Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Partner Perspectives  Connecting marketers to our tech communities.
SPONSORED BY
8/16/2017
09:00 AM
Tim Prendergast
Tim Prendergast
Partner Perspectives
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
50%
50%

Cloud Complexity Mandates Security Visibility

The cloud is flexible, but security should be the top priority.

While cloud adoption continues at a fiery pace, the speed to migrate to this new platform sometimes comes at the cost of attention to critical security needs. CIOs certainly recognize and plan for data security, but because the cloud operates as a new paradigm, some IT professionals don’t fully understand the complexity of their new environment and how to be secure within it.

Ironically, the cloud is definitely a more complex environment, but it is also more flexible in serving customer's needs. To build an effective and secure cloud environment, your organization needs visibility across how your data and users are engaging with your environment, and how your various stakeholders are changing your infrastructure.

Let's first think about complexity, and we can start by questioning what that means in the context of a public cloud platform. Complexity doesn't have to mean difficult, however, and this is an important distinction. Among the selling points of the cloud is that it makes the life of IT admins easier; fewer physical assets to manage, a decreased reliance on technology expertise, and an easing of the overall technology coordination burden. While these things are true, ease of use and an elimination of some of the more arduous management duties is only part of the cloud story.

There are two aspects related to security that require attention, and herein is where you can see where things can get a bit complex:

  1. Cloud vendors use a shared responsibility model for how security management is conducted. This requires customers to maintain an always-on awareness of their responsibilities within the cloud. It is ultimately up to you as the cloud customer to ensure a secure and compliant environment for your own operations. Less work perhaps, because you don’t have physical assets to manage, but far from easy.     
  2. The cloud stack is made up of various elements, and each one requires different security and compliance requirements. The storage layer, for example, requires securing data access, having data encryption policies, and other types of rules for things like logging and versioning. With six different layers of the cloud stack, and with dependencies among them, there has to be some level of continuous coordination to ensure these pieces are all secure and compliant.

While I hope I've made the case for recognizing and handling complexity, it's also really important to understand that with the right type of security tools, much of the work of identifying vulnerabilities in the cloud can be handled in a continuous, automated way; this is one of the ways we distinguish between complexity and difficulty. All this complexity can be mitigated, in terms of the amount of work, but to do so requires visibility.

Cloud security is, in large part, about awareness. This includes the need to maintain visibility into your cloud environment at all times, the ability to act upon any issues identified to mitigate risks, and the need for increased automation of security efforts to apply emerging best practices as consistent and enforceable behaviors.

It’s impossible to properly secure dynamic cloud environments without truly knowing every interaction within your environment and in all corners of your cloud. In today's cloud platforms, however, things like elastic infrastructures and API-driven cloud service suites have changed the way security needs to be architected, implemented, and managed throughout the workload lifecycle.

The lack of skilled cloud resources has further compounded the problem. Countless IT and cloud security teams grapple with the ambiguity of what to monitor, when to monitor it, how to identify evidence of compliance, overall reporting requirements, and so on. What is clear is the need for automation in dynamic, cloud-centric environments. Without continuous automation and assessment, organizations lack timely visibility into infrastructure configuration and workload risk and will have a hard time proving any form of compliance in the cloud.

With increased visibility, teams can quickly mitigate the most common vulnerabilities in minutes to drastically reduce the organization’s threat surface, and then focus resources on issues that require more time and attention to fix. 

Tim Prendergast co-founded Evident.io to help others avoid the pain he endured when helping Adobe adopt the cloud at a massive level.  After years of building, operating, and securing services in Amazon Web Services, he set out to make security approachable and ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
9 Tips to Prepare for the Future of Cloud & Network Security
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/28/2020
Malware Attacks Declined But Became More Evasive in Q2
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-4629
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
IBM WebSphere Application Server 7.0, 8.0, 8.5, and 9.0 could allow a local user with specialized access to obtain sensitive information from a detailed technical error message. This information could be used in further attacks against the system. IBM X-Force ID: 185370.
CVE-2019-17098
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
Use of hard-coded cryptographic key vulnerability in August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App, Connect Firmware allows an attacker to decrypt an intercepted payload containing the Wi-Fi network authentication credentials. This issue affects: August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge App version v10.11.0 and prior version...
CVE-2020-15731
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
An improper Input Validation vulnerability in the code handling file renaming and recovery in Bitdefender Engines allows an attacker to write an arbitrary file in a location hardcoded in a specially-crafted malicious file name. This issue affects: Bitdefender Engines versions prior to 7.85448.
CVE-2020-5132
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-30
SonicWall SSL-VPN products and SonicWall firewall SSL-VPN feature misconfiguration leads to possible DNS flaw known as domain name collision vulnerability. When the users publicly display their organization’s internal domain names in the SSL-VPN au...
CVE-2020-15216
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-29
In goxmldsig (XML Digital Signatures implemented in pure Go) before version 1.1.0, with a carefully crafted XML file, an attacker can completely bypass signature validation and pass off an altered file as a signed one. A patch is available, all users of goxmldsig should upgrade to at least revisio...