May 20 2024


Category: Least Privilegedisc7 @ 10:19 am

The Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) is a foundational concept in cybersecurity, aimed at minimizing the risk of security breaches. By granting users and applications the minimum levels of access—or permissions—needed to perform their tasks, organizations can significantly reduce their attack surface. In the context of cloud computing, implementing PoLP is critical. This article explores how to enforce PoLP in the three major cloud platforms(cloud security): Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).


1. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

AWS IAM is the core service for managing permissions. To implement PoLP:

  • Create Fine-Grained Policies: Define granular IAM policies that specify exact actions allowed on specific resources. Use JSON policy documents to customize permissions precisely.
  • Use IAM Roles: Instead of assigning permissions directly to users, create roles with specific permissions and assign these roles to users or services. This reduces the risk of over-permissioning.
  • Adopt IAM Groups: Group users with similar access requirements together. Assign permissions to groups instead of individual users to simplify management.
  • Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Require MFA for all users, especially those with elevated privileges, to add an extra layer of security.

2. AWS Organizations and Service Control Policies (SCPs)

  • Centralized Management: Use AWS Organizations to manage multiple AWS accounts. Implement SCPs at the organizational unit (OU) level to enforce PoLP across accounts.
  • Restrict Root Account Usage: Ensure the root account is used sparingly and secure it with strong MFA.

3. AWS Resource Access Manager (RAM)

  • Share Resources Securely: Use RAM to share AWS resources securely across accounts without creating redundant copies, adhering to PoLP.


1. Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Azure RBAC enables fine-grained access management:

  • Define Custom Roles: Create custom roles tailored to specific job functions, limiting permissions to only what is necessary.
  • Use Built-in Roles: Start with built-in roles which already follow PoLP principles for common scenarios, then customize as needed.
  • Assign Roles at Appropriate Scope: Assign roles at the narrowest scope possible (management group, subscription, resource group, or resource).

2. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)

  • Conditional Access Policies: Implement conditional access policies to enforce MFA and restrict access based on conditions like user location or device compliance.
  • Privileged Identity Management (PIM): Use PIM to manage, control, and monitor access to important resources within Azure AD, providing just-in-time privileged access.

3. Azure Policy

  • Policy Definitions: Create and assign policies to enforce organizational standards and PoLP. For example, a policy to restrict VM sizes to specific configurations.
  • Initiative Definitions: Group multiple policies into initiatives to ensure comprehensive compliance across resources.


1. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

GCP IAM allows for detailed access control:

  • Custom Roles: Define custom roles to grant only the necessary permissions.
  • Predefined Roles: Use predefined roles which provide granular access and adhere to PoLP.
  • Least Privilege Principle in Service Accounts: Create and use service accounts with specific roles instead of using default or highly privileged accounts.

2. Resource Hierarchy

  • Organization Policies: Use organization policies to enforce constraints on resources across the organization, such as restricting who can create certain resources.
  • Folder and Project Levels: Apply IAM policies at the folder or project level to ensure permissions are inherited appropriately and follow PoLP.

3. Cloud Identity

  • Conditional Access: Implement conditional access using Cloud Identity to enforce MFA and restrict access based on user and device attributes.
  • Context-Aware Access: Use context-aware access to allow access to apps and resources based on a user’s identity and the context of their request.


As a Cloud Security Analyst, ensuring the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) is critical to minimizing security risks. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed steps to implement PoLP in AWS, Azure, and GCP.



  1. Access the IAM Console:
    • Navigate to the AWS IAM Console.
    • Review existing policies under the “Policies” section.
    • Look for policies with wildcards (*), which grant broad permissions, and replace them with more specific permissions.
  2. Audit IAM Roles:
    • In the IAM Console, go to “Roles.”
    • Check each role’s attached policies. Ensure that each role has the minimum required permissions.
    • Remove or update roles that are overly permissive.


  1. Set Up Access Analyzer:
    • In the IAM Console, select “Access Analyzer.”
    • Create an analyzer and let it run. It will provide findings on resources shared with external entities.
    • Review the findings and take action to refine overly broad permissions.


  1. Simulate Policies:
    • Go to the IAM Policy Simulator.
    • Simulate the policies attached to your users, groups, and roles to understand what permissions they actually grant.
    • Adjust policies based on the simulation results to ensure they provide only the necessary permissions.


