|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.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Dec. 10, 2016 03:15 AM EST Reads: 406
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 10, 2016 02:15 AM EST Reads: 786
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 10, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 584
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 761
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,263
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 11:30 PM EST Reads: 1,155
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...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:45 PM EST Reads: 550
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:00 PM EST Reads: 328
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,287
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 9, 2016 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,030
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:45 PM EST Reads: 5,150
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 9, 2016 06:15 PM EST Reads: 1,771
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,377
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,479
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 9, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,901
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,324
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 9, 2016 04:45 PM EST Reads: 1,872
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 1,254
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Dec. 9, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 997
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 897