* Disconnected management systems. Multiple security technologies each have to be provisioned, managed and monitored separately. Again, with no centralized management or policies, administration must be performed within each tool. The sheer number of management operations increases the risk of configuration errors, which can lead to a security breach or unrecoverable critical file.
* IT misalignment. Ad hoc security tools are often deployed in a manner where functional IT groups have access to and control over these systems. A good example is encryption keys. When multiple encryption solutions are implemented across an enterprise, encryption keys are exposed to numerous IT staff members. This violates a key information security best practice, namely, separation of duties. Since encryption keys are exposed to a wide group of individuals, this greatly increase the risk of an insider attack.
Three-step strategy to centralize security
There are several steps organizations can take to address the shortcomings associated with ad hoc security implementations.
The first is to consolidate core IT management disciplines. These include policy management, configuration management and reporting/auditing. All of these management activities should be controllable from one central location with actual execution occurring throughout the enterprise. In the reverse direction, all management information should flow back to the centralized management repository for storage, analysis, and reporting purposes.
Second, implement distributed policy enforcement. Centralized security policies must be enforced on heterogeneous systems distributed throughout the enterprise. To accomplish this, central management consoles must be able to distribute agents, configure individual systems, securely manage them and log all activities.