Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski, Steven Mandel, John Basso, Liz McMillan

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 Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Adobe has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of co...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, 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 opportuni...