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Cyber Hygiene, Analytics, and the User Experience




There’s already been a lot written about the persistent tension between operations and security. The security team’s mission is protecting the business from malicious activity, and that sometimes means locking systems down. The operations team’s mission is to maximize the business’s ability to do business on their IT systems, including managing software and configurations. 

Then, of course, there is the user experience. Have the security tooling and other changes consumed so many system resources that users can’t perform their jobs? Is memory maxed out? Are applications crashing? You need to have a way to measure user experience to answer these questions.

Tracking user experience

When something breaks, how do you know? Change control is great but you need a way to measure the impact of changes that have been made. Let’s say you’ve closed 10 vulnerabilities on your endpoints. Are your applications crashing? Have your systems started using more resources? Do you have more systems running at 100-percent CPU usage than you did before? Because a system with no resources means there is an employee that’s being prevented from doing their job.

This is where you need analytics. You can’t depend solely on users for timely, reliable information.

Analytics and the user experience

To take some of the burden off the service desk, many large organizations simply give all users admin rights. They resort to that because they don’t have a way to identify systems ahead of time that will generate problems.

They don’t have any way to measure resource utilization, which is done regularly on servers but not on user devices. So, they have no clue what the user experience is. They have no data except, “Has anybody opened a ticket?”

Performance metrics are a subset of IT analytics and they’re critical. When the security team wants to install more agents, operations can show that user systems are already running at 75% of maximum capacity. Add those new tools and users won’t be able to work. Those are the analytics that support business decisions.

Cyber hygiene and analytics for the C-level

When it comes to cyber hygiene, the primary question of C-level executives is “Can my users do their jobs?” Many IT decisions are based on the risk of IT systems getting in the way of employees being able to work. But making those decisions without supporting data leads to trouble.  

This is where executive-level dashboards can make a huge difference. Easily consumable metrics can help execs figure out at a glance where to draw the line between security and operational risk.

For example, if a key indicator shows that 20% of organizational systems are missing critical patches that’s normally cause for concern. However, if the dashboard shows that last month the figure was 50%, the trend is at least headed in the right direction. That’s certainly something to keep an eye on month over month to ensure the trend continues improving.  

At the same time, if a system’s performance monitoring indicator displays “green,” indicating minimal outages, that’s all the executive needs to know that risk has been reduced this month while ensuring solid system performance.

Here are three key indicators an executive dashboard might include:

Percentage of systems with baseline security toolingPercentage of systems vulnerable to missing patchesPercentage of systems performing above or below a defined performance threshold — CPU, RAM, disc utilization, etc.

If there’s a problem at the summary level, executives can alert their IT teams to dig into it. They don’t need to know the details; they just need to know that approved standards are not being met.

The importance of fresh data

When an issue arises requiring intervention, it’s critical that engineers have access to real-time data on all their systems in one place. Without it, they’re forced to spot check systems or wait until they get the next scheduled report. They end up not knowing what’s accurate and what isn’t.

If you’re doing it right, the engineering team should always know before leadership does. Ideally, before an issue hits the executive dashboard, it’s resolved.

How did the move to remote workforce affect the practice of cyber hygiene?

A lot of companies lost a minimum of six months adjusting to life with a distributed workforce. The information that IT executives needed to make qualified business decisions disappeared overnight. When 90% of the workforce went remote, the companies with great on-premises tools lost visibility to everyone working from home.

They couldn’t get data from, update, or even see endpoints that weren’t connected 24×7 to the corporate network. Companies that couldn’t connect with endpoints over the Internet lost the ability to gather endpoint data and understand their state. So, from an analytics and decision-making perspective, they were forced to guess.

Cyber hygiene, Zero Trust, and the remote workforce

When the pandemic hit, many companies couldn’t provide desktops or laptops for everyone, so they effectively said, “Use your own device and we’ll deal with consequences later.” In some cases, critical patches were missed because organizations had no way to patch remotely.

Without making tough decisions like that, people could not work and the business would not be able to function.  So, this was the opposite of Zero Trust. It was blind trust — and hope for the best.

Without good cyber hygiene, there’s no moving to Zero Trust. With poor IT hygiene, Zero Trust can bring your operations to a grinding halt because nothing will be trusted.

A large number of users and devices will fall into the “don’t trust” category. So, before companies purchase and try to implement a Zero Trust solution, they need to get the basics of cyber hygiene right.

Learn how to manage all the data in your environment and act immediately.



China’s Economy Grows Despite Int’l Challenges: Turkish Expert




© Provided by Xinhua

China would continue to contribute to the global economy, especially with the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, said Turkish economist Sinan Alcin.


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UK PM Boris Johnson Arrives in India for Two-day Visit




Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], April 21 (ANI): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday landed in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad for a two-day visit to India with focus on stepping up cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, giving momentum to negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries as well as enhancing defence ties.
Johnson started his visit from Ahmedabad where he is scheduled to meet with leading business gr

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Senate Panel Advances Sandra Thompson’s Nomination As FHFA Director




The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs confirmed the nomination of Sandra Thompson to serve as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, sending her nomination to the full Senate.

The vote passed 13 to 11, with all 12 of the committee’s Democrats and one Republican voting in favor of advancing Thompson’s nomination.

During the session, the committee also approved the re-nomination of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, the nomination of Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard to be Vice Chair, and Philip Jefferson was confirmed as a member of the Federal Reserve.

Lisa Cook’s nomination to be a member of the Federal Reserve concluded in a tie. Cook, if confirmed by the full Senate, would be the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve board.

Thompson in a statement said that she appreciates the support from Committee members and looks “forward to continuing to work with Congress as [she] fulfills [her] current role as Acting Director while the nomination process proceeds.”

In February 2022, the confirmation process of Thompson and a handful of Fed nominees stalled after Senate Republicans boycotted the vote.

At the time, Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey, the ranking Republican on the committee, critiqued the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin, who was nominated to be vice chair for supervision of the Federal Reserve.

Toomey questioned Raskin’s ties to Reserve Trust Company, a Colorado-based fintech startup that gained access to the Fed’s payment system in 2018. After Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said he would not vote for Raskin due to her views on climate change, Raskin withdrew her nomination.

The committee’s confirmation of Thompson, who has been leading the FHFA since June 2021, will be welcome news to many industry stakeholders and affordable housing advocates who have been calling on her confirmation.

Bob Broeksmit, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, called Thompson “a breath of fresh air” during the ICE Experience Conference in Las Vegas this week.

“Her administration is really focusing on the ways in which Fannie Mae and Freddie can achieve its mission to make homeownership available and affordable to low- to- moderate income borrowers and to black and Hispanic borrowers who own homes at shamefully lower rates in this country, than people who look like me,” he said. “And I think that Fannie and Freddie, under Sandra Thompson’s direction, will come up with some really innovative ideas.”

Early on in her tenure leading the FHFA, Thompson said that she would prioritize sustainable lending practices and expand credit to underserved communities.

“As a longtime regulator, I am committed to making sure our nation’s housing finance systems and our regulated entities operate in a safe and sound manner,” Thompson said in June 2021, when she was appointed acting director. “We can accomplish this, and at the same time have a laser focus on mission and community investment. There is a widespread lack of affordable housing and access to credit, especially in communities of color.”

Since then, Thompson has made substantial headway. Within three months of her tenure, she set new affordability benchmarks to expand access to credit in underserved communities, made on-time rental payment history part of Fannie Mae’s underwriting process and signed a historic interagency fair lending agreement.

The post Senate panel advances Sandra Thompson’s nomination as FHFA director appeared first on HousingWire.


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