  1. Enable AWS CloudTrail:
    • In the AWS Management Console, go to “CloudTrail.”
    • Create a new trail to log API calls across your AWS account.
    • Enable logging and monitor the CloudTrail logs regularly to detect any unauthorized or suspicious activity.
  2. Use AWS Config:
    • Navigate to the AWS Config Console.
    • Set up AWS Config to monitor and evaluate the configurations of your AWS resources.
    • Implement AWS Config Rules to check for compliance with your least privilege policies.


  1. AWS Trusted Advisor:
    • Access Trusted Advisor from the AWS Management Console.
    • Review the “Security” section for recommendations on IAM security best practices.
  2. AWS Security Hub:
    • Enable Security Hub from the Security Hub Console.
    • Use Security Hub to get a comprehensive view of your security posture, including IAM-related findings.



  1. Azure AD Roles:
    • Navigate to the Azure Active Directory.
    • Under “Roles and administrators,” review each role and its assignments.
    • Ensure users are assigned only to roles with necessary permissions.
  2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC):
    • Go to the “Resource groups” or individual resources in the Azure portal.
    • Under “Access control (IAM),” review role assignments.
    • Remove or modify roles that provide excessive permissions.


  1. Review Resource Policies:
    • For each resource (e.g., storage accounts, VMs), review the access policies to ensure they grant only necessary permissions.
  2. Network Security Groups (NSGs):
    • Navigate to “Network security groups” in the Azure portal.
    • Review inbound and outbound rules to ensure they allow only necessary traffic.


  1. Azure Activity Logs:
    • Access the Activity Logs.
    • Monitor logs for changes in role assignments and access patterns.
  2. Azure Security Center:
    • Open Azure Security Center.
    • Regularly review security recommendations and alerts, especially those related to IAM.


  1. Azure Policy:
    • Create and assign policies using the Azure Policy portal.
    • Enforce policies that require the use of least privilege access.
  2. Azure Blueprints:
    • Use Azure Blueprints to define and deploy resource configurations that comply with organizational standards.
  3. Privileged Identity Management (PIM):
    • In Azure AD, go to “Privileged Identity Management” under “Manage.”
    • Enable PIM to manage, control, and monitor privileged access.



  1. Review IAM Policies:
    • Access the IAM & admin console.
    • Review each policy and role for overly permissive permissions.
    • Avoid using predefined roles with broad permissions; prefer custom roles with specific permissions.
  2. Create Custom Roles:
    • In the IAM console, navigate to “Roles.”
    • Create custom roles that provide the minimum necessary permissions for specific job functions.


  1. Service Accounts:
    • In the IAM & admin console, go to “Service accounts.”
    • Review the permissions granted to each service account and ensure they are scoped to the least privilege.
  2. VPC Firewall Rules:
    • Navigate to the VPC network section and select “Firewall rules.”
    • Review and restrict firewall rules to allow only essential traffic.


  1. Cloud Audit Logs:
    • Enable and configure Cloud Audit Logs for all services.
    • Regularly review logs to monitor access and detect unusual activities.
  2. IAM Recommender:
    • In the IAM console, use the IAM Recommender to get suggestions for refining IAM policies based on actual usage patterns.
  3. Access Transparency:
    • Enable Access Transparency to get logs of Google Cloud administrator accesses.


  1. Security Command Center:
    • Access the Security Command Center for a centralized view of your security posture.
    • Use it to monitor and manage security findings and recommendations.
  2. Forseti Security:
    • Deploy Forseti Security for continuous monitoring and auditing of your GCP environment.
  3. Policy Intelligence:
    • Use tools like Policy Troubleshooter to debug access issues and Policy Analyzer to compare policies.


  1. Schedule Periodic Reviews:
    • Regularly review IAM roles, policies, and access patterns across your GCP projects.
    • Use the Resource Manager to organize resources and apply IAM policies efficiently.

By following these detailed steps, you can ensure that the Principle of Least Privilege is effectively implemented across AWS, Azure, and GCP, thus maintaining a secure and compliant cloud environment.

Implementing the Principle of Least Privilege in AWS, Azure, and GCP requires a strategic approach to access management. By leveraging the built-in tools and services provided by these cloud platforms, organizations can enhance their security posture, minimize risks, and ensure compliance with security policies. Regular reviews, continuous monitoring, and automation are key to maintaining an effective PoLP strategy in the dynamic cloud environment.

