Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Rostyslav Demush, Greg Pierce, Jamie Madison, Otto Berkes, Ayman Sayed

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
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
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.
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 to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
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 ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.