices, social media, cloud computing – that are transforming the business environment and posing increasing security challenges.

The company offers global clients:

  • Information risk advisory services
  • Secure development lifecycle services
  • Identity and access management services
  • Managed information risk services
  • Vulnerability management services
  • Mobile, social media and cloud security services

For more information about Aujas services, contact Karl Kispert at karl.kispert@aujas.com or visit http://www.aujas.com.

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June 30, 2011 Posted by | Enterprise Security, information risk management services | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aujas among the Most-Requested Information Risk / IT Security Firms at 2011 CIO & IT Security Forum

For Immediate Release

Jersey City, New Jersey, USA – Senior IT decision makers knew who they wanted to talk to at the May 24-26, 2011 CIO & IT Security Forum – and they wanted to talk to Aujas. The global information risk management company was among the top five most requested suppliers at the Jacksonville, FL, forum. Sameer Shelke, Aujas cofounder and Chief Operations and Technology Officer, and Karl Kispert, Vice President of Sales and Business Development, met one-on-one with close to 50 Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who specifically requested a meeting with Aujas.

“The forum gave us the opportunity to meet with IT security executives and discuss the security issues that were keeping them up at night,” says Karl Kispert. “Phishing and application security are critical issues, and we were able to share with the execs how Aujas can help them manage risk in these areas as well as others.”

The forum, hosted by Richmond Events, is invitation-only for 100 senior IT executives with budget authority. It offers a unique experience for these individuals to get together, debate the big issues and explore collaborative opportunities. “From our perspective, the forum gave us the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with those we are most able to help,” says Kispert.

About Aujas
Aujas is a global Information Risk Management services company and an IDG Ventures funded company. It is headquartered in Bangalore, India, with its US headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Aujas consultants work with the client’s management teams to align information risk with business initiatives, so that security becomes a business driver and competitive advantage. The firm helps clients manage emerging technologies – mobile devices, social media, cloud computing – that are transforming the business environment and posing increasing security challenges.

Aujas offer global clients:
• Information Risk advisory services
• Secure Development Life-cycle services
• Identity and Access Management services
• Managed Information Risk services
• Vulnerability Management services
• Mobile, social media and cloud security services
For more information about Aujas services, contact Karl Kispert at karl.kispert@aujas.com or visit http://www.aujasus.com.

June 20, 2011 Posted by | Enterprise Security, IT security, Phishing, Risk management, Secure code development | , , , , | 1 Comment

Amazon EC2 Failures Are a Wakeup Call for Cloud Customers

Amazon data center crashes

Building Cloud-friendly applications can help your company manage risk and avoid losses when the host's data center crashes

Early in the morning of April 21, Amazon’s EC2 data center in Virginia crashed, bringing down many popular websites, small businesses and social networking sites.

The strange fact is that the outage still ensures that the 99.55% availability as defined in the SLA (Service Level Agreement) is not breached. Let us put aside the other aspects and focus on Cloud services and the new generation of programmers and business who use these services. Though the SLA leads to quite an interesting debate, we will leave that to the legal experts.

More often than not, when we discuss building applications in the Cloud, the basic assumption is that of 24×7 service availability. While Cloud service providers strive to live up to this expectation, the onus of designing a system resilient to failures is on the application architects.  On the other hand, SLA driven approaches are very reactive in nature. In purest sense, SLA’s are just a means of trust between the user and the service provider. The fact is that SLA’s can never repay for losses. It is up to an Architect and CIO to build systems that tolerates such risks (Cloud system failures, connectivity failures, SLA’s, etc).

With Cloud infrastructure, we end up building traditional systems that are so tightly coupled and hosted without taking advantages of the availability factor. These shortcomings maybe part and parcel of software world where functionality takes precedence over all other aspects, but such tolerance cannot be expected in the Cloud paradigm. A failure on part of the Cloud service provider will bring down the business and getting back the data becomes a nightmare when all the affected businesses are trying to do the same.