Securing DevOps: Security in the Cloud 

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Tags: cloud security, least privilege, Security in the Cloud

Apr 08 2024

Implement Network Segmentation and Encryption in Cloud Environments

Explore Cloud Security

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Tags: cloud security, encryption, Network segmentation

Mar 21 2024


Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) is an evolving cybersecurity practice focused on identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and addressing security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital assets and networks continuously. Unlike traditional approaches that might assess threats periodically, CTEM emphasizes a proactive, ongoing process of evaluation and mitigation to adapt to the rapidly changing threat landscape. Here’s a closer look at its key components:

  1. Identification: CTEM starts with the continuous identification of all digital assets within an organization’s environment, including on-premises systems, cloud services, and remote endpoints. It involves understanding what assets exist, where they are located, and their importance to the organization.
  2. Assessment: Regular and ongoing assessments of these assets are conducted to identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other security weaknesses. This process often utilizes automated scanning tools and threat intelligence to detect issues that could be exploited by attackers.
  3. Prioritization: Not all vulnerabilities pose the same level of risk. CTEM involves prioritizing these weaknesses based on their severity, the value of the affected assets, and the potential impact of an exploit. This helps organizations focus their efforts on the most critical issues first.
  4. Mitigation and Remediation: Once vulnerabilities are identified and prioritized, CTEM focuses on mitigating or remedying these issues. This can involve applying patches, changing configurations, or implementing other security measures to reduce the risk of exploitation.
  5. Continuous Improvement: CTEM is a cyclical process that feeds back into itself. The effectiveness of mitigation efforts is assessed, and the approach is refined over time to improve security posture continuously.

The goal of CTEM is to reduce the “attack surface” of an organization—minimizing the number of vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers and thereby reducing the organization’s overall risk. By continuously managing and reducing exposure to threats, organizations can better protect against breaches and cyber attacks.


Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) represents a proactive and ongoing approach to managing cybersecurity risks, distinguishing itself from traditional, more reactive security practices. Understanding the differences between CTEM and alternative approaches can help organizations choose the best strategy for their specific needs and threat landscapes. Let’s compare CTEM with some of these alternative approaches:


  • Periodic Security Assessments typically involve scheduled audits or evaluations of an organization’s security posture at fixed intervals (e.g., quarterly or annually). This approach may fail to catch new vulnerabilities or threats that emerge between assessments, leaving organizations exposed for potentially long periods.
  • CTEM, on the other hand, emphasizes continuous monitoring and assessment of threats and vulnerabilities. It ensures that emerging threats can be identified and addressed in near real-time, greatly reducing the window of exposure.


  • Penetration Testing is a targeted approach where security professionals simulate cyber-attacks on a system to identify vulnerabilities. While valuable, penetration tests are typically conducted annually or semi-annually and might not uncover vulnerabilities introduced between tests.
  • CTEM complements penetration testing by continuously scanning for and identifying vulnerabilities, ensuring that new threats are addressed promptly and not just during the next scheduled test.


  • Incident Response Planning focuses on preparing for, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity incidents. It’s reactive by nature, kicking into gear after an incident has occurred.
  • CTEM works upstream of incident response by aiming to prevent incidents before they happen through continuous threat and vulnerability management. While incident response is a critical component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, CTEM can reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents occurring in the first place.


  • Traditional Vulnerability Management involves identifying, classifying, remediating, and mitigating vulnerabilities within software and hardware. While it can be an ongoing process, it often lacks the continuous, real-time monitoring and prioritization framework of CTEM.
  • CTEM enhances traditional vulnerability management by integrating it into a continuous cycle that includes real-time detection, prioritization based on current threat intelligence, and immediate action to mitigate risks.


  • Real-Time Threat Intelligence: CTEM integrates the latest threat intelligence to ensure that the organization’s security measures are always ahead of potential threats.
  • Automation and Integration: By leveraging automation and integrating various security tools, CTEM can streamline the process of threat and vulnerability management, reducing the time from detection to remediation.
  • Risk-Based Prioritization: CTEM prioritizes vulnerabilities based on their potential impact on the organization, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively to address the most critical issues first.

