C level Focus

“IT Security Assessment & Compliance Experts”

One of the biggest challenges clients are facing, even those with vigilant cybersecurity programs in place, is the rapidly growing rate of serious security events, like data breaches and ransomware. The frequency and size of breach activity continue to rise at an alarming rate, with ransomware gaining mass appeal to malicious individuals due to the ever-increasing monetary gains. Even with a multitude of new technology solutions flooding the market to fight negative cybersecurity events, organizations are struggling to keep pace with various technologies being hacked and the social engineering of personnel.

A key reason many IT security organizations are falling behind evolving threats is that they continue to use traditional assessment programs that just test key controls (e.g., firewalls, patch management programs, malware protection, etc.). These assessments may satisfy regulators and well-intended internal IT departments, but they are by no means comprehensive enough to stop modern-day hackers.

Enter BAI Security.

When BAI developed their IT Security Assessment services, they didn’t just start with what was done in the past or the basic requirements of compliance standards. Instead, BAI carefully studied a multitude of real-world breaches to learn how hackers actually break in and/or what they took advantage of in order to plant trojans and other malicious applications, like ransomware. BAI then took that vital information and reverse engineered it to determine what an assessment really had to evaluate in order to prevent the hostile activity from occurring in the first place.

The resulting proprietary assessment methodologies developed by BAI Security are far more comprehensive than traditional assessments in terms of the range of areas assessed, as well as the depth of testing of key security controls that are most often the weak link in an organization’s security program and which lead to a breach. BAI also continually re-tests their own methods, challenges their assumptions, and iterates their solutions to stay ahead of emerging threats and hacker savvy. Subsequently, BAI stands at the forefront of the cybersecurity game and is successfully protecting their clients in Banking & Finance, Healthcare & Pharmaceutical, Insurance, and many other sectors.

"BAI Security is a nationally recognized cybersecurity auditing & compliance firm serving Healthcare, Banks, Credit Unions, Financial Services, Pharmaceutical, Legal, Insurance, Energy, & more. We specialize in the most rigorous, innovative, and cost-effective IT security & compliance solutions on the market."

BAI Security is led by Michael Bruck, the President/CEO who walks the walk alongside his team of security experts. With over 25 years of IT experience, his own knowledge and engineering abilities span microelectronics, programming, advanced networking, system design, cybersecurity theory and practices, penetration testing/ethical hacking, and a multitude of compliance and security best practices. It is the blend of Bruck’s extensive technical wisdom and business acumen, along with his spirit for experimentation and innovation, that allows him to understand the challenges clients face in protecting their information assets despite an ever-changing security landscape. From there, Bruck leads his team to cutting-edge breakthroughs that secure client interests, exceed their expectations, and afford BAI Security 13 straight years of growth nationwide.

Making of an Innovative Firm

When BAI Security was formed in 2007, their primary goal was to bring comprehensive IT security assessment services to small and medium-sized institutions in regulated industries - specifically, the Banking & Finance sector. At the time, modestly sized organizations in this sector were below the radar of larger accounting and consulting firms, which had more extensive security and compliance assessment offerings. In contrast, these smaller organizations were outsourcing their security assessment to general IT support vendors, who only did security testing as an add-on service. So, truly in-depth assessment was lacking, leaving these small and mid-sized institutions significantly vulnerable.

Over the next few years, BAI Security grew rapidly in the Banking & Finance sector, developing a reputation for more comprehensive audits than the industry had ever seen, and for a price-point that small to mid-sized institutions could afford. In 2010, the expansion continued into Healthcare and then Pharmaceutical, where similar struggles for small to medium-sized organizations were apparent. Due to their reputation for high-end audit and assessment services, in 2015, BAI Security began branching out into a number of new sectors, both regulated and non-regulated. It was during this time that BAI developed their Red Team Assessment (RTA), deploying a wide variety of attack vectors, including digital, human, and physical attack methods, to intentionally break into organizations as a hacker would. This RTA simulation has proven to be a monumental leap in assessment methodology that validates an organization’s security posture against a live, real-world attack. It has also provided a complementary enhancement to BAI’s core IT Security Assessment that creates an even more comprehensive evaluation.

