Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, Automic Blog

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Deploying Cloud Security for Shifting and Evolving Defenses

Cloud offers agile and flexible defenses that consider situational context and real time management

A few weeks back I was watching my beloved San Diego Chargers lose in a most embarrassing way on Monday night. And in the waning seconds of blaming the quarterback for such ineffectual 2nd half play, it occurred to me, it wasn’t his fault.  It was the coach. It was the lack of planning for the type of attack the Denver Broncos would bring. It was the lack of leadership that should have easily closed the deal. In short, it was sticking to the status quo while everything around was changing.

My second epiphany was that this is a spot-on metaphor for the recent spate of bank hacks being levied by the hacktivist group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Not to make light of a serious issue, but the Charger collapse reminded me that the most insidious and effective attacks are not brute force in nature. In fact, most banks (according to compliance mandates) have decent processes to repel these attacks. In this case, the brutish DDoS (denial of service) was a feint to misdirect a smaller DDoS attack launched at the same time…and it was these more subtle attacks that were effective against 8 banks and counting. Continuing the football metaphor, it is like showing the blitz and falling back into tight pass defense resulting in the quarterback throwing an interception.

So the moral of the story is organizations need to evolve their security platforms to provide an agile shifting defense and change with the scenarios.

Now this is not to say the sky is falling, but a reputable IT security report noted a 50% increase in total number of DDoS attacks since Q2 of 2011 and a 10% increase since April. This means it’s time to look at your defensive processes and ensure they transcend compliance code. But moreso, to start anticipating what new threats, compliance requirements and business needs might be coming your way. You can’t be that guy who says “I’ll worry about it when I have to worry about it.” You simply can’t be paralyzed by the status quo. It’s a recipe for throwing 4 interceptions in the second half and squandering a 24 point lead.

We grouse a great deal about the burden of compliance, but they create a wall of protection that would otherwise create greater vulnerabilities. But all the audits, all the bureaucracy…it simply detracts from you being able to do the job you were hired to do. So the question begs, how do we evolve? How can we make security management easier yet stronger. Effective yet efficient. Agile yet layered? Proactive rather than reactive? If these questions are keeping you up at night, then it is time you took a deeper look at security-as-a-service or security managed from the cloud.

If you approach the security issue from the traditional sense of on-premise brick-building, server-stacking, resource-adding development, then yes, there are significantly costs in capital expenditures, human resources, and still not guaranteed that you have the necessary functionality, capability and visibility to anticipate tomorrow’s issues.

However…

By implementing a best-of-breed enterprise you gain a holistic view of what’s happening to your enterprise in real time. And because of the cloud computing advantages, the price point is very affordable (for what you are paying in support and maintenance, you could integrate an entire enterprise solution). You gain capability, you lessen expenses and, if your vendor also practices security as a service, your automated efficiencies come with 7/24/365 review of your logs by a live expert analyst.

But let’s put a real face on potential changes. Take FFIEC standards; very soon they will be more than guidelines. It's highly likely they will become compliance mandates. And they force you to address possible vulnerability gaps in your enterprise. Will you be prepared to meet the shifts in emphasis?

  • Layered security:

Most compliance-beholden organizations must recognize that security is not just about implementing virus scan and configuring firewalls. Ways and devices people reach your networks are changing quickly. Beyond log management protocols, you might need to add a SIEM or access management components. But the interpretation of layered security is choosing what is monitored and not relying on just a firewall to beat back possible intrusions, worms, phishing expeditions and user carelessness. You need multiple means, protocols and processes managed centrally.

  • Real-time, intelligence based assessment

There’s a saying in security circles: If you’ve noticed it, it’s already too late. The goal is to prevent, alert and remediate. And the only way to do this is through round the clock vigilance. Anything less than 24/7/365 monitoring opens the risk door too wide. It’s a cliché, but we are all acutely aware that hackers don’t sleep. But part of the question is not that monitoring is active, but how is it monitored? What data is collected? If you automate too much, you lose the human expertise; the context and the ability to respond effectively. Cloud-based security can cover a large enterprise or modest SMB with the same watchfulness while integrating the human intelligence assessment. Additionally, it provides additional resources, wider intelligence and greater coverage you don't have to fund.

  • Rapid adaptation against evolving threats

By applying a solution that uses real-time forensics including advanced correlations to examine for specific patterns, you create real time operational visibility. By recognizing traffic patterns correlated with a variety of other rules and processes you not only remove the false positive alerts, but can predict where your perimeter is soft and takes the necessary steps to shore them up.

  • Protect against ID and personal theft

Passwords are not enough. Time and again this has proven to be the weakest link. However, by instituting a solution that includes multi-credentialing, identity management, provisioning and the like, you can secure access to the most sensitive information. And if you make is easy for the user and minimize the impact of their usage experience, you take another step in maintaining the necessary trust while still ensuring people only see what they are supposed to see.

And all this can be deployed and managed from the cloud. The technology and security of these features has already matured to meet the concept.

These FFIEC guidelines seem very vague, but their meaning is clear: today’s operation needs to change. Not to keep up with the bureaucracy, but to improve the scalability, flexibility and control of an often volatile and fluid IT threatscape. However, don’t mistake this as a suggestion for mega-suite replacement. This should be part of any go-forward initiative that builds on or what is already in place. The cloud provides that agility to maintain an enterprise-powered security solution, yet adapt to the changing needs faster and more completely than most organizations can do on their own.

With that said, the best defense against an aggressive opponent is knowing what play is being called. Your holistic view gives you the ability to predict when the blitzes are coming, from what side, and most important, provide the flexibility to call an audible. One thing is for certain, you just can't stand still anymore; you can't rely on the status quo I just wish the Chargers saw that on Monday.

As an additional note, I participated in the development of a white paper for Fairway Technologies called , Get Your Head Into The Clouds! Industry Experts Answer Today’s Cloud Computing Questions ! Fairway’s collaborative new report not only examines the cloud computing issues that are dominating the industry, but also identifies key challenges behind cloud adoption and implementation, and presents best practices for organizations to develop and implement a sound cloud strategy. Guidance on cloud service brokers, open source cloud, data destruction, cloud bursting, and other topical issues are also discussed.

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and 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 CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
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 looked 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 deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...