Production of Sanitised and Statistical Management Reports

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Apr 18th, 2015


Protective Monitoring, also known as Good Practice Guide 13, or GPG13, is a UK government recommended set of people and business processes and technology to improve company risk profiles.

The GPG13 standard includes twelve Protective Monitoring Controls,. The below section explains what requirements must be met to meet your obligations for Protective Monitoring Control number eleven.

The objective of PMC11 is to define a set of Reports that will provide feedback to management on the performance of the Protective Monitoring system effectiveness.

Depending on the Impact Level of the organisations data that you are trying to protect you will have one of four recording profiles.

The required Recording Profiles for each Impact Level Data is described below:

Impact Level 1 Data – Recording Profile Aware

Impact Level 2 Data – Recording Profile Deter

Impact Level 3 Data – Recording Profile Deter

Impact Level 4 Data – Recording Profile Detect and Resist

Impact Level 5 Data – Recording Profile Defend

Impact Level 6 Data – Recording Profile Defend

Below is a summary of your obligations under each recording profile:

Aware

Report must be sanitised and omit identifying and sensitive information such as Username, IP addresses, Workstation names and Server names

If web reports are produced these must also be sanitised

Deter

Ensure you meet the requirements of lower recording profiles

If external managed security service providers are used they might include custom reports that can be used directly for management

Detect and Resist

Ensure you meet the requirements of lower recording profiles

It is expected that an enterprise solution is deployed to meet your GPG 13 requirements, most likely a SIEM working with a number of other technologies, such as an IPS, IDS, Anti-Virus etc

A complete Protective Monitoring Solution is likely to include an audit or compliance check software such as Trend Micro

Defend

Ensure you meet the requirements of lower recording profiles

It is required to use defence in depth at this segment level, meaning different vendors for the different technologies required for a complete Protective Monitoring Solution, such as a different SIEM vendor from Anti-virus, IPS, IDS and Audit or compliance check software

Technology Required

Log Management Software

The Log Management Software should be able to digitally sign the logs. At the higher marked data levels it would also be recommended to support encryption and or a hashing function.

Important to ensure that the Log Management layer does NOT rely on Relational Databases, unless you are collecting logs from a very limited number of devices, as these types of systems will not scale in the majority of environments.

While Appliance based solutions have the advantage of being quick to install, they require specialist knowledge to maintain and support. Often it would be better to obtain software that will run on your current server technology, that can be easily scaled and more importantly, easily supported within the existing support structure.

Security Event Management Software

You need to be able to alert on a number of different criteria. Typically this would require a SEM that has the ability to Alert when a number of different criteria is met, rather than basic Alerts. One of the risks of the SEM solution is that you are overloaded with Alerts, that are not relevant, and hence ignored by the Security response team.

As an example, if an Admin user were to login out side of business hours, create a new user and add that user to a privilege group, it would be much more preferable to receive a single High Priority Alert, rather than a number of individual Alerts. This allows you to filter the number of Alerts created to a manageable number.

A second recommendation would be that your SEM software is able to automatically responded to Alerts by running scripts. This would allow you to automate responses for common tasks, for example if you get an Alert about a Virus that was blocked at the boundary , the typical response would be to ensure the boundary device has the latest Virus Signature. Rather than manually checking this every time a Virus is detected you could automatically script this response. The alternative us manual updates, which becomes a burden on the support staff.

Notes:

This Protective Monitoring Control defines what management feedback is required so that the effectiveness of the Protective Monitoring Solution can be measured. An important concept is that a fully compliant GPG 13 solution is likely to consist of multiple technologies, NOT just a SIEM or IPS, IDS system. If a SIEM, IDS or IPS vendor suggests they can provide the complete solution, they are being economical with the truth!

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