Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Stefano Stabellini, Sanjay Zalavadia

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Top Cloud Security Threats

To say that cloud security for cloud computing is gaining traction would be the understatement of our era

To say that cloud security for cloud computing is gaining traction would be the understatement of our era.  Whether in public clouds, private clouds, or hybrid scenarios – it seems like everyone is in the cloud.  Healthcare providers, eCommerce, disaster recovery services, data storage . . . the types of cloud services available seem to cover every base.  What would Darwin think about his “Survival of the Fittest” evolving from animal species to businesses who take advantage of the flexibility, elasticity, and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing?

cloud security threats cloud security breaches Cloud Security  cloud security threats Top Cloud Security ThreatsBut, there are dangers in the cloud computing jungle and cloud security measures must be put in place to eliminate and resolve them.  According to the Cloud Security Alliance, three types of threats have worsened between 2010 and today.

  1. Data Breaches
  2. Data Loss
  3. Account or Service Traffic Hijacking

Let’s explore how proper cloud security can protect you from these top threats.

1. Data Breaches

The attack can originate from many sources:

  • Malevolent hackers
  • Fierce competitors
  • Insiders: employees, subcontractor, vendors, etc.

Regardless of the origin, the attack must be stopped before it causes damage.

Of course, you must put in place cloud security measures like anti-virus, firewalls, strict password policies, and accurate logs.  But hackers can be deviously conniving.  In November 2012, researchers from the University of North Carolina, the University of Wisconsin and RSA Corporation released a paper describing how a virtual machine could use side channel timing information to extract private cryptographic keys being used in other virtual machines on the same physical server. Whether your potential attackers are as sophisticated, there are ways to stop them from causing damage.

Encrypting your data, for example, is a security measure you MUST insist on.  If you do it right, even if a breach does occur, your data will not be readable – and will therefore not be usable.

Encrypting data is relatively easy.  Adhere to best practices like AES-256 and SHA-2. These techniques provide the best assurance that data has not been tampered with.  SSL/TLS must always be enabled.  IPsec communications should be allowed.

But once your data is encrypted, the cloud security challenge is to ensure the data cannot be decrypted.  If your data is encrypted well, but the encryption keys are also accessible to attackers (stored in the same location or stored with a cloud provider, for example), the encryption does not matter.

The best practice here is to use split key management and homomorphic key encryption.  The first splits your encryption key in parts.  One part is handled by the cloud security application and one part is always handled only by you.  BOTH parts are required to decrypt your data.  This way, even if one part is used illicitly, your data cannot be breached.  The second measure, homomorphic key encryption, is the only way to ensure that the key itself is encrypted, even while in use.

By using these two best practices, your cryptographic keys cannot be compromised.

2. Data Loss

Almost as terrifying as your data being accessed by outsiders (or insiders gone bad) is losing your data.  Of course, losing data doesn’t allow anyone else to use it, but it also does not allow you to use it.  Can your business perform without its data?

Data loss can occur as a result of virus or hacker attack, but it can also come from an accidental deletion by a cloud provider, a natural disaster like an earthquake, fire, flood, tornado…

Best practice here, of course, is backup.  You could back up your data on physical devices outside of the cloud, but then you lose a lot of the benefits of using the cloud.  Opting for an online backup and disaster recovery protocol is a great solution, but it opens another possible entry point for attackers (see the data breach section, above).

Solving this challenge does not have to be . . . well, challenging.  The same best practices we dexcribed above apply here as well.  Encrypt data before uploading or transferring it to a cloud backup or cloud disaster recovery platform.  And always use split key management and homomorphic key encryption.

3. Account or Service Traffic Hijacking

Phishing, fraud, and exploitation of software vulnerabilities can cause your credentials to be stolen.  With stolen credentials, attackers can often access critical areas of deployed cloud computing services, allowing them to compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of those services.  In April 2010, Amazon experienced a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) bug that allowed attackers to hijack credentials from the site. Even Amazon is a target!

How do you eliminate the risk of your credentials being stolen?  Easy!  Don’t trust anyone with them.  Your encryption keys should always be under your own control.  Do not allow your cloud provider to control your keys.  Ever.

Another important factor to consider here is not avoiding such hijacking, but also mitigating the damages in case it occurs.  A way to do this is to segment your encryption.  Each encryption project can contain as much (or as little) data as required, across multiple disks, databases, file servers and object storage.

Conclusion: Top Threats and Top Solutions

Yes, there are threats to operating in the cloud (let’s face it: there are threats to operating any business), but with current technologies offering ways to thwart the top threats of data breaches, data loss, and hijacking, the benefits of cloud computing far outweigh the risks.

The time to institute strong cloud security and encryption is now – before an attack.  Don’t think that it cannot (or will not) happen to you because you are too powerful or too big (or too small).  It happened to Amazon.  It happens to businesses every day.  And these types of catastrophes have the ability to exhaust budgets, destroy reputations, and in some cases – eradicate a business.


The post Top Cloud Security Threats appeared first on Porticor Cloud Security.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Gilad Parann-Nissany

Gilad Parann-Nissany, Founder and CEO at Porticor is a pioneer of Cloud Computing. He has built SaaS Clouds for medium and small enterprises at SAP (CTO Small Business); contributing to several SAP products and reaching more than 8 million users. Recently he has created a consumer Cloud at G.ho.st - a cloud operating system that delighted hundreds of thousands of users while providing browser-based and mobile access to data, people and a variety of cloud-based applications. He is now CEO of Porticor, a leader in Virtual Privacy and Cloud Security.

@ThingsExpo Stories
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 and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
UAS, drones or unmanned aircraft, no matter what you call them — this was their week. Our news stream was flooded with updates on the newly announced rules and regulations for commercial UAS from the FAA. So, naturally we have dedicated this week’s top news round up to highlight some of our favorite UAS stories.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...