O Creating Resiliency

Resilience means controlling security mechanisms to provide continued protection to assets in the event of corruption or failure. Resilience is also known as fail safely.

When resiliency is applied, it is often a form of denial of service, which means using it without continuity controls. Applying resiliency controls is the same as closing shop when the sun goes down. However, with continuity, you can still close shop and just reroute all customers to a store where the sun is still up. And with networking, the rerouting is nearly instantaneous for customers. However, what's to stop an attacker from using the same attack again and again against each server with resiliency controls? Sadly, nothing. This is just how resiliency works best.

When resiliency controls are applied, then the threat is instantly separated from the assets at the moment of attack. In the case of a Linux server, which black-lists IPs in realtime as the attacks arrive and then sends them to the redundant service, that service may be on a different type of operating system, at a different kernel level, running a different service daemon for the same service, or even be behind a firewall with different or stricter rules. This allows the main server to serve the general public and respond quickly to requests. However, when attacks arrive, the packets are rerouted to a server that will still respond but may not be affected by that type of attack and that server should have much more stringent rules. This will invariably make it slower and limit the number of connections it can respond to, but because it is not the main public server, users will not notice the load.

Other types of resiliency controls deal with the applications themselves. A good resiliency control will allow an application that falters or abuses memory space to fail completely and remove itself from memory rather than create a security hole within the operating system. For many user applications this may be inconvenient since it would require that programs be written perfectly within the context of disk and memory usage and they are not. Failure of such applications would mean, for example, a word processor would just instantly fail and disappear without warning when a user is writing. This would seriously affect user trust of the application and could cost users and companies a lot of money due to inefficiencies over the years.

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