|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|September 13, 2011 02:15 PM EDT||
We often get requests for best practices related to relational database security in the context of cloud computing. People want to install their database of choice, whether it be Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, or IBM DB2…
This is a complex question but it can be broken down by asking “what’s new in the cloud?” Many techniques that have existed for ages remain important, so let’s briefly review database security in general.
Database Security in Context
A database usually does not stand alone; it needs to be regarded in the light of the environment it inhabits. From the security perspective, it pays to stop and think about:
- Application security. The application which uses the database (“sits atop” the DB) is itself open to various attacks. Securing the application will close major attack vectors to the data, such as SQL injection
- Physical security. In the cloud context, it means choose a cloud provider that has implemented and documented security best practices
- Network security. Your cloud environment and 3rd part security software should include network security techniques such as firewalls, virtual private networks, and intrusion detection and prevention
- Host security. In the cloud, your instances (a.k.a virtual servers) should use an up-to-date and patched operating system, virus and malware protection, and monitor and log all activities
Having secured everything outside the database, you are still left with threats to the database itself. They often involve:
- Direct attacks on the data itself (in an attempt to get at it)
- Indirect attacks on the data (such as at the log files)
- Attempts to tamper with configuration
- Attempts to tamper with audit mechanisms
- Attempts to tamper with the DB software itself (e.g. tamper with the executables of the database software)
So far, these threats are recognizable to any database security expert with years of experience in the data center. So what changes in the cloud?
Data at Rest in the Cloud
At the end of the day, databases save “everything” on disks, often in files that may represent tables, configuration information, executable binaries, or other logical entities.
Defending and limiting access to these files is of course key. In the “old” data center, this was usually done by placing the disks in a (hopefully) secure location, i.e. in a room with good walls and restricted access. In the cloud, virtual disks are accessible through a browser, and also to some of the employees of the cloud provider; obviously some additional thinking is required to secure them.
Besides keeping your access credentials closely guarded, it is universally recommended that virtual disks with sensitive data should always be encrypted.
There are two basic ways to defend these files:
- File-level encryption. Basically you need to know which specific files you wish to protect, and encrypt them by an appropriate technique
- Full disk encryption. This encrypts everything on the disks
Full disk encryption today is the best practice. It ensures nothing is forgotten.
Encryption Keys in the Cloud
Encrypting your data at rest on virtual disks is definitely the right way to go. You should also consider were the encryption keys are kept, since if an attacker gets hold of the keys they will be able to decrypt your data.
It is recommended to avoid solutions that keep your keys right next to your data, since then you actually have no security.
It is also recommended to avoid vendors that tell you “don’t trust the cloud, but trust us, and let us save your keys”. There are a number of such vendors in the market. The fact is that cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace or Google – know their stuff. If you do not trust them with your precious data, why trust cloud vendor X?
One approach that does work from a security perspective – you can keep all your keys back in your data center. But that is cumbersome; in fact you went out to the cloud because you wanted to move out of the data center.
A unique solution does exist. Porticor provides its unique key management solution which allows you to trust no one but yourself, yet enjoy the full power of a pure cloud implementation. For more on this, see this white paper. This solution also fully implements full disk encryption, as noted above.
Database security in the cloud is a complex subject, yet entirely possible today.
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 development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. The DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo – to be held June 3-5, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City – will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,361
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way ...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,461
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
May. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,756
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to DevOps Summit 2015 as Conference Chair. The 4th International DevOps Summit will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at ...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,012
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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 bu...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,562
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edite...
May. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,847
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
May. 25, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,258
T-Mobile has been transforming the wireless industry with its “Uncarrier” initiatives. Today as T-Mobile’s IT organization works to transform itself in a like manner, technical foundations built over the last couple of years are now key to their drive for more Agile delivery practices. In his session at DevOps Summit, Martin Krienke, Sr Development Manager at T-Mobile, will discuss where they started their Continuous Delivery journey, where they are today, and where they are going in an effort ...
May. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,802
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
May. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,175
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers ...
May. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,287
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseDB (EDB), the leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class Postgres products and database compatibility solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EDB is the largest provider of Postgres software and services that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability and the open source freedom to divert budget from more costly traditiona...
May. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,900
Do you think development teams really update those BMC Remedy tickets with all the changes contained in a release? They don't. Most of them just "check the box" and move on. They rose a Risk Level that won't raise questions from the Change Control managers and they work around the checks and balances. The alternative is to stop and wait for a department that still thinks releases are rare events. When a release happens every day there's just not enough time for people to attend CAB meeting...
May. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,673
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud en...
May. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,082
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerizati...
May. 25, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,559
In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, president of Intellyx, panelists Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana; Lori MacVittie, IoT_Microservices Power PanelEvangelist for F5 Networks; and Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager; will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of ...
May. 25, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,857
SYS-CON Media named Andi Mann editor of DevOps Journal. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Andi Mann, Vice President, Strategic Solutions, at CA Technologies, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, communicator, and thought lea...
May. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,995
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...
May. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,794
Announced separately, New Relic is joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation to continue the support of customers and partners investing in this leading PaaS. As a member, New Relic is contributing the New Relic tile, service broker and build pack with the goal of easing the development of applications on Cloud Foundry and enabling the success of these applications without dedicated monitoring infrastructure. Supporting Quotes "The proliferation of microservices and new technologies like Docker ha...
May. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,098
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, will cover the union between the two topics and why this is important. He will cover an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then show how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He will end the session with some interesting case study examples.
May. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,233
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
May. 25, 2015 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,388