Click here to close now.


@BigDataExpo Authors: Anders Wallgren, Greg O'Connor, Mehdi Daoudi, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White

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


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.

@BigDataExpo Stories
The revocation of Safe Harbor has radically affected data sovereignty strategy in the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Jeff Miller, Product Management at Cavirin Systems, discussed how to assess these changes across your own cloud strategy, and how you can mitigate risks previously covered under the agreement.
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.