Welcome!

Artificial Intelligence Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

Blog Feed Post

Cloud Security: Encryption Is Key

Cloud security should include a blend of traditional security elements combined with new “cloud-adjusted” security technologies

 

 Ariel%20Dan 0 Cloud Security: Encryption Is Key

Today, with enterprises migrating to the cloud, the security challenge around protecting data is greater than ever before. Keeping data private and secure has always been a business imperative. But for many companies and organizations, it has also become a compliance requirement and a necessity to stay in business. Standards including HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI DSS and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act all require that organizations protect their data at rest and provide defenses against data loss and threats.

Public cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than as a product, and is usually categorized into three service models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). When it comes to public cloud security, all leading cloud providers are investing significant efforts and resources in securing and certifying their datacenters. However, as cloud computing matures, enterprises are learning that cloud security cannot be delivered by the cloud provider alone. In fact, cloud providers make sure enterprises know that security is a shared responsibility, and that cloud customers do share responsibility for data security, protection from unauthorized access, and backup of their data.

 Vendor Solutions 468 Cloud Security: Encryption Is Key

Actually, this “shared responsibility” makes sense most of the time. The responsibility of cloud providers offering Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) reasonably extends to the network and the infrastructure they provide. In fact, a typical agreement between you and your cloud provider will usually state that “…you acknowledge that you bear sole responsibility for adequate security…” So businesses hosting their applications in the cloud understand that they must share responsibility for ensuring the security of their data.

As cloud computing becomes increasingly more mainstream, it’s harder to distinguish the generic security issues that an IT manager needs to tackle, from those that are specific to cloud computing. Issues such as roles and responsibilitiessecure application developmentleast privilege and many more apply equally well in traditional on-premise environments as they do in the cloud.

When an IT application is moved to a public cloud, all of the old security risks associated with it in the past still exist but, in addition, there are new risk vectors. Previously your servers and your data were physically protected within your server room. Now the “virtual servers” and “virtual storage devices” are accessible to you, the customer, via a browser; raising the concern that hackers may attempt to access the same. Here are some new risks scenarios to consider when migrating to the cloud:
  1. Snapshotting your virtual storage by gaining access to your cloud console.
    A malicious user might gain access to your cloud console by stealing your credentials or by exploiting vulnerabilities in cloud access control. In any case, once inside your account, a “snapshot” of your virtual disks will allow an attacker to move a copy of your virtual storage to his or her preferred location and abuse the data stored on those virtual disks. This risk is in our opinion the most obvious reason to deploy data encryption in the cloud, but surprisingly enough, not all companies are aware of the threat and unknowingly expose their cloud-residing data to this significant risk.
  2. Gaining access from a different server within the same account.
    Gaining access to sensitive data from a different virtual server inside the same account can be achieved by an attacker exploiting a vulnerability on that other server (such as a misconfiguration), or by one of your other cloud system administrators (a “malicious insider” from a different project in your own organization) using credentials or exploiting one of many known web application vulnerabilities to launch an attack on your virtual server. Unencrypted data can be exposed and stolen using this method.
  3. The insider threat.
    Though this scenario gets mentioned a lot, it’s unlikely that a cloud provider employee will be involved in data theft. The more realistic scenario is an accidental incident related to an insider with physical access to the data center. One well-known example is the HealthNet case where 1.9 million customer records of HealthNet, a major US health insurer, were lost after its IT vendor misplaced nine server drives following a move to a new data center. According to HIPAA rules, disk-level encryption would have negated the incident impact.

The industry consensus is that encryption is an essential first step in achieving cloud computing security. An effective solution needs to meet four critical needs: High security, convenient management, robust performance and regulatory compliance. Data at rest is no longer between the proverbial “four walls” of the enterprise; the data owner is managing their own data with browsers and cloud APIs, and the concern is that a hacker can do the same. As such, cloud encryption is recognized as a basic building block of cloud security, though one difficult question has remained – where to store the encryption keys, since the keys cannot safely be stored in the cloud along with the data.

Protecting Content with Cloud Encryption and Key Management
Encryption technology is only as secure as the encryption keys. You have to keep your keys in a safe place. You need a cloud key management solution that can support encryption of your data and should supply the encryption keys for files, databases (whether the complete database or at the column, table, or tablespace level), or disks. This is actually the trickiest security question when implementing encryption in the cloud and requires thought and expertise. For example, database encryption keys are often kept in a database “wallet,” which is often a file on your virtual disk. The concern is that hackers will attack the virtual disk in the cloud, and from there get access to the wallet, and through the wallet access the data.

Conclusion
Encrypting sensitive data in the cloud is an absolute must. Cloud security should include a blend of traditional security elements combined with new “cloud-adjusted” security technologies. Encryption should be a key part of your cloud security strategy due to the new cloud threat vectors (but also due to regulations such as the Patriot Act), and you should pay specific attention to key management.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Gilad Parann-Nissany

Gilad Parann-Nissany, Founder and CEO at Porticor is a pioneer of Cloud Computing. He has built SaaS Clouds for medium and small enterprises at SAP (CTO Small Business); contributing to several SAP products and reaching more than 8 million users. Recently he has created a consumer Cloud at G.ho.st - a cloud operating system that delighted hundreds of thousands of users while providing browser-based and mobile access to data, people and a variety of cloud-based applications. He is now CEO of Porticor, a leader in Virtual Privacy and Cloud Security.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
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 e...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...