CTEM offers a comprehensive and continuous approach to cybersecurity, focusing on reducing exposure to threats in a dynamic and ever-evolving threat landscape. While alternative approaches each have their place within an organization’s overall security strategy, integrating them with CTEM principles can provide a more resilient and responsive defense mechanism against cyber threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) within an AWS Cloud environment involves leveraging AWS services and tools, alongside third-party solutions and best practices, to continuously identify, assess, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities and threats. Here’s a detailed example of how CTEM can be applied in AWS:


  • AWS Config: Use AWS Config to continuously monitor and record AWS resource configurations and changes, helping to identify which assets exist in your environment, their configurations, and their interdependencies.
  • AWS Resource Groups: Organize resources by applications, projects, or environments to simplify management and monitoring.


  • Amazon Inspector: Automatically assess applications for vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices, especially important for EC2 instances and container-based applications.
  • AWS Security Hub: Aggregates security alerts and findings from various AWS services (like Amazon Inspector, Amazon GuardDuty, and IAM Access Analyzer) and supported third-party solutions to give a comprehensive view of your security and compliance status.


  • AWS Security Hub: Provides a consolidated view of security alerts and findings rated by severity, allowing you to prioritize issues based on their potential impact on your AWS environment.
  • Custom Lambda Functions: Create AWS Lambda functions to automate the analysis and prioritization process, using criteria specific to your organization’s risk tolerance and security posture.


  • AWS Systems Manager Patch Manager: Automate the process of patching managed instances with both security and non-security related updates.
  • CloudFormation Templates: Use AWS CloudFormation to enforce infrastructure configurations that meet your security standards. Quickly redeploy configurations if deviations are detected.
  • Amazon EventBridge and AWS Lambda: Automate responses to security findings. For example, if Security Hub detects a critical vulnerability, EventBridge can trigger a Lambda function to isolate affected instances or apply necessary patches.


  • AWS Well-Architected Tool: Regularly review your workloads against AWS best practices to identify areas for improvement.
  • Feedback Loop: Implement a feedback loop using AWS CloudWatch Logs and Amazon Elasticsearch Service to analyze logs and metrics for security insights, which can inform the continuous improvement of your CTEM processes.


Imagine you’re managing a web application hosted on AWS. Here’s how CTEM comes to life:

  • Identification: Use AWS Config and Resource Groups to maintain an updated inventory of your EC2 instances, RDS databases, and S3 buckets critical to your application.
  • Assessment: Employ Amazon Inspector to regularly scan your EC2 instances for vulnerabilities and AWS Security Hub to assess your overall security posture across services.
  • Prioritization: Security Hub alerts you to a critical vulnerability in an EC2 instance running your application backend. It’s flagged as high priority due to its access to sensitive data.
  • Mitigation and Remediation: You automatically trigger a Lambda function through EventBridge based on the Security Hub finding, which isolates the affected EC2 instance and initiates a patching process via Systems Manager Patch Manager.
  • Continuous Improvement: Post-incident, you use the AWS Well-Architected Tool to evaluate your architecture. Insights gained lead to the implementation of stricter IAM policies and enhanced monitoring with CloudWatch and Elasticsearch for anomaly detection.

This cycle of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, mitigating, and continuously improving forms the core of CTEM in AWS, helping to ensure that your cloud environment remains secure against evolving threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) in Azure involves utilizing a range of Azure services and features designed to continuously identify, assess, prioritize, and mitigate security risks. Below is a step-by-step example illustrating how an organization can apply CTEM principles within the Azure cloud environment:


  • Azure Resource Graph: Use Azure Resource Graph to query and visualize all resources across your Azure environment. This is crucial for understanding what assets you have, their configurations, and their interrelationships.
  • Azure Tags: Implement tagging strategies to categorize resources based on sensitivity, department, or environment. This aids in the prioritization process later on.


  • Azure Security Center: Enable Azure Security Center (ASC) at the Standard tier to conduct continuous security assessments across your Azure resources. ASC provides security recommendations and assesses your resources for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
  • Azure Defender: Integrated into Azure Security Center, Azure Defender provides advanced threat protection for workloads running in Azure, including virtual machines, databases, and containers.


  • ASC Secure Score: Use the Secure Score in Azure Security Center as a metric to prioritize security recommendations based on their potential impact on your environment’s security posture.
  • Custom Logic with Azure Logic Apps: Develop custom workflows using Azure Logic Apps to prioritize alerts based on your organization’s specific criteria, such as asset sensitivity or compliance requirements.


