Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Johnnie Konstantas, Cloud Best Practices Network, Sarah Patrick

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Don't Stick Your Head in the Sand, Create a Proactive Security Strategy

Preventing data leakage from the cloud

In business, data is currency. It is the oil that keeps the commercial engine in motion and databases are the digital banks that store and retrieve this valuable information. And, according to IDC, data is doubling every two years. But as the overall amount of data grows, so does the amount of sensitive and regulated data. All this data stored by enterprises requires high levels of security. Presently (again, according to IDC) only about a quarter of that data is being properly protected now. Like all currency, data must be protected.

And herein lays a key issue. Too many executives see security as a cost center and are often reticent to invest beyond the bare minimum--whatever keeps the nasty viruses out; whatever is absolutely necessary for compliance. Their thought process is akin to “we haven’t been attacked before…or we don't have a high enough profile for hackers to care” I call this “ostriching” – putting your head in the sand and hoping misfortune never darkens your door.

To substantiate this attitude many organizations look toward on premise-based protection that encrypts or monitors network traffic containing critical information. For the average company, this can be a budget buster and a significant resource drain...that is until they look toward the cloud and explore cloud-based security options.

Yet regardless of deployment options, most security experts will agree the best defense is a proactive strategy.

Data leak prevention (DLP), like most security efforts, is a complex challenge. It is meant to prevent the deliberate and inadvertent release of sensitive information. Too many companies are trying to cure the symptoms rather than prevent them in the first place.

Part of the protection equation is being overlooked. Database management systems must also be a component of a proactive data security strategy. Like the bank vault, it requires strong protections at its foundation. DLP is one part of a comprehensive enterprise data security program that includes comprehensive security best practices for the protection of mission-critical enterprise data repositories. The security must be able to both foil attackers who are financially motivated and won't be deterred by minimalist security and prevent the accidental release of data. Data security will go nowhere without robust, proactive database security.

To properly achieve these goals, organizations need to implement functions that comprise of a variety of solutions. And when used cooperatively, a company can instantly discover who is doing what and when on the network, identify the potential impact and take the necessary steps to prevent or allow access/usage. Just like a bank vault—security cameras follow you to see who you are, you need a password  to get into the vault itself (during business hours!) and your only allowed to open your own safety deposit box (as long as you have the key). Here are four proactive measures you can take:

Intrusion detection (security information and event monitoring): The first step in protection is to know who is proverbially knocking on the door…or sneaking around the back entrance. Activity monitoring and blocking is the first line of defense for your firewall and beyond (this includes BYOD access. And vigilance on the front lines create real time correlation to detect patterns of traffic, spot usage anomalies and prevent internal or external attacks. SIEM actually provides the forensic analysis that determines whether or not any access of a network is friendly/permissible, suspicious or threatening. This analysis is the basis of creating alerts to take appropriate action/alerts to prevent data leakage.

Traffic monitoring (Log Management): Once you know who’s accessing the network, log management looks to make sense of the patterns and historical usage so one can identify suspicious IP addresses, locations, and users as likely transgressors. If you can predict the traffic, then you can create the rules to block sources, prevent access and create a reportable audit trail of activity. But to be proactive, it must be continuous and in real time.  Looking at reams of machine logs days or weeks after might discover breaches and careless users, but it can’t prevent it. It is the proverbial equivalent of chasing the horse that has left the barn.

Provisioning: (Identity Management): One of the best ways of ensuring users only access data to which they are entitled to see or use is through proper delegation of user rights. This is handled through identity management provisioning. In well too many documented cases, a user (typically an employee) leaves the fold, but never relinquishes access to this sensitive information. Just as provisioning gives users certain rights, automatic de-provsioning keeps former employees and other away from certain sections of your database. And when connected to SIEM and Log Management, when and if deprovsioned users try to use retired passwords or accounts, you know about it when it happens!

Authentication and Credentialing: (Access Management) This is more than password management (and making sure these codes are more substantial than “password123” B making sure access is controlled by at least two or more credentialing (multi-factored authentication) For example, a hospital may choose to require authorized personnel to present a log in credentials like a password and a unique variable code to access certain protected/sensitive areas of the network or database. In doing so, they have additional protection against the use of lost or unauthorized credentials. It is another layer of protection that can deflect potential data leakage.

In this assessment, there are at least four individual solutions which require implementation and monitoring. If the executives were unwilling before, how can an IT department muster the leverage to find money or the proposed staffing to deploy this preventive strategy? The good news is they don’t have to do either. Through a unified security model (real time event and access correlation technology) from the cloud combines the capabilities and functionalities from each of these toolsets and creates a strong, cost-effective enterprise platform. It leverages the key features in a single cooperative, centralized  source that enhances visibility throughout the enterprise. All the cost saving benefits inherent with cloud computing are realized and as a security-as-a-service, the need for additional headcount is moot. Part of the service is the live expert analysts watching over your virtual borders 24/7/365.

The additional benefit it’s the ability to leverage existing programs into a REACT platform. If a company previously invested in a Log Management or Single Sign On solution, they can easily integrate the other pieces of the puzzle to ensure a layered, holistic approach. This way all the independent silos are monitored and covered. Because each of the solutions interact and intersect with one another, the seamless communication creates a layered, responsive defense that anticipates, controls and alerts as opposed attempting to put the toothpaste back into the tube. The damage of a breach (whether through user carelessness, internal sabotage or direct attack) is more than just the compliance fines and the blowback of the data currency affected. Substantial and detrimentally impactful as they are, they can’t touch the cost of broken trust. That, in itself, is a driving reason to get ahead on the issue of proactive security.

As enterprise systems are exposed to substantial risk from data loss, theft, or manipulation, unified security platforms from the cloud IS that fine balance of data leakage prevention, protection of IP assets, maintenance of compliance standards versus cost/resource responsibility. It is an accountable way of becoming proactive.

Kevin Nikkhoo

CloudAccess

More Stories By Kevin Nikkhoo

With more than 32 years of experience in information technology, and an extensive and successful entrepreneurial background, Kevin Nikkhoo is the CEO of the dynamic security-as-a-service startup Cloud Access. CloudAccess is at the forefront of the latest evolution of IT asset protection--the cloud.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from McGill University, Master of Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California with emphasis in entrepreneurial studies.

@CloudExpo Stories
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
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.
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
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...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
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...
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
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...
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 ...
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...
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...
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage 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. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
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 ...