Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: 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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.