Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog, Pat Romanski, Ruxit 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.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, answered that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Several years ago, I was a developer in a travel reservation aggregator. Our mission was to pull flight and hotel data from a bunch of cryptic reservation platforms, and provide it to other companies via an API library - for a fee. That was before companies like Expedia standardized such things. We started with simple methods like getFlightLeg() or addPassengerName(), each performing a small, well-understood function. But our customers wanted bigger, more encompassing services that would "do ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
What does “big enough” mean? It’s sometimes useful to argue by reductio ad absurdum. Hello, world doesn’t need to be broken down into smaller services. At the other extreme, building a monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is just asking for trouble: it’s too big, and it needs to be decomposed.
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Docker containerization is increasingly being used in production environments. How can these environments best be monitored? Monitoring Docker containers as if they are lightweight virtual machines (i.e., monitoring the host from within the container), with all the common metrics that can be captured from an operating system, is an insufficient approach. Docker containers can’t be treated as lightweight virtual machines; they must be treated as what they are: isolated processes running on hosts....
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
The Microservices architectural pattern promises increased DevOps agility and can help enable continuous delivery of software. This session is for developers who are transforming existing applications to cloud-native applications, or creating new microservices style applications. In his session at DevOps Summit, Jim Bugwadia, CEO of Nirmata, will introduce best practices, patterns, challenges, and solutions for the development and operations of microservices style applications. He will discuss ...