  • Azure Automation: Employ Azure Automation to run remediation scripts or configurations management across your Azure VMs and services. This can be used to automatically apply patches, update configurations, or manage access controls in response to identified vulnerabilities.
  • Azure Logic Apps: Trigger automated workflows in response to security alerts. For example, if Azure Security Center identifies an unprotected data storage, an Azure Logic App can automatically initiate a workflow to apply the necessary encryption settings.


  • Azure Monitor: Utilize Azure Monitor to collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data from your Azure resources. This includes logs, metrics, and alerts that can help you detect and respond to threats in real-time.
  • Azure Sentinel: Deploy Azure Sentinel, a cloud-native SIEM service, for a more comprehensive security information and event management solution. Sentinel can collect data across all users, devices, applications, and infrastructure, both on-premises and in multiple clouds.


  • Azure Policy: Implement Azure Policy to enforce organizational standards and to assess compliance at scale. Continuous evaluation of your configurations against these policies ensures compliance and guides ongoing improvement.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish feedback loops using the insights gained from Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center, and Azure Sentinel to refine and improve your security posture continuously.


Let’s say you’re managing a web application hosted in Azure, utilizing Azure App Service for the web front end, Azure SQL Database for data storage, and Azure Blob Storage for unstructured data.

  • Identification: You catalog all resources related to the web application using Azure Resource Graph and apply tags based on sensitivity and function.
  • Assessment: Azure Security Center continuously assesses these resources for vulnerabilities, such as misconfigurations or outdated software.
  • Prioritization: Based on the Secure Score and custom logic in Azure Logic Apps, you prioritize a detected SQL injection vulnerability in Azure SQL Database as critical.
  • Mitigation: Azure Automation is triggered to isolate the affected database and apply a patch. Concurrently, Azure Logic Apps notifies the security team and logs the incident for review.
  • Monitoring: Azure Monitor and Azure Sentinel provide ongoing surveillance, detecting any unusual access patterns or potential breaches.
  • Improvement: Insights from the incident lead to a review and enhancement of the application’s code and a reinforcement of security policies through Azure Policy to prevent similar vulnerabilities in the future.

By following these steps and utilizing Azure’s comprehensive suite of security tools, organizations can implement an effective CTEM strategy that continuously protects against evolving cyber threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) in cloud environments like AWS and Azure involves a series of strategic steps, leveraging each platform’s unique tools and services. The approach combines best practices for security and compliance management, automation, and continuous monitoring. Here’s a guide to get started with CTEM in both AWS and Azure:


  1. Understand Your Environment
    • Catalogue your cloud resources and services.
    • Understand the data flow and dependencies between your cloud assets.
  2. Define Your Security Policies and Objectives
    • Establish what your security baseline looks like.
    • Define key compliance requirements and security objectives.
  3. Integrate Continuous Monitoring Tools
    • Leverage cloud-native tools for threat detection, vulnerability assessment, and compliance monitoring.
    • Integrate third-party security tools if necessary for enhanced capabilities.
  4. Automate Security Responses
    • Implement automated responses to common threats and vulnerabilities.
    • Use cloud services to automate patch management and configuration adjustments.
  5. Continuously Assess and Refine
    • Regularly review security policies and controls.
    • Adjust based on new threats, technological advancements, and changes in the business environment.


  1. Enable AWS Security Services
    • Utilize AWS Security Hub for a comprehensive view of your security state and to centralize and prioritize security alerts.
    • Use Amazon Inspector for automated security assessments to help find vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices.
    • Implement AWS Config to continuously monitor and record AWS resource configurations.
  2. Automate Response with AWS Lambda
    • Use AWS Lambda to automate responses to security findings, such as isolating compromised instances or automatically patching vulnerabilities.
  3. Leverage Amazon CloudWatch
    • Employ CloudWatch for monitoring and alerting based on specific metrics or logs that indicate potential security threats.


  1. Utilize Azure Security Tools
    • Activate Azure Security Center for continuous assessment and security recommendations. Use its advanced threat protection features to detect and mitigate threats.
    • Implement Azure Sentinel for SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) capabilities, integrating it with other Azure services for a comprehensive security analysis and threat detection.
  2. Automate with Azure Logic Apps
    • Use Azure Logic Apps to automate responses to security alerts, such as sending notifications or triggering remediation processes.
  3. Monitor with Azure Monitor
    • Leverage Azure Monitor to collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data from your Azure and on-premises environments, helping you detect and respond to threats in real-time.


