|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|January 29, 2014 09:15 AM EST||
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?
But, 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.
- Data Breaches
- Data Loss
- 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.
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 11, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 441
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Feb. 11, 2016 05:00 AM EST
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 209
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 224
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:45 PM EST Reads: 113
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 400
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 431
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Feb. 10, 2016 01:15 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:15 PM EST Reads: 429
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 624
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 197
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 255
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 113
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 232
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 392
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 189
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 10, 2016 08:00 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 773
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 835