Accommodating and managing these factors are the business risks, which need to be identified. Businesses that do not envision these risks are sure to suffer large scale losses. The truth is that building such resilient systems is not very complex task. The basics of all software principles have remained same whether they are built for Cloud or enterprise-owned hardware. Mitigating as many risks as possible requires that several basic designs and business decisions be made – while considering the software provider – such as:

  • Loosely couple the application
  • Make sure the application follows “Separation of Concerns”
  • Distribute the applications
  • Backup application & user data
  • Setup DR sites with a different Cloud service provider

These decisions involve software that follows these basic designs and business decision managers who identify various service providers to mitigate such risks. Cloud service will enforce a thinking among the business managers that availability should not and cannot be taken for granted.

These failures will not stop the adoption to Cloud but will make the customers aware of the potential risks and mitigation plans. The Cloud failure will have serious impact on the CTO/ CIO and the operations head. In a non-Cloud model, a CIO’s role has been noted as very limited. The interaction of the CIO with a CTO in the everyday business is much less. These two executives need to work more closely to protect the business and reduce risk.

The best practices for the Cloud application builders are:

  • Build Cloud applications, not applications in the Cloud
  • Design fault tolerant systems, wherein nothing fails
  • Design for scalability
  • Loosely couple application stacks (IOC)
  • Design for dynamism
  • Design distributed
  • Build security into every component

The best practices are necessary for all the architects who build Cloud applications. Do not simply port a traditional application to the Cloud. They are architecturally different and will not take advantage of the underlying services – and most often – will result in failure.

Remember “Everything fails, all the time.” It is time to think and manage risks and not let the SLA stare at you when you are losing business. Be proactive; build Cloud-friendly applications.

The new world on Cloud looks more promising than ever. However, failures can make us realize that functionality without proper foundation and thought process can have serious repercussions. It is essential for every business to review their risks and redefine their new perimeter in the Cloud.

For more information on how Team Aujas is assisting clients with security risk in the Cloud, please contact Karl Kispert, our Vice President of Sales. He can be reached at karl.kispert@aujas.com or 201.633.4745.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Cloud Security, Data Losss Prevention, Data protection, IT security | , , , , , | Comments Off on Amazon EC2 Failures Are a Wakeup Call for Cloud Customers

Data-Breach Risk Is Not Only from Insider Threats

Data Breach Risk

Consider the threats and risks involved when you share data outside your company.

There’s a very large push within the last few years for many organizations to spend their data protection efforts mainly on the “Insider Threat” – the employee or temp with access who decides to misuse or abuse those privileges. While this needs to be addressed; it is possible that some of us may be losing sight of what may be happening on the outside.

The question to consider is: “What about the critical data assets businesses willingly send out to external organizations?”

Delivering data to external parties is, after all, a necessary part of doing business. A bank, for instance, needs to share information with auditors, regulators, suppliers, vendors, and partners. Sharing data is quite a risky activity, with an elevated probability of data loss, and can potentially have a huge negative impact on a firm’s reputation, when not properly controlled.

Here’s what you need to consider when you share data outside your company:

  • Threats

–    What or who is placing the data at risk?

–    The data, as it flows externally from your firms’ environment, is subject to many threats ranging from man-in-the-middle attacks while in transit, to social engineering hacks while stored at the 3rd party’s network.

  • Risks

–    The threats mentioned above create serious risks around a firm’s critical data assets. One is the obvious loss or breach of confidentiality or data. If your firm doesn’t have the proper data transmission controls, such as TLS, SSL or sFTP, the man-in-the-middle threat can successfully materialize the risk of data loss.

–    Such loss can then compound the risks and impact to an organization or entity, via such things as revenue loss, negative reputation, remediation cost, customer notification expense, and loss of client trust.

  • Security Controls

–    The set of controls to consider for countering threats and mitigating risks are not only those pertaining to electronic data protection, such as software/hardware encryption.