  • Continuous Compliance: Use policy-as-code to enforce and automate compliance standards across your cloud environments.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Implement strict IAM policies to ensure least privilege access and utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security.
  • Encrypt Data: Ensure data at rest and in transit is encrypted using the cloud providers’ encryption capabilities.
  • Educate Your Team: Regularly train your team on the latest cloud security best practices and the specific tools and services you are using.

Implementing CTEM in AWS and Azure requires a deep understanding of each cloud environment’s unique features and capabilities. By leveraging the right mix of tools and services, organizations can create a robust security posture that continuously identifies, assesses, and mitigates threats.

AWS Security

Azure Security

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Tags: AWS, AWS security, Azure, Azure Security, cloud security

Dec 26 2023

Tackling cloud security challenges head-on

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 8:22 am

Cloud security is a critical aspect of modern computing, as businesses and individuals increasingly rely on cloud services to store, process, and manage data. Cloud computing offers numerous benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency, but it also introduces unique security challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.

In this Help Net Security round-up, we present segments from previously recorded videos in which security experts share their insights and experiences, shedding light on critical aspects of cloud security.

Complete videos

  • Paul Calatayud, CISO at Aqua Security, talks about cloud native security and the problem with the lack of understanding of risks to this environment.
  • Jane Wong, VP of Security Products at Splunk, talks about challenges organizations are facing to secure their multicloud environments.
  • Keith Nakasone, Federal Strategist at VMware, discusses how government agencies can scale the use of multicloud environments for mission success.
  • Dimitri Sirota, CEO at BigID, discusses how companies are unprepared to deal with the unique challenges of securing data in the cloud.
  • Andrew Slater, Practice Director – Cloud at Node4, talks about how organizations have encountered challenges in getting the final 20-30% of their production workloads into public cloud environments and addresses the cybersecurity implications.

Cloud Security Career Handbook: A beginner’s guide to starting and succeeding in Cloud Security

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Tags: cloud security, Cloud Security Career

Dec 01 2023

Bridging the gap between cloud vs on-premise security

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 9:56 am

The widespread adoption of SaaS applications, remote work, and shadow IT compels organizations to adopt cloud-based cybersecurity. This is essential as corporate resources, traffic, and threats are no longer restricted to the office premises.

Cloud-based security initiatives, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Security Service Edge (SSE), comprising Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), effectively push security to wherever the corporate users, devices, and resources are – all via the cloud. With all security functions now delivered over the cloud and managed through a single pane of glass, the incoming and outgoing traffic (aka, the north-south traffic) is all but secure.

However, the east-west traffic — i.e., traffic that traverses the internal network and data centers and does not cross the network perimeter — is never exposed to these cloud-based security checks.

One way around it is to maintain a legacy data center firewall that monitors and controls the east-west traffic specifically. For starters, this hybrid security architecture adds up the cost and complexity of managing disparate security solutions, something organizations desperately attempt to overcome with cloud-based converged security stacks.

Secondly, the absence of unified visibility across cloud and on-premise security components can result in a loss of shared context, which renders security loopholes inevitable. Even Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) or Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions can’t address the complexity and operational overhead of maintaining a hybrid security stack for different kinds of traffic. As such, organizations still need that single, integrated security stack that offers ubiquitous protection for incoming, outgoing, and internal traffic, managed via a unified dashboard.

Extending cloud-native security to east-west traffic

Organizations need a security solution that offers both north-south and east-west protection, but it must all be orchestrated from a unified, cloud-based console. There are two ways to achieve this:

1. Via WAN firewall policy

Cloud-native security architectures like SASE and SSE can offer the east-west protection typically delivered by a data center firewall by rerouting all internal traffic through the closest point of presence (PoP). Unlike a local firewall that comes with its own configuration and management constraints, firewall policies configured in the SSE PoP can be managed via the platform’s centralized management console. Within the unified console, admins can create access policies based on ZTNA principles. For instance, they can allow only authorized users connected to the corporate VLAN and running an authorized, Active Directory-registered device to access sensitive resources hosted within the on-premise data center.

In some cases, however, organizations may need to implement east-west traffic protection locally without redirecting the traffic to the PoP.

2. Via LAN firewall policy

Consider a situation where a CCTV camera connected to an IoT VLAN needs to access an internal CCTV server.

