Before or After? - The Teneo Group
The Teneo Group

Before or After? Do you prefer to shut the stable door before or after the horse has bolted?


Imagine a bank’s vault – a secure fortress with a combination-locked door and reinforced walls. But the door is wide open, with a friendly note saying, “Anyone Welcome!” That’s essentially what happens with excessively permissive security exceptions.

These exceptions are meant to be helpful shortcuts, allowing access for specific tasks. But when they become too broad, they create vulnerabilities. Bad guys can exploit these gaps like that open vault door – sneaking in and wreaking havoc.

The consequences can be severe. Data breaches – where sensitive information is stolen – are a major concern. Unauthorized access allows intruders to roam your digital halls, potentially stealing financial records or disrupting operations. Malware and malicious software can also slip through, infecting your systems and causing significant damage.

How do security exceptions affect compliance?

These cyber security lapses aren’t just a technical glitch – they can have a ripple effect. Regulatory fines for non-compliance become a real possibility. In turn customer trust, built on a foundation of data security, can crumble and a tarnished brand reputation takes a long time to rebuild.

Security compliance must be maintained if you are serious about ensuring your business operates securely and follows data privacy regulations.

Should you allow security exceptions within your network?

Think about this – roughly 33% of organizations have excessively permissive exceptions in their security configurations.

Security is paramount, but as a business, you also need flexibility. That’s where security exceptions come in – temporary adjustments to security protocols to address disruptions or specific needs. However, these exceptions can become a double-edged sword.

The problem? Excessive exceptions create vulnerabilities. Many organizations fall into this trap, disabling security measures or overcompensating during disruptions and forgetting to turn them back on. This leaves a hole in their defenses, exposing them to potential data breaches, unauthorized access, malware, and virus attacks.

So how do we walk this tightrope? By taking a disciplined and proactive approach to managing configurations.

Ways to manage the exceptions – Strategy

During times of business need, security exceptions are created and for good reason, there’s no doubt. But a disciplined strategy to manage them is going to ensure risk of threat exposure is reduced and business continuity is upheld.

Here, we look at some positive activities you can use to build a solid strategy to manage security exceptions.

  • Regularly review and adjust your security policies:

Don’t just react to threats – anticipate them. Think offensively. This means proactively identifying potential vulnerabilities and taking steps to close those gaps before attackers exploit them.

  • Utilize automated tools:

Assessing and validating your configuration on a regular basis means you’re up to date with your network and you fully understand where your vulnerabilities lie. Do you still need exceptions and if you do are they right sized? Using automated tools to do this will give you accuracy and save time.

  • Tool Configuration:

Automate tool configuration best practices.  Not only are your tools configured properly, but are they configured properly for *your* network?  Is security control A configured properly, is it configured properly to work with security control B, and are security controls A and B configured properly, properly to work together, and properly to work together on your specific network.

It’s not about general best practices.  That is ancient history.  It’s about specific best practices.  And not just best practices, but best practices for your exact network configuration.

Imagine a security team constantly patrolling your digital house, not just checking the locks but also reinforcing the windows and anticipating break-in attempts. This dynamic approach minimizes risks and keeps your valuable data safe.


Final thoughts

Remember, security exceptions are a double-edged sword. They can streamline processes, but only if implemented with caution. By tightening up your policies on existing security controls and between existing security controls you create a proactive security mindset.  With that you can build a robust defense that keeps your organization safe and sound.

Discuss your network and data security needs with The Teneo Group – keeping your organization’s security a top priority.


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The Teneo Group is a leader in commercial network security services, data security, and proactive threat prevention, including mobile, endpoint, cloud, enterprise, and beyond. We offer custom strategies to clients in an array of industries, with offices in Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; Boca Raton, FL; and Columbia, SC.

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