–    Think beyond technology – to Social, Governance, Operational and Process controls, to protect against such things as Social Engineering and to ensure other factors are in place including Password Policy, User-Access/Entitlements processes and Data-Security Awareness activities.

The bottom line is that once your firm’s information leaves its own environment, most of the controls you had no longer apply. Your firm’s data is now sitting on a third party’s infrastructure, and is now dependent on their data security controls and processes. This isn’t just about whether the data is being encrypted in transit to the third party, but very much about how that data is safeguarded all throughout its lifecycle. Here are some relevant questions to ask:

  • Have the proper Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure agreements been executed with the third party receiving the data from your firm?
  • Who and how many people will have access to your data while sitting out at a third party?
  • Do you know the third party’s process for giving only the limited and necessary group of people in their environment access to your data? What about the access rights to people outside their organization (such as their partners or vendors)?
    • How are the servers and firewalls at the third party configured to adequately protect your data while in their environment?
    • Does the party receiving the data have the technology and processes in place to respond to and sufficiently investigate a data-loss incident?

These are only a handful of many questions to ask before sharing sensitive information. You also need to take into account various perspectives including technological, operational and process controls.

As an example, a bank business manager decides one day to send the firm’s tax data to their CPA via plaintext email, instead of the approved sFTP or PGP encrypted email transmissions. The email is intercepted at the CPA’s ISP mail server. A rogue administrator at the ISP sees the email with critical valuable data and uses it to tap into the bank’s equity funds to steal $1.2 million.

Per the Open Security Foundation’s DataLossDB (http://datalossdb.org/statistics ) data loss statistics for YTD 2011:

“…a trend that indicates that data loss incidents involving third parties, on average, result in a greater number of records lost than incidents that do not involve third parties. This may be as a result of the type of data handled by third parties, the process of transferring the data between organizations, or other hypothesis, mostly all speculative as little data exists to establish one cause as dominant. The trend is, however, concerning.”

In the end this supports the fact that the riskiest environment for data is one that is not controlled by the enterprise owning that data. Though an insider with the access and intent can cause havoc with data on the inside, the enterprise should be able to implement the proper technical, process and operational/people controls to safeguard its own data. It is when the data leaves that environment where we’re truly no longer in control. That’s when the proper audits, interrogations and testing will assist as much possible.

Concerned about the external risks your company is facing? Let Aujas help. Contact Karl Kispert, Aujas VP of Business Development, at karl.kispert@aujas.com.

April 1, 2011 Posted by | Cyber Crime, Data governance, Data Leak Prevention, Data protection, IT security, Risk management | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cloud Computing – Security Threats and More…

Privacy and security in the CloudCompanies that struggle to maintain their IT infrastructure often look to cloud computing to provide a significant cost savings. However, you must look into the clouds and understand what risks are swirling around when it comes to storing your data.

In a recent survey by CIO Research, respondents rated their greatest concerns about cloud adoption. Security was their top concern, with loss of control over data number two:

  • Security  45%
  • Loss of control over data  26%
  • Integrations with existing systems 26%
  • Availability concerns 25%
  • Performance issues 24%
  • IT governance issues 19%
  • Regulatory/compliance concerns 19%
  • Dissatisfaction with vendor 12%
  • Ability to bring systems back in 11%
  • Lack of customization opportunities 11%
  • Measuring ROI 11%
  • Not sure 7%

Is there security in the cloud?
Security is often an afterthought for cloud service providers. It isn’t built into their applications and is often added as a plug-in. What’s more, if a cloud storage system crashes, millions and millions pieces of information can be lost, often in spite of backup procedures.  In contrast, when we are in the thick client world, the information that is lost can be more easily tracked by the number of PCs or notebooks affected or stolen.

