In the practice of security we have accumulated a number of rules of thumb that many people accept without careful consideration. Some of these get included in policies, and thus may get propagated to environments they were not meant to address.
It is also the case that as technology changes, the underlying (and unstated) assumptions underlying these bits of conventional wisdom also change. The result is a stale policy that may no longer be effective…or possibly even dangerous. Policies requiring regular password changes (e.g., monthly) are an example of exactly this form of infosec folk wisdom.
From a high-level perspective, let me observe that one problem with any widespread change policy is that it fails to take into account the various threats and other defenses that may be in place. Policies should always be based on a sound understanding of risks, vulnerabilities, and defenses. “Best practice” is intended as a default policy for those who don’t have the necessary data or training to do a reasonable risk assessment.Read Full Story