Given the susceptibility of the IoT camera to be compromised by a malicious threat actor and controlled over the internet via a remote C2 server, the camera’s internet or WAN access should be disabled by default. If the data center firewall policy is implemented in the PoP, the traffic from internet-disabled IoT devices will naturally be exempt from such policies. To bridge this gap, SASE and SSE platforms can allow admins to configure firewall policies at the local SD-WAN device.

Typically, organizations connect to the SASE or SSE PoPs through an SD-WAN device, also known as a socket, installed at the site. The centralized dashboard can allow admins to configure rules for allowing or blocking internal or LAN traffic directly at the SD-WAN device, without ever sending it to the PoP over WAN.

In this scenario, if the traffic matches the pre-configured LAN firewall policies, the rules can be enforced locally. For instance, admins can allow corporate VLAN users to access printers connected to the printer VLAN while denying such access to guest Wi-Fi users. If the traffic does not match pre-defined policies, the traffic can be forwarded to the PoP for further classification.

Cloud-based east-west protection is the way to go

As security functions move increasingly to the cloud, it’s crucial not to lose sight of the controls and security measures needed on-site.

Cloud-native protections aim to increase coverage while reducing complexities and boosting convergence. As critical as it is to enable east-west traffic protection within SASE and SSE architectures, it’s equally important to maintain the unified visibility, control, and management offered by such platforms. To achieve this, organizations must avoid getting carried away by emerging threats and adding back disparate security solutions.

As such, any on-premise security measures added within cloud-based security paradigms should maintain a unified dashboard for granular policy configuration and end-to-end visibility across LAN and WAN traffic. This is the only way organizations can reliably bridge the gap between cloud and on-premise security and enable a sustainable, adaptable, and future-proof security stack.

The Azure Cloud Native Architecture Mapbook: Explore Microsoft Cloud’s infrastructure, application, data, and security architecture

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Tags: cloud security, The Azure Cloud Native Architecture

Nov 06 2023

Cloud security guidance

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 9:52 am

How to choose, configure and use cloud services securely.

If you want to store and process data in the cloud, or use cloud platforms to build and host your own services, this guidance will help you do so securely.

Cloud usage continues to grow steadily, both in volume and the type of services being built and hosted in it. In fact, cloud is usually the preferred option when organisations procure new IT services, as reflected in the UK government’s Cloud First Policy.

Against this background, it’s essential that new services are chosen and built in a way which reflects their security needs.

Who is this guidance for?

All organisations can use this guidance to navigate the sometimes confusing array of technologies which make up ‘the cloud’, and the management models which underpin their use.

More particularly:


Individuals looking for advice about how to use online services securely should refer to our Cyber Aware advice on staying secure online.

This collection contains

Introduction to cloud security

Defining some common terms, and providing background on the various sections of this guide.

Understanding cloud services

Cloud services can be seen from a number of perspectives. This section considers:

  • service models and deployment models
  • the ‘shared responsibility model’ used by many cloud providers to handle day-to-day management of security
  • two specific security techniques; separation and cryptography

Choosing a cloud provider

The cloud security principles and how to use them, along with our lightweight security framework and some vendor responses to the principles.

Using cloud services securely

Some actions that customers of cloud services will need to take. This includes advice for cloud platforms and software as a service (SaaS), and those looking to lift and shift into the cloud.

Next page

Introduction to cloud security

Practical Cloud Security: A Guide for Secure Design and Deployment 

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Tags: cloud security

Apr 10 2023

What is Cloud Mining and How Does it Work?

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 8:18 am

Cloud mining is a way for you to purchase mining power from a remote data centre. Cloud mining works in the same way as regular cryptocurrency mining, except that instead of purchasing expensive hardware and dealing with its maintenance yourself, you just need to buy some shares and let a service provider do all the work. 

This can be especially appealing if you haven’t got access to cheap electricity in your area (or any at all), or if you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your rig.

What is Cloud Mining?

Cloud mining is a service that allows you to purchase mining power from data centres. The process of mining is done remotely, and the owner of the data centre pays for the hardware and electricity usage. You pay for the hash power that you rent from them.

It is a process of renting crypto mining capacity from a third-party provider and using it to mine cryptocurrencies yourself. Instead of having to buy an expensive mining hardware, pay for its electricity use, and maintain it yourself, cloud mining lets you buy into a mining pool without requiring any of the hassles involved in normal crypto mining.

