June 2, 2021

FAIR from the Trenches w/ Drew Brown

by Cyber Ranch

Show Notes

With us today is Drew Brown, IT Security Manager at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Drew is here to talk about FAIR and his real-world usage of it and testing it in the trenches. Drew shares a little bit about his background in cyber, and a little bit about his day job. He spent 15 years in IT. That opened the door then for him to be the CISO for one of the state agencies. Now his title is IT Security Manager but essentially he is responsible for communicating security and risks and working within a law enforcment agency to make sure that what is implemented is secure, it's compliant, and it meets all of the agency objectives. With FAIR, you start by asking some very basic questions: What is the asset? What is the thing of value that you're trying to protect? Once you understand what that is, you then ask who is going to come after that asset: cyber criminals, nation state, some kind of industrial espionage, hacktivist, or whatever. Or maybe it's Doris in accounting. Either way, you start to work through who might come after that information. The probability of a guy sitting in his basement, ordering pizzas on your credit card is a different probability than a nation state. On the impact side, we look at six different categories of risk, there's loss to productivity, there's losses in terms of response, how much money are we going to spend? Or do we have to spend to resolve that loss event that incident? The six forms of loss are productivity, response, replacement, fines and judgments, competitive advantage and reputation. We start looking at what those dollar amounts actually are. But we want to concern ourselves with the most likely and what's the loss magnitude at that most likely value? Now we can go to that executive and say, “Okay, do you want to build a new parking lot? Or do you want to resolve this risk?” Then we can have a business conversation about it. Allan asks, “What drove you to FAIR?” Drew states that one of the biggest arguments against FAIR that he always hears is, “We don't have enough data points to do this." Drew decided FAIR can help make better decisions about risk. And that is the goal of FAIR anyway - to make better business decisions, better risk decisions. Digging a little deeper, Allan asks, “Are you confident that it achieved the goals you set out to achieve with it?” In short, the answer is absolutely! Where FAIR falls shorts comes up. After reflecting, Drew says that it is in the controls analysis piece. Allan asks Drew what keeps him going in cyber. With a laugh, Drew gives a quick answer of "coffee" and then follows with, “I enjoy that a relationship with my counterparts and then also establishing those relationships with the business and seeing the problems solved.” What’s coming over the horizon? According to Drew, it’s seeing the normalizing of cybersecurity and making it less of a burden to hire new and diverse talent. Key Takeaways 1:15 Drew shares his background and day job 2:20 FAIR model 2:56 How FAIR works 5:13 Probability 8:45 What drove you to FAIR 11:42 Goal of FAIR 13:30 Selling to the board 18:16 The honest hat 22:17 RSA announcement 23:32 What keeps Drew going 24:49 What Drew looks forward to Links: Learn more about Drew Brown on LinkedIn Follow Allan Alford on LinkedIn and Twitter Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio and The Cyber Ranch Podcast Sponsored by our good friends at AttackIQ