McAfee Reference Architecture: Controlling and Monitoring Change

Change is inevitable. Businesses react to the market and make changes as technology changes to support the business. Controlling and monitoring change is built into the business model – watching for trends, taking action to keep current positive revenue streams safe, etc. So why is it so hard for IT to adopt this same kind of approach to the systems that interact with the business?

Without visibility, it’s hard to measure, plan, track success and collaborate with business leaders on alternative, more effective infrastructure support. It’s even harder when this focus is on securing the data, devices and applications that support these functions. Ideally, within IT the proper authorizations, vetting and continuity plans are made before change occurs. Change should also be monitored as it assures that actions that were necessary were indeed followed through to the targeted systems. Change can also be a warning if it can be correlated to unauthorized activity or a challenge to corporate policy.

When there is visibility into this level of change, security and compliance can be optimized and give the business value-based information to make better decisions.  Customers that use this approach have year over year savings on their audits, because they demonstrate that it is easy to react to only the items that truly affect their environment. A critical patch to systems can be implemented, then tracked and accounted for. Most all compliance requires the basics: ensuring malware is up to date, effectively patching systems, and even PCI requires that you monitor the integrity of the files on the system (File Integrity Monitoring of PCI-DSS). This is also critical for databases – knowing you can monitor the queries and changes being made to the database and can virtually patch against critical security threats until you can coordinate with the business for a planned update.

Having a handle on controlling and managing change across your infrastructure is not just about operations. It’s a fundamental security component. Take a look at McAfee’s reference architecture for how change control and monitoring from McAfee can help protect your information as well as other aspects of your environment with a cost effective and holistic security framework.

-Kim Singletary

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