How different should security be in the cloud world?
Business technologies may change, but security fundamentals and lessons learned are still applicable. Some areas to consider for the cloud:

Physical security is a must for any strong security program. The data centre should have a high level of physical security. If sensitive data is being stored, consider deploying biometrics, surveillance camera monitored by professionals, and very stringent policies for physical access to the system.

Authentication is crucial, whether cloud or corporate individual network authentication will remain the same. Given the processing power of the cloud, you may choose to implement two-factor authentication, one-time passwords or other authentication tools. In spite of a highly secured processing environment, a weak password has the potential to ruin other safeguards. Maintaining password standards is a must.

Access rights are critical for all the objects inside the cloud. This part of the security will not change in the user’s point of view. There are some levels of changes required to manage multiple corporate accesses inside the single cloud service provider’s organization.

Strong firewalls are another integral part of today’s security. Even in the cloud, the same rule applies: cloud clients should secure their own networks. The only advantage is they have less information to be secured within their network. The cloud service provider should secure their network with firewalls.

Data integrity is one of the key aspects in security. Today for example, it’s hard for every notebook to implement a cryptographic checksum or hash. But in cloud service this could become commonplace.

Security threats in the cloud

Security threats can come in all forms; let’s consider some of them here.  In the cloud-based service, the provider decides where your data is stored and how your data is accessed. If your provider offers virtual boxes, a mischievous user can gain control over a virtual box, attack your data and exploit it. Another security threat in cloud computing is the attack on the perimeter of the cloud. This may be a simple ping sweep to DoS. A cloud service provider must ensure the data of each company is properly isolated and partitioned, if not, data leakage can be expected.

Another important factor that has to be addressed in the cloud world is the privileges of the power user. How do we handle the administrators and data access? The administrator’s rights are not part of the customer anymore; it is part of the cloud service provider. There should be clear transparency and access records to prevent any misuse by an administrator.

Implementing security in the cloud environment is different than what we are used to in a traditional environment.  However, remembering the fundamentals of information risk management and lessons learned along with an understanding of cloud provider risks, may help you to weather the storms looming in a dark Cloud.

Why should the cloud customer implement security?

Though the cloud promises high security, it’s essential for the cloud customer to implement their own security and maintain standards. An unsecured customer network will attract hackers and is an easy entrance to the cloud.

Data transfer between the cloud service provider and customer should be on a secured connection and the customer should take necessary steps to secure his network from attacks such as the Man in the Middle (MITM).

The applications hosted on the customer network should also be secured. Customers using the cloud to deploy applications should ensure that their software is secured. Unsecured applications can be dangerous for both the cloud service provider and customer.

Cloud security can help a little if there is a vulnerable system unmaintained or not patched.

Virus attacks are not going to change in-spite of moving your data into the cloud.

How can you do business securely over the cloud?

Before you decide to buy a cloud service, go security shopping. We always bargain based on price, but that is not enough here. You need to bargain for security rights, transparency and privacy.

The legal agreement is the first level of security that you will always require, no matter where you do business. A well prepared agreement can provide all the legal benefits over your data in the cloud. Make sure to include the ownership of the following:

  • Data
  • Data backups
  • Log files

Your day-to-day business runs with the help of data. It’s essential that the cloud service provider shows transparency in his data centre location, physical security, containment measures, and time taken to recover in case of any catastrophe.

End-to-end encryption is must in cloud computing to ensure the security of data transfer. The customer should require this capability from the provider.

Authentication and proper access rights must also be secured. Given that you can access the applications in cloud from anywhere, it’s essential to block the entire user account for former employees. This has to be an integral part of the customer’s HR policies.

Patch management is also very important. Though cloud acts like a versionless world, it is essential that the service provider either informs you about the patches required to access his network or provide automatic patch management. If you use third party clients to access the customer application, you should ensure that these clients are up-to-date with security-related patches.

You should also require log analysis reports, user accounts and privileges reports, uptime/downtime reports, and penetration test/vulnerability assessment reports from the service provider on a regular basis. To ensure more transparency, require that these reports be provided by a third party security company. You should also demand real time security alerts from the service provider.

