Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, James Carlini, Pat Romanski, Rostyslav Demush

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

When Compliance Comes Down to Security | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Security

The top three regulations and how you can prepare

In the business world, it's hard to throw a rock without hitting a compliance requirement. All must be obeyed, but some call for a high level of control and auditability. Governing bodies are exerting their authority like never before, increasing the number of auditors and handing out heavy fines - sometimes as much as $1 million.

This has become the new norm, and it isn't likely to turn around any time soon. It's important, then, to be aware of the primary threats that could undermine compliance efforts. The top three such issues are discussed below.

The Challenges of SOX
Public companies in the U.S. as well as foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges are required by Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to assess their internal controls, have that assessment validated by an external auditor and report the assessment to the SEC. Information security professionals need to ensure that their organization complies with requirement in Section 302 and Section 404 of the legislation.

For the financial industry, SOX-404 and internal controls remain the most critical on the compliance horizon. Financial industry compliance challenges include Annual Financial and SSAE-16 audit requirements. However, audits of identity management (logical access) controls continue to result in exceptions. Companies struggle with adherence to privileged access controls - lack of visibility into what, when and how administrators access production environments.

SSH keys are a critical component for ensuring adequate and compliant controls for cardholder data environments. However, many organizations have no visibility into or assume compliance with their SSH key environments until an auditor identifies the issue or exception in their reports. SSH is one of those unseen workhorses in IT infrastructures, which is why it is also referred to as the "dark side" of PCI DSS compliance.

Financial institutions have expanded their business models beyond simply doing payroll, tax, investments, etc. They have taken on additional services to expand their markets and revenue potential. These vary from complete HR services to retirement services to medical payment services and much more. But changing industry business models change the threat landscape and expand the definition of sensitive information. Their protected data definitions now go beyond SSN and DOB to also include credit card data and medical data (protected health information). This increases the complexity of their compliance initiatives and the scrutiny of the audits they start to undergo.

Managing Privileged Access
The privileged and logical access controls within privileged access management (PAM) will continue to be a compliance nightmare. They cause the most audit infractions. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that more companies are outsourcing tech support, and more companies are employing remote workers. Both of these groups must be granted remote access to an organization's production environment and highly sensitive information in order to do their jobs. This access also includes machines talking to other machines in an automated fashion.

Enterprises must grant third-party access to a variety of vendors and contractors, but managing this access often comes as an afterthought in the organization's overall security strategies and postures. The 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey revealed some dangerous trends on this topic:

  • Seventy percent of enterprises enter into contracts with external vendors without having conducted any security checks
  • Only 44 percent of enterprises put forth the effort to vet the security of third-party providers and others in their IT supply chain

Better security and privacy controls may be supported by third-party and vendor contract agreements, but these actions may not exclude organizations from accountability and responsibility as it relates to a security breach.

HIPAA HITECH
If SOX-404 were a cat, HIPAA/HITECH would be a lion in comparison. Organizations may have to comply with PCI, FISMA, SOX, BASEL III or other regulations, but none of these are a match for the HIPAA/HITECH tidal wave in terms of severity. The U.S. federal government (Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights) is more active than ever in enforcing this law and is levying harsher fines with greater frequency for noncompliance.

Regulatory bodies have kept track of the areas that healthcare providers have failed at most often in the past, and auditors are concentrating their firepower in those areas and are levying massive fines for noncompliance. Targeted areas include:

  • Risk analysis and risk management
  • Content and timeliness of breach notifications
  • Notice of privacy practices
  • Individual access
  • Training to policies and procedures
  • Device and media controls
  • Transmission security

As enterprises branch out into new markets, they will need to exercise caution regarding whether those markets are covered by HIPAA and whether they are being compliant to avoid being hit with heavy fines.

Compliance via SSH Security
With so many regulations to keep in mind and so many financial and legal risks, the following best practices can help enterprises improve their SSH environment security - and, therefore, their compliance.

1. No more manual key management
If you insist on manually managing keys, you are relegating your highly skilled IT staff to the mental equivalent of drudgery. A centralized SSH key management system not only ameliorates the issues listed above, it increases your ROI by letting your IT staff tackle more complicated issues.

2. Take control of your SSH key deployment
While most SSH key deployments are straightforward, rotation and removal can be tricky. Control who can add keys to your environment, and deploy, remove and rotate keys in a centralized way. Sometimes a rotated key can create a new vulnerability. This encourages the tendency to leave a key in place long after its original user has moved on. Automate SSH key rotation.

3. Take inventory to understand your environment
You will need to find out how many SSH keys you have, where they are and which users have which keys. Once you understand your environment, you can take steps to tame it.

4. The ability to audit in real time
Lest you end up on the wrong side of a SOX audit, your auditors need to be able to view the source of any breach clearly and perform an audit trail. Make sure your organization has a system in place to provide auditors with exactly the information they need, when they need it.

The Whole Compliance Package
With penalties as high as a million dollars, organizations cannot afford to not be compliant. As they consider compliance risks across their business, they need to honestly assess whether they could survive an audit. Continuous compliance should become the goal, facilitated by security and privacy controls interwoven into day-to-day processes and procedures. When the inevitable breach does occur, having integrated security controls in place will go a long way toward both ensuring compliance with reporting requirements and expedite breach investigations.

More Stories By Fouad Khalil

Fouad Khalil is VP of Compliance at SSH Communication Security with extensive experience in the technology space with more than 25 years spanning disciplines in software development, IT support, program and project management and most recently IT Security and Compliance management. He has come up the technology ladder his entire career from network, system and database administration, software programming, system, software and GUI design, project and product development, solution implementation and much more.

He has been an active member in ISACA, IIA and Infragard for over ten (10) years and an active contributor to ISSA and ISC2 regionally and nationwide. He is CISA and ITIL Foundations certified.

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
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 settle...
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
"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...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
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 ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
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.
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.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"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...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...