Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Derek Weeks, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Harry Trott

Related Topics: Cloud Security

Cloud Security: Blog Feed Post

Is Your Organization Living Below the Information Security Poverty Line?

Have you turned down a security control because it was too expensive?

By Steven Wolford, Director of Information Security, 6fusion

During the season of politics here in the US, I would like to borrow shamelessly from topics in the political debate with a look towards the state of information security.

According to CNN (Poverty Rate Rises as Incomes Decline), the number of US citizens living below what is considered the bare essentials is on the increase. I believe we can say the same for information security programs. According to SANS, the top security controls can be boiled down to 20 Critical Controls (Top 20 Critical Controls). These are regarded as the “poverty line” for an Information Security Program. The bare essentials needed for a program to live at a level regarded as a minimum standard.

Have you turned down a security control because it was too expensive?

ENSIA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has stated “the same amount of investment in security buys better protection” (Cloud Computing, Benefits, Risks, and Recommendations for Information Security). We have long understood that scale brings cost optimization. By spreading the cost of controls over a larger number of organizations, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are able to either deliver equivalent controls at a lower price or enhanced controls at a similar price.

Work with your CSP to understand the controls already implemented, those that are planned, and those that you require for the assets you are moving to the CSP.   The different cloud models (software/platform/infrastructure as a service) will each be able to deliver a different set of controls. You should expect to bring more controls to an IaaS provider than to a SaaS provider. However, you should still expect to see cost efficiencies with IaaS.

What if the chosen CSP doesn’t offer the controls you need? Reinvest the capital expenditure (CAPEX) or operating expenditure (OPEX) savings into providing your own controls or even better negotiate with the CSP to get the controls installed and leveraged across all of their customers. Security is moving from “build your own” to “assemble your own” (that sounds like a blog all on it’s own). There is even a growing industry in Security as a Service (SecaaS or SaaS), which is a cloud computing model that delivers managed security services over the Internet. Technopedia defines Secaas as “based on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model but limited to specialized information security services.” Engaging a SecaaS provider is yet another way to help lower the cost of living at the information security poverty line.

Have you not implemented a security control because your environment is too complex?

Your business does not have to be listed on the NYSE for you to have not implemented a security control because your existing IT feels too complicated to integrate with a control or for the cost of applying a control to become cost prohibitive due to IT sprawl.

Most security frameworks today recommend taking a risk-based approach to identifying the controls that are appropriate for any given environment. In order to first identify risk you must know ALL of the components that collectively create an information system. Often the cost of implementing a proper set of controls spirals out of control when attempting to apply them to a complex or spread out system.

Moving an information system into an IaaS CSP is the perfect opportunity to identify, consolidate, and simplify an information system. Identifying all the components of an information system is potentially the most significant step towards proper control selection; you cannot protect what you do not know about. It is still not uncommon to hear about a critical business system that relies on the spreadsheet saved on a folder on the hard drive in someone’s workstation. As an example, when you plan for the security of your current monthly billing do you in fact remember this critical component or do you go about happily installing the latest IDS on the accounting server; congratulating yourself along the way for protecting the companies financial systems.

Consolidating components is at the same time a risk and a benefit (what in life isn’t a dichotomy?). Personally, I see far more benefits and, with the concept of cloud brokering, there are ways to enjoy the benefits while minimizing the risks. Let’s get the scary stuff over first. The risk is that consolidation puts all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. The target becomes a higher value target because the reward of breeching (or the cost of loss) becomes higher. Enter the cloud broker – enjoy the benefits of consolidation by information system but spread the risk by sprinkling your information systems over different CSPs.

What are the benefits that outweigh the risks? Reduced complexity to install, manage, and monitor the controls used to protect the system. There is a reason why banks put valuables into a safe – same risks identified above but even bankers know it is far easier and less costly to put them into a central location.

That leads us to simplify. By moving your information system to a CSP you are able to simplify the implementation of appropriate security controls. One of the leading causes of delay in detecting and responding to a security incident is an overly complicated control implementation. Even if controls are properly implemented in a complicated system, gathering the control information in one place can be difficult (if your environment was such that getting data in one place was easy you would probably already have the information system simplified).

Craig Balding in his cloudsecurity.org blog even lists centralized data as the number one security benefit of “The Cloud”. I think this understates the real benefits. While Craig believes reduced data leakage and monitoring benefits as the winners, I would extend that to improved knowledge of how the system as a whole works and is architected. Move the financial system into an IaaS provider and you will quickly find that critical spreadsheet on that workstation.

Have you not implemented a security control because it was too difficult?

Many modern security controls require infrastructure just as complex as the information systems they protect. Network, application, data, access, logging, and much more all require technical solutions to be implemented, updated, managed, monitored for relevant information, and then responded to when an interesting event happens. It is not surprising at all that some have had to make the decision that applying all of this is just far too difficult. You make a decision that doing that one thing for security is just too hard to digest into your other business responsibilities.

CSPs can help ease that pain. Many security vendors offer solutions that take advantage of cloud architectures and make the implementation process much easier.

Take antivirus (AV) for example. Most major vendors today offer a cloud ready solution where AV can be offered as a SecaaS or in cloud optimized versions to let you maintain total control over the AV solution. Either way, actually implementing the AV solution can be as easy as install the client in a base image and deploy that client with each and every server turned on. EASY.

As we hear the political messages of the day, I encourage your to consider the “Information Security Poverty Line.” Take a look at your security posture and tolerance for risk. Are you forcing the information security program to live below the poverty line? If so, is there something that you can do about that?

I would say YES! The first step, to paraphrase James Carville, is to remember, “It’s the risk, stupid.” Stay tuned for more on that politically inspired theme.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By John Cowan

John Cowan is co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. John is credited as 6fusion's business model visionary, bridging concepts and services behind cloud computing to the IT Service channel. In 2008, he along with his 6fusion collaborators successfully launched the industry's first single unit of meausurement for x86 computing, known as the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). John is a 12 year veteran of business and product development within the IT and Telecommunications sectors and a graduate of Queen's University at Kingston.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, 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 opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...