The last level of security that is often exploited is the application security. How secure is the cloud service provider’s application? There is no real way of knowing it. There are third party security companies and tools available to certify application security. This should be done on a routine rather than a one-off basis.

Social engineering is another threat that has to be addressed. It is essential for the cloud service provider and customer to be aware of such threats and educate their employees.

Phishing attack will also target the cloud consumers. Strong phishing filters should be deployed.

You will also want to involve third party security companies as partners to verify the cloud service provider’s security policies and verify his reports.

Summary

Security should be built as an integral part of the cloud. This is a must for the cloud service provider to gain trust from their customers. Gaining customer trust is the key to winning the cloud service game. Security is an ongoing measure to protect and deal with everyday threats. No matter where you do business you should secure yourself with the best practices.

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Cloud Security, Data Losss Prevention, IT security | , , , | Leave a comment

Security Breaches Continue to Grow

Identity TheftWhat do Tulane University, South Carolina State Employee Insurance Program, National Guard Headquarters – Santa Fe NM, BlueCross/BlueShield –Michigan, Seacoast Radiology, and University of Connecticut -HuskyDirect.com have in common?  They were just a few of the companies that reported security breaches in January 2011.

Information management is critically important to all of us – as employees and consumers. For that reason, the Identity Theft Resource Center has been tracking security breaches since 2005, looking for patterns, new trends and any information that may better help us protect data and assist companies in their activities.

In prior issues of Risky Business, I posted this brief article and supporting statistics about security breaches.  I was curious to see how the data changed.  You can see for yourself below in the last line.

The following data was collected from Identity Theft Resource Center® website idtheftcenter.org and refers to the number of total data breaches that were reported with an estimate of how many records were exposed:

2005 Breach List: Breaches: 157 Exposed: 66,853,201
2006 Breach List: Breaches: 321 Exposed: 19,137,844
2007 Breach List: Breaches: 446 Exposed: 127,717,024
2008 Breach List: Breaches: 656 Exposed: 35,691,255
2009 Breach List: Breaches: 498 Exposed: 222,477,043

2010 Breach List: Breaches: 662 Exposed: 16,167,542

You must understand that the majority of the reported breaches do not reveal the actual number of exposed records so therefore the number is MUCH larger than what is listed here.

Your call to action is to ensure your Information Risk Management Program is as secure as you think it is and as secure as your stakeholders, customers, Board of Director’s believe it to be.  Aujas is helping organizations manage risk and enhance information value with practical, innovative solutions!

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Data Losss Prevention, Identity Theft, IT security | , , | Leave a comment

5 Hot Topics in Information Security for 2011

Hot topics in information securityAccording to the Aujas information security experts, these are the five crucial security topics that should be on the radar for business executives in 2011:

Data Governance and Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) – Some executives believe their employees know exactly what data should be protected and what data can be shared via website, conversation or social media.  These executives have a false sense of security. Many companies still do not have a strong data classification program or policy in place to educate employees on what is critical to an organization and what is not.  Some execs may also think that having a DLP tool and plugging it in is the answer. That’s like plugging in a power saw and saying you can build a house! Having a tool and knowing how to use it effectively are two different things.

Tip: Find a champion to drive your data governance and loss prevention initiative.  If your company has a CISO, this person is the most logical one to take on this role. If not, you can assemble a small team of stakeholders to work with guidance from a third party who specializes in information risk management.

Application Security – With so many applications being developed and used in companies of all sizes, some are being created without security in mind.  Some technology companies have a need to be the first on the street with a new application and are bypassing Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) protocol. They are thinking about security after the application is released and, sadly, are finding that they are spending more money to fix the application.

Tip: First perform a penetration assessment on your company’s critical applications to identify vulnerabilities. Then be proactive!  Create a framework in which security is part of the SDL.

