|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|July 10, 2014 11:46 AM EDT||
Cloud computing security issues are constantly a top concern for IT leaders migrating to the cloud. There are many issues related to data security in the cloud and more than one approach to cloud security. Focusing on Infrastructure as a Service cloud security, there are five issues that repeatedly concern customers that are resolved by implementing the best practices discussed at a high level below. Cloud security best practices are technology related, but also focuses on P3: Process, People, Products.
1. Choose your cloud wisely
Infrastructure clouds come in many variations. Some are big (like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, or HP) and some are smaller but more focused on specific needs such as addressing compliance (Firehost and Layered Technologies are two examples, but there are many more).
A cross-platform concern in every Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) deployment is that data security is a shared responsibility. When shortlisting cloud providers, make sure specific certification such as ISO 27001 or SOC3 are in place. If you have specific regulatory concerns such as HIPAA safe harbor or PCI DSS compliance, ensure your cloud provider can support these specific requirements. Ask to speak with customers with a similar use case and similar size (or bigger). Learn from their lessons and make a decision accordingly.
2. Encrypt your data
As we’ve written before, encryption becomes your virtual walls in a cloud deployment. In your datacenter, your physical servers are protected by the 4 walls and the tight access security policy. In a shared cloud infrastructure, those measures are basically nonexistent.
This is where data encryption steps in. Data encryption allows you to segregate and isolate your environment from other companies (or adversaries) running on the same infrastructure. Data encryption in the cloud takes multiple forms: some more secure than others.
Freeware encryption tools might seem attractive at first, but they have two major issues:
- They don’t scale well
- In many cases, the encryption key is stored on the virtual disk along with the encrypted data, which renders the entire solution useless.
In a compliance use case, these drawbacks might pose serious issues.
Research and test more than one encryption solution, and learn carefully about the security posture of the encryption provider.
3. Focus on encryption keys
Although it sounds strange at first, cloud encryption can be easily achieved. The challenge lies=s not with the actual encryption, but with the encryption keys.
The Heartbleed bug, discovered a few weeks ago, exposed a weakness in Open SSL’s SSL/TLS protocol, allowing anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. As a result, many encrypted servers in the cloud unknowingly exposed their encryption key, which resided in memory of a server impacted by heartbleed.
To mitigate with such sophisticated attack vectors, the encryption keys should be secured throughout their life cycle: while in the key management system and while in use in the cloud. Emerging technologies such as split-key encryption and homomorphic key management can be used to avoid such attacks.
When researching encryption and key management technologies, look for cloud-enabled innovative technologies, and verify how encryption keys are managed and secure throughout the life cycle of the key usage.
4. Automate cloud security as much as possible
One of the clouds’ most important benefits is its ability to automatically scale an infrastructure environment up or down, in a single geography or across multiple geographies. When it comes to cloud security, the paradigm shifts. You’ll hear experts telling you about the need to “keep security under your control,” and that security automation means sacrificing trust.
While true for traditional security systems, new – cloud based – security solutions do enable automation using secure, RESTful API tools.
Automating data security actually reduces risk and configuration mistakes. Assuming the software vendor can prove automation is done securely, it is a best practice for IaaS cloud security.
5. Train your employees
Implementing the latest and greatest security toys is fun. Training employees may not seem as exciting. Yet, in many cases, a trained employee will be more efficient in stopping an attack than most technologies. (Art Gilliland gave a great pitch on “defense in depth” during RSA 2014 – see the video here).
A common modern attack pattern would start by identifying and infiltrating privileged users’ accounts (such as database administrator, or system administrators), and once access is gained, getting to end user data stored on those databases becomes a much simpler task for the attacker.
By educating users on risks and security best practices, the access of the attacker can be avoided. In addition, the cloud brings additional potential attack vectors, such as disk snapshots, or identity theft to the online portal, managing all servers. When training employees, always keep cloud in mind, together with your business tools and processes.
Cloud Security Best Practices Lead to Successful Deployments
There are many considerations surrounding cloud security. These best practices do not eliminate the risks or remove the need to always be kept abreast of the latest development. They do, however, ensure that your cloud will be more secure and enable you to comply with laws and industry regulations while taking advantage of the many business benefits of the cloud. Much of this, when explored from such a high level seems like common sense, and yet, the news is filled with stories of companies large and small who failed to properly manage their encryption keys or permitted their employees or vendors to enable access by attackers (a la recent breaches at Ebay and Target). Implementing these best practices will ensure that yours isn’t listed among the news-making breaches.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Aug. 26, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,929
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
Aug. 26, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,660
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Aug. 26, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,943
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Aug. 26, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,241
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Aug. 26, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,893
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Aug. 25, 2016 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,272
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Aug. 25, 2016 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,710
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Aug. 25, 2016 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,195
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
Aug. 25, 2016 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 689
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Aug. 25, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,494
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Aug. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,552
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Aug. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,899
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Aug. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,599
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Aug. 25, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 586
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Aug. 25, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,129
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Aug. 25, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,792
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Aug. 25, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 496
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
Aug. 25, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,448
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Aug. 25, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,815
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Aug. 25, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,002