Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz, Carmen Gonzalez, Patrick Hubbard

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

Cloud Security: Article

Test All Apps to Keep Hackers from Penetrating Castle Walls

Four major challenges when protecting apps and how to solve them

Despite all the news about hackers infiltrating major corporations, most businesses continue to leave themselves woefully unprotected. Some surveys estimate more than 70% of businesses perform vulnerability tests on less than 10% of their cloud, mobile and web applications. A majority also confess they have been hacked at least once in the last two years.

While most large businesses have begun application vulnerability testing, there is still a long way to go. After all, you are only as strong as your weakest link; hackers will undoubtedly find and attack any application without sufficient defenses.

Although testing and creating protection for high-value and mission-critical applications is better than not doing anything at all, leaving low-priority applications unprotected is still a major risk. If hackers can exploit just one application, that means they can then access the rest of your infrastructure. They'll eventually figure out a way to also attack your high-value applications.

Major Challenges When Protecting Applications
W
hy in spite of all the risks are organizations not identifying all the vulnerabilities in their cloud, mobile and web applications? Security professionals typically point to several reasons that hold them back:

  • Limited Budget: Businesses simply don't allocate enough money to test all applications. Whether additional headcount or technology is required, testing costs money, and most organizations do not set aside sufficient funds.
  • Lack of Expertise: Application security is still not a mature science. Even companies with the budget to hire expertise find it difficult to recruit security experts who really understand application security.
  • Compliance Focus: Most organizations are driven first by compliance requirements rather than security. So the focus is only on applications that help achieve compliance while other applications are ignored. Applications assessed for security are tested in many cases only to get a checkbox for compliance - not necessarily for sufficient security.
  • External Focus Only: One misconception when it comes to application security is that companies shouldn't worry about testing internal applications with no external interface. But think of insider threats. What if you have an internal human resources application with access to confidential employee information? If a less-than-ethical employee exploits a privilege, they can gain access to sensitive records, and your company becomes non-compliant with various standards.

Recommendations for Protecting Your Business
Despite these challenges, there are practical ways to protect your business. Here are a few recommendations to identify application vulnerabilities:

  • Respect the Impact of Hacking: According to research by Forrester and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost per record in the case of a breach is at least $300. Most companies have thousands of records. And more than 75% of attacks occur through web applications.
  • Outsource: You don't have to do everything yourself. Consider a managed service or a cloud service to help you secure your cloud, mobile and web applications quickly and affordably.
  • Create a Process: You can cut your costs by creating a pyramid according to the value of all your apps. First identify and then test all your applications. Based on what you find, you can prioritize applications that need deeper penetration testing. This way, you'll cover all your applications without spending a fortune and taking too long. Automated solutions and a good process can help you get there quickly.
  • Manage Your Risk: You will find hundreds of vulnerabilities within your applications, but you won't have time to fix them all. Take a risk management approach and prioritize these vulnerabilities based on a quantitative score. The ones with the highest score (i.e., most likely to be exploited) are the most sensitive and should be addressed right away. All others should be blocked with a web application firewall or other methodologies.

Raise Your Castle Walls to Thwart Attacks
Any breach can have a severely adverse impact on your bottom line. Cloud, mobile and web application vulnerabilities are low-hanging fruit for hackers - they would rather pick these than go after the hard stuff.

Hacking, unfortunately for the rest of us, has become a lucrative profession, and intruders will continue to attack to earn their living. Whether their motive is financial gain, espionage, hacktivism or perhaps something even more pernicious, hackers will continue to fire shots until they penetrate.

Although you can't fire back at the enemy and can't be 100% secure, you can certainly raise the walls of your castle. This puts you in a much better position to thwart their attempts.

More Stories By Michelle Drolet

Michelle Drolet is founder of Towerwall, a data security services provider in Framingham, MA with clients such as PerkinElmer, Smith & Wesson, Middlesex Savings Bank, Brown University and SMBs. You may reach her at [email protected]

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale will exhibit 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. Outscale's technology makes an automated and adaptable Cloud available to businesses, supporting them in the most complex IT projects while controlling their operational aspects. You boost your IT infrastructure's reactivity, with request responses that only take a few seconds.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – 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 r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit 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. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit 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. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit 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. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit 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. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of 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. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, 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...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.