 Social Media – The intentional and unintentional release of sensitive information via Facebook, Twitter, etc. can affect your company’s bottom line.  Your intellectual property may wind up on an underground website or, if your secrets are shared with the world, you may not be first to market with your new product or service. 

Tip: You don’t need to declare social media off limits to your employees. It is an important business tool that is not going away.  You do, however, need to understand the risks of social media, and make users aware.

 Cyber Security – Over the past year, more organizations have come to understand that there is a very real cyber security threat in the US and that the US Government cannot take care of every threat-related issue. Your company needs to develop a strong internal and external security programs to protect it.

Tip: Putting in place a robust information risk management (IRM) program is essential so that your stakeholders understand the people, process and technology risks and how they can affect your access, availability, and agility to conduct business.

Phishing – Hackers continue to use phishing, a type of social engineering, to solicit information from individuals.  Though the incidents of phishing were down in the second half of 2010, the attacks continue to get more and more sophisticated. 

 Tip: Perform a phishing diagnostic so that you are aware of the threat, specifically who in your organization is susceptible to this type of attack.

Aujas can help your company manage risk from these threats. Contact Karl Kispert, our Vice President of Sales, to learn more. He can be reached at karl.kispert@aujas.com or 201.633.4745.

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Data Leak Prevention, IT security, Phishing, Risk management, SDL, Social Engineering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aujas and RSA 2011 – Come by Our Booth

Visit Aujas at RSA

Aujas is exhibiting at the upcoming RSA Conference on February 14 – 18, 2011 in San Francisco. This is an opportunity for Aujas to expand its knowledge and increase its network of industry peers and influencers. 

Please stop by booth number 343 to say hello and discuss Information Risk Management topics with Aujas co-founder Sameer Shelke and Vice President of Sales Karl Kispert.

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Enterprise Security, IT security, Risk management | , | Leave a comment

Information Risk Management and M+As Part 2

M+A and business data accessPart 2 Implications- Unavailability of business critical applications preventing access to business data.

Approach

Organizations undergoing merger face challenges during integration in managing costs and risks and in providing long-term business value. Failure to address risks and appropriate control around IT security may escalate costs and incur higher risks.

To ensure that organizations achieve the maximum benefit during systems integration, an effective approach is to:

  • Involve IT security, audit and compliance professionals early in the integration planning along with the business owners. Our experience is that this generally a reactive effort.
  • Create an Integration team that involves people with prior M&A experience working closely with the IT Integration, IT Security and Compliance teams.
  • Focus early on IT security, risk and control along with IT integration to save cost and time while minimizing risk.

The multidisciplinary team will be better equipped to make informed decisions and move towards realistic targets of integrating people, processes and technology and minimize risk.

Though from an SOX compliance perspective , the SEC does allow organizations acquiring a company to take advantage of a one-year waiver to assess the internal control of the acquiring company, early focus on compliance while integrating IT systems, processes and people will help the combined entity to reduce the cost of compliance and minimize risk.

For the four challenges identified above, this is our approach:

1.      To address compliance requirements and establish effective and efficient internal control and risk environment for the combined entity 

  • Identify key risk and control owners for the combined entity.
  • Engage experienced finance and audit personnel for maintaining compliance during transition
  • Perform a top-down risk assessment to identify the risk profile of the combined entity and gaps existing in the risk and control environment
  • Develop a remediation work stream to fix deficiencies
  • Determine which entity’s compliance processes are the most efficient, or what needs to be modified to form a new compliance process
  • As units, functions, geographies, and processes merge, remove redundant controls, while keeping key controls to address the risks
  • Develop risk-based test plans that direct effort and resources to the controls that are related to the highest levels of risks

 

