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September 2011

Ranum chat: Enterprise information security architecture

Marcus Ranum: Gunnar, your blog (1 Raindrop) is one of my favorite security forums, since you seem to be as comfortable with “the big picture” strategic problems as well as the practicalities, and you do it fluently and coherently -- do you realize how rare that is? Gunnar Peterson: Thanks for the kind words on the blog. In terms of bouncing between big picture and practical issues, I think this is a must in security. We’re vulnerable to poor design and implementation. Getting the level of abstraction calibrated correctly is one of the enduring challenges in infosec. How many times have we seen a big picture policy or architecture document essentially filled with low-level configuration settings that offer no strategic guidance? Conversely, we often see low-level implementations where the assumptions inherent in the implementation cascade back up through the big picture and ripple through the whole security architecture: “Well of course for this little widget to run you have to open XYZ firewall ports, disable the sandbox, and ...

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