Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Don MacVittie, Fouad Khalil, Darren Anstee, Greg Pierce

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

2014 Trends – The Year of the Insider Threat

As more and more organizations are adopting cloud strategies, there is now an added layer of complexity and sophistication

If last year underscored anything, it was the significant and far-reaching impact of breaches by trusted insiders - case in point, the Edward Snowden affair. What makes this such a critical trend for 2014 is the fact that as more and more organizations are adopting cloud strategies, there is now an added layer of complexity and sophistication when it comes to protecting who can access what types of sensitive data. The cloud makes it easier for organizations to conduct business, but that simplicity also translates into easier ways for insiders or un-trusted individuals to steal data - identity has become the new perimeter.

The number of organizations around the globe turning to a combination of traditional computing, virtualization, and public-cloud infrastructure to deliver business applications quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively is growing exponentially. As they migrate systems to the cloud, or leverage the scalability and elasticity of cloud computing to deliver entirely new applications, they can run headlong into security and compliance issues that must be solved to protect systems and make auditors happy. In addition to protecting privileged access to servers and network gear, virtualization and cloud computing add important new items that need to be locked down. First, organizations need to protect virtualization and cloud management consoles that provide unprecedented administrative power to create, configure, delete and copy network and server resources. Second, organizations must ensure the cloud management application programming interfaces (APIs) that transfer enormous administrative power to scripts, programs and DevOps tools are adequately controlled. Companies that want to ensure their data remains safe regardless of whether it is in a traditional database, in the cloud, or some variation of both, now need to seriously consider the security ramifications of having a lax privileged user policy - especially in an era where a few clicks of the mouse in the console, or a few commands in a script can wreak havoc.

The Snowden breach is a perfect example of the ramifications organizations typically overlook when they consider the negatives of a breach. According to different reports, the NSA has spent millions of dollars replacing software and hardware systems to mitigate the risk of undetected compromises on resources to which Snowden had access. These sorts of costs - forensic analysis, re-imaging, and repairing or replacing compromised systems - are frequently overlooked when assessing the potential value of privileged identity management programs. Harder to measure are the impacts arising from the disclosure or theft of sensitive and confidential information. Not to mention the potential for embarrassment and loss of trust from essential stakeholders including partners, customers, and others.

Another factor we see catapulting privileged users and insider threats as a key trend in 2014 is the increased attention toward regulations and compliance. Regulators are extending security and privacy mandates to cover the risks posed by privileged users and administrative accounts. High-profile insider breaches (e.g., Snowden, Wikileaks), plus increasingly advanced spearfishing and APT-based attacks, have heightened regulator and auditor attention to privileged user threats. And there are specific regulations that apply to specific industries. Some of the regulations include penalties for non-compliance, and many of these mandates continue to be updated to contend with the latest threats. A good number of them have been updated with specific requirements relevant to privileged identity management.

Privileged identity management protects organizations from the risks privileged users pose to systems and data. Privileged users - people like systems administrators, contractors, and third-party vendors - have routine access to the most sensitive IT resources. It's no wonder studies consistently show the largest and most damaging breaches are often traced to these individuals. Privileged identity management software supports and enforces the policies and controls needed to mitigate risks created by privileged users, those with elevated rights and access to administrative accounts, credentials, and systems.

Privileged identity management isn't just about privileged identities, though being able to positively identify powerful users and vault and manage their passwords is a key part of the equation. Next generation privileged identity management platforms also control, monitor and audit privileged users, ensuring they can access only explicitly authorized resources. Comprehensive privileged identity management tools also record privileged sessions so you know exactly what happens during each session - and you can prove it to your auditor. These tools also enable you to lock down virtual and cloud "super-user" administrative consoles, such as VMware's vCenter Server and the Amazon Web Services Management Console.

The fallout of the NSA/Snowden leak and other "insider threat" and "privileged user" incidents has significantly broadened interest in privileged identity management tools, and we expect that to only increase as cloud and virtual technologies continue to evolve. Inbound inquires to Xceedium, and likely other PIM vendors, have increased beyond the usual suspects, such as the traditional security leaders in banking and financial services or organizations with critical infrastructure and those other markets governed by strict security regulations. We're now seeing a big increase in interest across numerous industries and geographic regions.

As insider threats continue to shine a light on the need for next generation privileged identity management solutions, the important thing to remember is to focus on solutions that go beyond simple password management. The ability to attribute actions taken to specific individuals, as well as real-time logging and session recording, make it easier to proactively alert security teams to issues and conduct forensic analysis. If questions arise about an individual's activities, it's a straightforward task to determine exactly what they did and when. Cloud computing introduces important new administrative systems that need to be controlled and monitored. While security breaches are bound to happen, a modern privileged identity management system can make sure you are in a position to appropriately investigate what happened and keep the fallout to a minimum.

More Stories By Dale R. Gardner

Dale R. Gardner is Director of Product Marketing at Xceedium. He's developed and launched multiple network, systems, and security management products for the enterprise market. A former META Group analyst, he started his career as a programmer and networking specialist.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning 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 busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited 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. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis 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. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of 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. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani 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. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.