So, if you had $1 million to spend on defense, how could you spend it? I turned to my 2008 post Defensible Network Architecture 2.0 as a guide. One interesting aspect of the eight DNA 2.0 tenets is that half of them are IT responsibilities (or at least I would strongly argue they are): inventoried, claimed, minimized, current. All of that is just "good IT." Security can provide inputs, but IT should own those aspects. That leaves monitored, controlled, assessed, and measured.
With that's, let's allocate the funding. With such a small team we would expect people to move among the roles so they don't burn out, and so they can grow their capabilities.
- Staff. Without people, this operation goes nowhere. We allocate $850,000 of our budget to salaries and benefits to hire the following people.
- The team leader should have experience as an enterprise defender as a minimum. The leader can be very skilled in at least one speciality but should be familiar with all of the team's roles. The team leader needs a vision for the team while preserving business value. Because this team is so small the leader has to do strategic thinking and overall management, including the "measured" aspect of DNA 2.0. $120,000.
- The incident response team is responsible for detecting and responding to intrusions. They perform the "monitor" aspect of DNA 2.0. We hire three people, one with Windows expertise, one with Unix expertise, and one with infrastructure expertise. $330,000.
- The security operator is responsible for the "controlled" aspect of DNA 2.0. He or she seeks to minimize intrusions by deploying and operating countermeasures. This person is also a utility player who can learn other roles and consult as necessary. $80,000.
- The threat operator performs an advanced security intelligence and analysis role. He or she should be able to reverse engineer malware while also paying attention to underground activities and applying that knowledge to all aspects of the team's work. $120,000.
- The Red-Blue Team performs adversary simulation/penetration testing (red) and collaborative vulnerability assessment (blue) activities. With a team this size there is only room for two technicians. Red-Blue handles the "assessed" aspect of DNA 2.0. $80,000 for the blue, $120,000 for the red.
- Technology. At this point we only have $150,000 left. We can spend $100,000 on technology. It should be clear that $100,000 isn't going to buy much of any commercial tools. In fact, the $1 million security operation is going to have to rely on several realities.
- Built-in capabilities. This team is going to have to rely on capabilities built into the products deployed by other IT teams, like the computer and networking groups. This actually makes a good amount of sense. Is it really necessary to deploy another host firewall on Windows if you can use IPsec policies and/or Windows firewall? With a budget that small, these are the uncomfortable choices to be made.
- Open source software. The $1 million security team should deploy a lot of open source software. Sguil could be the NSM suite of choice, for example. By spending money on staff who know their way around open source tools, you can go very far using what can be downloaded for free. Let the staff contribute back to the community and it's a win-win situation.
- Commodity hardware. You can't buy hardware for free, and those NSM sensors and other open source packages need to run on something. A decent amount of the budget will be spent on hardware.
- Cloud hosting. The Cloud becomes an attractive place to store logs, do processing, and other activities that don't scale well or work well on commodity hardware. Security concerns are lessened when the alternative is no security services.
- Miscellaneous. The last $50,000 could be spent on incidentals, training, team awards, travel, or whatever else the group might require to attract and retain talent.
Note I did not advocate outsourcing here. You spend too much money and probably won't receive value for it.
With such a small team, there is no concept of 24x7 support. 8x5 is the best you can get. The ability of the team to detect and respond to intrusions in a timely manner is going to decrease as the enterprise grows. A team of 8 security defenders will be strained once the company size exceeds 10,000 people, at the largest.
I am much less comfortable building out this team, compared to the Black Hat Budgeting exercise. There are way too many variables involved in defending any enterprise. Most companies really are unique. However, this is a good point to stop to see if anyone has comments on this approach.
Richard Bejtlich is teaching new classes in Las Vegas in 2009. Late Las Vegas registration ends 22 July.