|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.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 29, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,970
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
May. 29, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,664
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,290
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 29, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,264
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 29, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,498
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 29, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,022
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 29, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,304
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
May. 29, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,739
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,298
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 29, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,948
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,169
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,346
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 29, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,274
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 29, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 3,254
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 29, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 990
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 29, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,498
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 29, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,340
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 29, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,488
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 29, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,428
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 29, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,058