Most Innovative, Rigorous, Cost-Effective Security Solution

In contrast to most providers, who are general IT or consulting companies that happen to have an IT Security practice, or who outsource such offerings to non-specialists, BAI lives and breathes IT Security Assessment and Compliance as their sole focus. While others deploy generalists using approaches that attempt to respond to what hackers are up to as of late, BAI‘s wholly dedicated experts are on the frontline of present-day cyber-threats, continually developing methods that undermine even the savviest hackers. BAI’s security engineers spend 100 percent of their time researching and training on the latest security risks, compliance standards, and most effective methods across industries. And when a solution doesn’t pre-exist to protect clients, BAI’s team develops their own. Because this is their total company focus, they can do this quickly, delivering groundbreaking new tools with regularity, and even customizing methods to address unique client needs.

As BAI has seen over the years, many clients approach IT security assessment with a “bare minimum” mindset – just doing what is required by regulations so the compliance box can be checked. And many providers with lesser security specialization are happy to oblige. But BAI’s dedication to the trade and expertise in real-world breach activity leads their team to a different view, where only doing what is mandated is unthinkable, as it would leave clients highly vulnerable.

The depth and breadth of BAI’s proprietary assessments, delivered by highly trained in-house security professionals, have proven to reveal serious security weaknesses in client systems that invite a data breach or malicious event, such as ransomware. BAI then goes the extra mile, guiding their clients with customized remediation steps to help them close their security loopholes and achieve a fully protected position. This demonstrates BAI’s unique status as leading cybersecurity experts, providing the most robust, accurate assessment on the market and customized, actionable solutions.

According to Bruck, there is no better way to validate the efficacy of existing security controls, policies, and procedures used to protect the information assets of an organization than by performing their Red Team Assessment (RTA). BAI Security’s RTA is a truly real-world attack against a client’s organization that mirrors the reconnaissance, planning, preparation, and wide range of skilled cyber-assaults and modern-day methods used by motivated hacking groups or state sponsored actors. BAI’s RTA doesn’t just assess individual controls, as is the case with traditional annual audits; instead, BAI’s RTA demonstrates how all of an organization’s technology, personnel, policies, and procedures work together to defend against – or allow for – a real attack. This maximum rigor is BAI’s everyday standard.

The Road Ahead

Often organizations who are serious about their security posture reach a level of maturity in their information security program, where the results from external assessments by traditional security firms no longer identify significant new security weaknesses. While this would appear to be the goal of any organization, it is actually a cautionary tale. Due to the rapid evolution of sophisticated methods by a growing and heavily-sponsored hacking community, these seemingly “clean” results usually represent the inability of the assessment firm to keep up with advancements in hacking. The results, in fact, do not represent the true level of protection for the client and can lull them into a false sense of security that leaves them unknowingly vulnerable.

BAI Security’s approach dedicates significant resources to researching present-day hacking activity, the root cause of a client’s previous data breaches, as well as the methodologies, tools, and techniques used by aggressive hackers. As such, BAI offers an assessment process that mimics the expertise, patience, and tenacity found in modern-day hackers, which is the only way to beat them at their own game.

BAI Security began by serving the U.S. Banking & Finance sector with their leading IT Security Assessment and Compliance services, helping to protect clients’ obvious risks with high value assets. In the past decade, BAI has grown substantially in the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industries, where patient record safety and HIPAA compliance have become a priority to providers, regulators, and consumers alike. Most recently, BAI is seeing clients frequently engage their Red Team Assessment as a means of meticulously testing the integration of their defenses. Going forward, BAI’s goal is to continue expanding their reach, bringing rigorous expertise and cost-effective services to many more sectors that have valuable (i.e. vulnerable) information assets and intellectual property, and/or have ultra-high sensitivity to systems outages caused by hacking activity (e.g. energy and power companies). 2020 promises to be another year of growth and innovation for BAI Security!

Posted in C Level Focus | CEO MagazineMichael Bruck, CEO BAI SecurityProfile