Central Intelligence

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mircette available in canada There have been some frightening stats recently reporting how almost 50% of information security breaches involve internal users. We’re used to protecting against external threats, but now it looks like enterprises are being attacked from all sides.

cost of midamor How do we defend against an enemy that is already inside the gates? How do we keep a close eye on our own users, the vast majority of whom are have no ill intent?

nexium germany This problem isn’t new, and there have been many interesting solutions over the centuries, most of them involving some form of surveillance.

Big Brother

cyclosporine eye drops for dogs price In 1791, the social theorist Jeremiah Bentham came up with a revolutionary idea to ensure complete surveillance of prison inmates with a minimum of prison guards.

penegra 50 price in india His innovation involved building all of the prison cells in an array around a central guard tower. The cells had open aspects to the tower, meaning that the inside of each cell was visible to the guard tower. The tower itself used opaque glass, meaning that guards could see all of the inmates’ activities, but the inmates couldn’t see the guards.

He called his design ‘ telma retarder price The Panopticon‘.

British prisons in the 18th and 19th centuries were grim places. The prevailing sentiment was that prison was for punishment and deterrence, rather than rehabilitation. This meant that inmates were not inclined to behave themselves, and quite often prison facilities were dangerous places for both inmates and guards.

The Panopticon therefore provided two main benefits. Firstly, it allowed the monitoring of the prison population with many fewer guards than a traditional prison. Secondly, inmates would behave as if they were under constant observation, as they wouldn’t be able to tell where the guards were looking.

Ruins of a Panopticon-style prison, Cuba
By I, Friman
trazodone brand name in usa The traditional view
By Simon Ledingham

The traditional way of thinking about IT security is to view the network and resources as a castle with strong outer walls and many layers of defence. However, a castle’s main job is to prevent enemies from gaining access to the riches stored inside.

Castle walls aren’t going to do much good if the enemy is already inside the gates. What’s the solution?

This is where we need to start thinking like a prison guard. Prison guards have a completely different perspective to sentries standing on the castle walls. Rather than watching to see if someone is trying to get in, they need to understand the people on the inside and know intimately what their usual behaviours and interactions look like.

Let’s look at the example of a major UK supermarket information security breach in 2014. In that instance, the payroll details of 100,000 users were uploaded to news agencies and sharing sites. The culprit had not done something that would have triggered traditional SIEM systems. He was a Senior Auditor, and therefore had full access to the systems he stole data from. A user accessing authorised systems isn’t going to trigger most security systems. This is evident from the fact that this activity was ongoing for four months!

However, let’s say that there was a central system that had visibility of his system access, along with an understanding of his usual habits and interactions. In that case, that system could flag up instantly that he was downloading 50GB of data, rather than the usual 50MB of data daily.

ascending order A new approach

Gartner has recently created a new category of information security it calls User and Entity Behaviour Analytics ( levlen buy online UEBA). By base lining user actions over a period of time, a UEBA-based solution can learn what normal behaviour for a user looks like. If the user then does something out of the ordinary, it will send an alert.

This is from Gartner:

doxazosin price walmart UEBA solutions use analytics to build the standard profiles and behaviors of users and entities (hosts, applications, network traffic and data repositories) across time and peer group horizons. Activity that is anomalous to these standard baselines is presented as suspicious, and packaged analytics applied on these anomalies can help discover threats and potential incidents. The most common use cases sought by enterprises are detecting malicious insiders and external attackers infiltrating their organizations (compromised insiders).

Where should a UEBA solution sit if it is to have maximum access to user activity? This is where we come back to the idea of Bentham’s Panopticon. The real innovation of this design was that the central tower had visibility of each inmate. The cells they were in was not an important factor. Indeed, an inmate could be in any cell, and this wouldn’t impact the functioning of the central tower.

famvir prescription How a modern workspace helps

All of this leads nicely to the idea of a modern workspace (sometimes called a Digital Workspace) solution. With a true Digital Workspace solution, all application access is controlled via a single entity, usually an identity management solution. Once a user is authenticated against the identity manager, they are then granted onward access to other authorised systems. The applications delivered could be traditional Windows desktops or apps, mobile apps or SaaS apps. A record is then kept of that access.

User authentication and access in an important data point, but then so is their activity across various devices. For instance, a user may use mobile or desktop devices to access applications. They may use these devices in certain locations or at certain times. A Digital Workspace solution should be able to take all of these information points and build a model of the user. Any activity that doesn’t fit this model can then be flagged for further investigation.

Imagine if a UEBA solution had been in place during the supermarket incident. Potentially, the miscreant could have been caught and identified within minutes, meaning that the activity could have been stopped before any information policies were breached.

aciclovir cream uk The secure workspace

Apart from an aborted attempt in Cuba, the Panopticon as designed by Jeremiah Bentham was never built. It’s concepts though can be seen today with the ubiquitous use of CCTV.

