Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Scott Millis, Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, Doron Kolton, Bob Gourley

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Deploying Cloud Security for Shifting and Evolving Defenses

Cloud offers agile and flexible defenses that consider situational context and real time management

A few weeks back I was watching my beloved San Diego Chargers lose in a most embarrassing way on Monday night. And in the waning seconds of blaming the quarterback for such ineffectual 2nd half play, it occurred to me, it wasn’t his fault.  It was the coach. It was the lack of planning for the type of attack the Denver Broncos would bring. It was the lack of leadership that should have easily closed the deal. In short, it was sticking to the status quo while everything around was changing.

My second epiphany was that this is a spot-on metaphor for the recent spate of bank hacks being levied by the hacktivist group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Not to make light of a serious issue, but the Charger collapse reminded me that the most insidious and effective attacks are not brute force in nature. In fact, most banks (according to compliance mandates) have decent processes to repel these attacks. In this case, the brutish DDoS (denial of service) was a feint to misdirect a smaller DDoS attack launched at the same time…and it was these more subtle attacks that were effective against 8 banks and counting. Continuing the football metaphor, it is like showing the blitz and falling back into tight pass defense resulting in the quarterback throwing an interception.

So the moral of the story is organizations need to evolve their security platforms to provide an agile shifting defense and change with the scenarios.

Now this is not to say the sky is falling, but a reputable IT security report noted a 50% increase in total number of DDoS attacks since Q2 of 2011 and a 10% increase since April. This means it’s time to look at your defensive processes and ensure they transcend compliance code. But moreso, to start anticipating what new threats, compliance requirements and business needs might be coming your way. You can’t be that guy who says “I’ll worry about it when I have to worry about it.” You simply can’t be paralyzed by the status quo. It’s a recipe for throwing 4 interceptions in the second half and squandering a 24 point lead.

We grouse a great deal about the burden of compliance, but they create a wall of protection that would otherwise create greater vulnerabilities. But all the audits, all the bureaucracy…it simply detracts from you being able to do the job you were hired to do. So the question begs, how do we evolve? How can we make security management easier yet stronger. Effective yet efficient. Agile yet layered? Proactive rather than reactive? If these questions are keeping you up at night, then it is time you took a deeper look at security-as-a-service or security managed from the cloud.

If you approach the security issue from the traditional sense of on-premise brick-building, server-stacking, resource-adding development, then yes, there are significantly costs in capital expenditures, human resources, and still not guaranteed that you have the necessary functionality, capability and visibility to anticipate tomorrow’s issues.

However…

By implementing a best-of-breed enterprise you gain a holistic view of what’s happening to your enterprise in real time. And because of the cloud computing advantages, the price point is very affordable (for what you are paying in support and maintenance, you could integrate an entire enterprise solution). You gain capability, you lessen expenses and, if your vendor also practices security as a service, your automated efficiencies come with 7/24/365 review of your logs by a live expert analyst.

But let’s put a real face on potential changes. Take FFIEC standards; very soon they will be more than guidelines. It's highly likely they will become compliance mandates. And they force you to address possible vulnerability gaps in your enterprise. Will you be prepared to meet the shifts in emphasis?

  • Layered security:

Most compliance-beholden organizations must recognize that security is not just about implementing virus scan and configuring firewalls. Ways and devices people reach your networks are changing quickly. Beyond log management protocols, you might need to add a SIEM or access management components. But the interpretation of layered security is choosing what is monitored and not relying on just a firewall to beat back possible intrusions, worms, phishing expeditions and user carelessness. You need multiple means, protocols and processes managed centrally.

  • Real-time, intelligence based assessment

There’s a saying in security circles: If you’ve noticed it, it’s already too late. The goal is to prevent, alert and remediate. And the only way to do this is through round the clock vigilance. Anything less than 24/7/365 monitoring opens the risk door too wide. It’s a cliché, but we are all acutely aware that hackers don’t sleep. But part of the question is not that monitoring is active, but how is it monitored? What data is collected? If you automate too much, you lose the human expertise; the context and the ability to respond effectively. Cloud-based security can cover a large enterprise or modest SMB with the same watchfulness while integrating the human intelligence assessment. Additionally, it provides additional resources, wider intelligence and greater coverage you don't have to fund.

  • Rapid adaptation against evolving threats

By applying a solution that uses real-time forensics including advanced correlations to examine for specific patterns, you create real time operational visibility. By recognizing traffic patterns correlated with a variety of other rules and processes you not only remove the false positive alerts, but can predict where your perimeter is soft and takes the necessary steps to shore them up.

  • Protect against ID and personal theft

Passwords are not enough. Time and again this has proven to be the weakest link. However, by instituting a solution that includes multi-credentialing, identity management, provisioning and the like, you can secure access to the most sensitive information. And if you make is easy for the user and minimize the impact of their usage experience, you take another step in maintaining the necessary trust while still ensuring people only see what they are supposed to see.

And all this can be deployed and managed from the cloud. The technology and security of these features has already matured to meet the concept.

These FFIEC guidelines seem very vague, but their meaning is clear: today’s operation needs to change. Not to keep up with the bureaucracy, but to improve the scalability, flexibility and control of an often volatile and fluid IT threatscape. However, don’t mistake this as a suggestion for mega-suite replacement. This should be part of any go-forward initiative that builds on or what is already in place. The cloud provides that agility to maintain an enterprise-powered security solution, yet adapt to the changing needs faster and more completely than most organizations can do on their own.

With that said, the best defense against an aggressive opponent is knowing what play is being called. Your holistic view gives you the ability to predict when the blitzes are coming, from what side, and most important, provide the flexibility to call an audible. One thing is for certain, you just can't stand still anymore; you can't rely on the status quo I just wish the Chargers saw that on Monday.

As an additional note, I participated in the development of a white paper for Fairway Technologies called , Get Your Head Into The Clouds! Industry Experts Answer Today’s Cloud Computing Questions ! Fairway’s collaborative new report not only examines the cloud computing issues that are dominating the industry, but also identifies key challenges behind cloud adoption and implementation, and presents best practices for organizations to develop and implement a sound cloud strategy. Guidance on cloud service brokers, open source cloud, data destruction, cloud bursting, and other topical issues are also discussed.

More Stories By Kevin Nikkhoo

With more than 32 years of experience in information technology, and an extensive and successful entrepreneurial background, Kevin Nikkhoo is the CEO of the dynamic security-as-a-service startup Cloud Access. CloudAccess is at the forefront of the latest evolution of IT asset protection--the cloud.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from McGill University, Master of Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California with emphasis in entrepreneurial studies.

@ThingsExpo Stories
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...
@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 Onalytica. 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.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
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, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, 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.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
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 ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...