2.      To manage access rights for employees, customers, affiliates and third parties in an integrated environment

From an access management perspective, a merger brings multiple users, applications and legacy systems to be integrated for simple, faster and secure access to data. During a merger, various applications are consolidated, restructured or rebuilt and managing appropriate access to the information resource is a challenge. Security issues related to unauthorized access to data, information leakage, and regulatory requirements for protecting privacy of personnel information, need appropriate access management:

  • Inventory all regulatory requirements for access control and normalize them to get the common regulatory requirements for data access
  • Derive access policy for employees, customers, affiliates, and third parties for the combined entity
  • Identify all the applications that need to be consolidated on Day One (e.g., ERP, email system, customer portal, payroll) and the access requirements for the data in the respective applications
  • Ensure a common account termination process is in place as rogue accounts pose serious risks to business data
  • Plan and implement the unified strategy for the combined entity for data access during transition and after Day One

 

3.      Addressing privacy requirements of the combined entity 

  • Develop an integrated privacy compliance strategy for the combined entity
  • Evaluate business processes for potential high risk privacy areas
  • Develop and implement the privacy program strategy, components, policies, standards and procedures
  • Design and establish a privacy organization to govern privacy program operations
  • Develop and deploy a set of rationalized privacy controls and privacy operational processes
  • Establish privacy training, communication and awareness processes

 

4.      To manage business continuity during transition phase while integrating different IT systems, operations and people  

  • Identify the business critical applications and data for both the entities
  • Develop change control and fallback procedures for the business critical applications
  • Create an incident response plan
  • Identify people involved in change management, incident response and emergency changes and ensure their availability as per the plan with contact details.
  • Develop a communication plan

 Conclusion

In today’s environment of public scrutiny, companies cannot afford non-compliance with privacy and regulatory requirements, nor to have an event because of inappropriate access. While some companies have included compliance in their 10K as a key risk after M&A transactions, there are ways to avoid public scrutiny and minimize risk of non-compliance.

So, how do you know that the M&A process includes all the right steps to address Compliance, Risk and IT Security?

  • Plan early
  • Execute as standard post-merger integration activities
  • Address all components of Risk, Security and Control
  • Monitor and evaluate throughout the process

November 22, 2010 Posted by | Mergers and Acquisitions | , , | Leave a comment

Identity and Access Management – This must be your project, not your partners’!

Lessons Learned

Identity and Access RiskHaving been through numerous Identity and Access Management (IAM) implementations, we see two common denominators in terms of customer expectations that rear their ugly heads rather frequently:

  1. Let’s integrate everything that we have, and
  2. Let’s do it all at once

One can understand the excitement we all go through when we contemplate having a solution that allows us link so many applications, streamline processes with workflow automation and synchronize attributes across the board. While that excitement is infectious and contagious, the sound voice of reason must be heard and listened to.

It is natural for you to want to do as much as you can with a product, and it is human to want all of it done yesterday. Hence, the onus lies on the domain experts to work closely with customers (as partners, not vendors) and plan out a deployment that gives the customers the most results as soon as possible and additional benefits over subsequent phases.

The “good” partner helps the customer prioritize their needs and requirements, and establish plans to achieve those objectives over phases. Strong project management and planning are the keys to a successful IAM program. The products from various vendors are unlike those of 5 years ago, they are now mature, stable and scale exceptionally well, unless hacked to death to fulfil a few exotic requirements.

We cannot lose sight of the top benefits of having a robust IAM program toa company:

  1. IT systems and applications are constantly compliant with a variety of regulations, there are few gaps in access recertification
  2. Processes and access governance have been streamlined – business demands, business approves, and business gets – with minimal or no IT intervention
  3. Password reset is automated and secure, and helpdesk costs are under control
  4. Peace of mind

 

So next time you want to know whose side the “partner” is on, throw a plan too ambitious at them. While most will try to give you what you demand, you will know during the course of their approach whose interests they have in mind, yours or their own.  After all, it is your project and responsibility.

November 22, 2010 Posted by | identity and access management, Identity Theft, IT security, Risk management | , , , | Leave a comment