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.

Perimeter

3/17/2010
08:00 AM
Adrian Lane
Adrian Lane
Commentary
50%
50%

Database Dangers In The Cloud

Moving to a cloud-based database and virtual environment comes with plenty of benefits, but there's also a potential price to pay for security.

Moving to a cloud-based database and virtual environment comes with plenty of benefits, but there's also a potential price to pay for security.People are eager to take advantage of cheap storage in the cloud, but forget that many cloud vendors provide multitenant databases, archives, and audit trails. They want to enjoy the elasticity the cloud offers and be free of hardware constraints, but forget that their data backups are reliant on hardware-based encryption. They have established processes for patch, configuration, and vulnerability management, but they cannot audit the cloud vendor's environment to verify these same standards. They want to reduce administrative overhead, but vendors leverage super-user credentials that violate separation of duties and security practices.

If you're considering moving your database to the cloud, then here are some things to first consider:

Deployment: Many cloud providers do not allow common security technologies to be deployed at all. These technologies either violate your service contract or the infrastructure they provide doesn't accommodate them. For example, many providers don't support the use of penetration testing, while others can't deploy Web application firewalls. As is common, most databases are protected by SQL injection or buffer overflow attacks because the Web application screens for it, or a third-party tool detects and blocks the attack. If you are dependent on a WAF or if pen tests are part of your security strategy, then you need to verify that the cloud provider supports them.

Visibility: You may have in place evolved configuration, vulnerability, and patch management processes. So if you are moving to a database-as-a-service or pure SaaS model, make sure you have assessment and auditing options to verify that your provider is living up to your expectations. For platform-as-a-service, verify that the tools you use today will deploy and continue to function in the cloud, and that your provider does not have the ability to gain credentials to your database.

Co-Mingling Data: The recent example where Facebook users were unwittingly provided access to other users' accounts highlights how logic flaws or failures can expose data in multitenant environments. Look at application-layer encryption, removal of sensitive information, or a provider that can guarantee data segregation before adopting a solution. Expect additional costs for this, however. And if you have sensitive data, then the cloud may not be appropriate for you.

Service: Service-level agreements are a nifty way for vendors to give you the impression of security without always providing security. Ask for explanations on any service aspect that is unclear because what they offer is seldom what you expect to get. Make sure you have a way to verify vendor claims, that they will subject themselves to auditing, and that there are penalties for noncompliance. Prospective cloud customers often don't get a full understanding of the service -- don't fall into that trap.

Adrian Lane is an analyst/CTO with Securosis LLC, an independent security consulting practice. Special to Dark Reading. Adrian Lane is a Security Strategist and brings over 25 years of industry experience to the Securosis team, much of it at the executive level. Adrian specializes in database security, data security, and secure software development. With experience at Ingres, Oracle, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
6 Small-Business Password Managers
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/8/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-4108
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in Cryptocat Project Cryptocat 2.0.18 have unknown impact and attack vectors.
CVE-2018-12207
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Improper invalidation for page table updates by a virtual guest operating system for multiple Intel(R) Processors may allow an authenticated user to potentially enable denial of service of the host system via local access.
CVE-2019-0117
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Insufficient access control in protected memory subsystem for Intel(R) SGX for 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) Processor Families; Intel(R) Xeon(R) Processor E3-1500 v5, v6 Families; Intel(R) Xeon(R) E-2100 & E-2200 Processor Families with Intel(R) Processor Graphics may allow a ...
CVE-2019-0123
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Insufficient memory protection in Intel(R) 6th Generation Core Processors and greater, supporting SGX, may allow a privileged user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via local access.
CVE-2019-0124
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-14
Insufficient memory protection in Intel(R) 6th Generation Core Processors and greater, supporting TXT, may allow a privileged user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via local access.