Big data analytics and AI are giving us new ways to understand human psychology and motivations. I believe that EUC is becoming the most important security play in an enterprise, and the future of human / technology interactions will be about ensuring intuitive access with transparent security. The Digital Workspace is how these concepts are being brought together.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

The Epic Journey to the Modern Workspace

The last time I worked consistently in an office was way back in 2011, and I can tell you that I didn’t like it one bit.

It wasn’t so much the job itself (though that contributed), it was the traffic on the commute, the lack of a decent sandwich shop and the constant disputes over the thermostat.

Since 2012, I’ve been a ‘Road Warrior’, which means I still have to brave awful traffic conditions, eat ‘food’ from service stations (just try to spot a non-cheese-based sandwich in Starbucks or Costa) and now own a range of coats based on how far North I’m travelling.

But I love it.

The reason is, when I’m not travelling, I work from home. No traffic, a choice of freshly frozen food and central heating.
I’m not alone in preferring to work outside the office. If recent stats are anything to go by then this trend is about to explode. In 2016, GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics estimated that up to 25% of the US workforce teleworks at some frequency, while up to 90% stated that they would like to telework at least part time.

We take it for granted; work means traveling somewhere else to be productive. For certain tasks, such as manufacturing or hospitality, this commute is inevitable. For a vast of chunk of workers though, travelling to an office to work is simply a holdover from earlier times. It’s justified with terms such as ‘collaboration’, ‘team work’ or ‘profile’, but in reality, there is no productivity gain from being in the office.

In fact, Nicholas Bloom, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, conducted an experiment that demonstrated a 13% increase in productivity from home workers when compared to their office-based colleagues. Part of this increase was put down to the home environment being quieter and more conducive to work, and also the decrease in sick days from working in a less stressful environment.

Why do so many of us still work in offices? As the man said: “We have the technology”, so why hasn’t this technology set us free from the tyranny of the office? Where does this holdover come from?

I have a theory, and it involves history. I love history.

protonix cost Welcome to the machine

You may have seen the huge brick buildings in the UK’s industrial heartlands which have over the years been converted into hip new apartments, trendy spas and hippy communes.
These buildings once served a purpose; they were mills. In these mills, workers toiled away day after day, working machines to spin yarn and create textiles. Conditions were poor, pay was poor and work / life balance was non-existent.


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This was all a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, and in particular, a set of innovations designed to increase productivity.

Under the previous Domestic System, textile workers were home-based to a large extent, spinning yarn and making cloth. This enabled a lot of flexibility for workers to fit their work around their other commitments.

The year 1764 heralded the start of automation in industry, starting with the Spinning Jenny. This innovation, and its successors, enabled hordes of low-paid, low-skilled workers to create textiles and made the Domestic System obsolete. Instead, those who could afford to created huge buildings filled with low-skilled workers to operate these machines.


wellbutrin xl buy The Spinning Jenny

The economic viability of these new mill businesses was based on access to a large pool of cheap labour. To facilitate this, mill owners built rows of cheap, high density housing next to their mills to house their workers. People almost literally began living where they worked.

Within 100 years of the Spinning Jenny, the entire social and economic landscape of the United Kingdom had changed, mill towns dotted the landscape and there had been a huge migration to these new towns.
This was the start of the modern model of working: Workers commuted to the mill, and operated a machine to be productive. They could not be productive away from that location or that machine.

Fast forward to the late 20th century, and the mills were replaced with huge glass boxes full of people: Offices.

In these offices, workers toil away day after day at PCs to fill in spreadsheets or operate LOB apps. Conditions are good, pay is good, but work / life balance is still tricky for reasons i.e. the commute, sandwiches and thermostat.

xarelto price A brave new world – or is it?

Now you may argue that the mills simply evolved into more modern factories, and that the office is merely the new environment for clerical workers. That’s true after a fashion, except that as industrialisation drove the urban landscape of the 18th and 19th century, the creation of forests of skyscrapers and office blocks are the mark of today’s modern city. The majority of workers in the UK now work in an office environment. The office is the spiritual successor to the mill.

The machines that workers use have also evolved, from the humble quill in the 17th and 18th centuries, through to the typewriter, the Apple II and the PC. These have been huge leaps in technological innovation, leading Social Historians to dub this time we live in as the Information Age. It is now possible to work from home, from a café or even while sitting on a beach.

But from a working perspective, have things really changed so much from the Industrial Revolution?
Think about it. The majority of the workforce still travel to a single location, they still sit at a designated desk, and they still work at a dedicated machine. Yes, that machine is a miracle of modern manufacture and innovation, but it is still just a machine for manipulating data.

What will it take to break this stranglehold of the office being a location that must be worked in? Does it require a change in culture, technology or both? What is the future of the workspace?

We’ll take a look at these questions in later articles.

astelin price Ben Ward