How does cloud mining work?

Cloud mining is a way to earn cryptocurrencies without having to buy expensive hardware. You can buy hash power from a cloud mining company, which means you won’t have to set up your hardware or software.

You don’t need any special knowledge or skills to start earning money immediately with this method of cryptocurrency mining.

Bitcoin Cloud Mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain. The blockchain is what allows a user to send Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies between their accounts and to pay for goods or services from any merchant that accepts cryptocurrencies. 

The blockchain is distributed across thousands of computers around the world. One of those computers is owned by you! So when your computer works on creating a new transaction block, it adds some cryptographic hashing which validates and secures the block and all subsequent blocks.

The key part here is that if your computer is doing work on someone else’s transaction block, you’ll be rewarded with Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, which you can then spend however you’d like. With the Bitcoin price today of over $22,000, this is the currency that receives the most mining.

Advantages of Cloud Mining

  • No need for hardware: Cloud mining is completely virtual. You don’t need to buy any equipment, so you can start earning immediately without having to worry about maintenance or electricity costs.
  • No need for software: Unlike traditional mining where you have to install specific software on your computer, cloud mining requires no software installation at all. Once you purchase hash power from a provider and connect it with their platform (usually via API key), everything else works automatically in the background without any additional effort from your side.
  • No maintenance required: The majority of cloud mining providers offer contracts with monthly fees rather than daily fees like other companies do. This makes it much easier because there’s no need for regular checkups or maintenance work every month like some other platforms require. 

Disadvantages of Cloud Mining

  • High electricity costs: Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of electricity. If you’re using cloud mining, this cost is passed on to you, the customer. This can be very expensive and make it hard for your ROI (return on investment) to pay off.
  • Maintenance costs: You’ll also need to consider maintenance costs for your hardware, as well as any downtime or downtime during which the machine may malfunction or be repaired by the company providing it. This could also affect your ROI negatively if they don’t have a good track record with repairs and replacements promptly.
  • Low returns on investment: Finally, there’s no guarantee that any particular cryptocurrency will increase in value over time; it may even decrease. If this happens while you’re paying high fees just so someone else can mine coins for themselves instead of doing it yourself directly through an ASIC miner or GPU rig at home then those losses will likely outweigh whatever gains might result from having used cloud mining services like Hashflare or Genesis Mining in order.

Types of Cloud Mining

Cloud mining is a way to mine cryptocurrencies without having to buy expensive equipment or even invest in it at all. Instead, you pay someone else to do it for you.

Host Mining

Host mining is a type of cloud mining where you buy a physical mining rig and pay for the electricity. The price of host mining can be very high, but it’s also the most profitable way to earn money. You need technical knowledge and experience to host mine successfully, so this isn’t recommended for beginners.

Hash Power Leasing 

Hash power leasing is a way to get hash power without buying the hardware. This can be done by signing up with a service provider and paying them for their services. The provider will then provide you with the necessary equipment, which you need to pay for separately.

The process works like this:

  • You sign up with a cloud mining company (like Hashflare or Genesis Mining)
  • They give you access to their mining farm’s equipment and software through an API key or web interface
  • You set up an account with them and deposit money into it (usually Bitcoin)

You are then able to use this money as if it were your own – but instead of buying physical hardware yourself, all of that work has already been done by someone else.

How to spot potential fraud in cloud mining

To avoid fraud, you should look for companies that are transparent about their ownership and location. Look at the company’s domain name and website for authenticity. Avoid any cloud mining company that does not provide a physical address or phone number on its website.

You should also check for reviews and complaints about the company in question by searching online or contacting local authorities (e.g., Better Business Bureau aka BBB).


BitDeer is a cloud mining platform that allows users to rent computing power to mine various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. It was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Singapore.

BitDeer partners with mining farms and data centres worldwide to provide cloud mining services. Users can rent mining machines or hash power from BitDeer’s partners, which are located in regions with favourable conditions for cryptocurrency mining, such as regions with low electricity costs and cool climates.


StormGain is a cryptocurrency trading and exchange platform that offers a range of services for cryptocurrency traders and investors. It was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Seychelles.

StormGain aims to provide a user-friendly and accessible platform for trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, with a focus on leveraged trading and cryptocurrency mining. Some of the features and services offered by StormGain include Cryptocurrency Trading, Leverage Trading, Crypto Mining, Wallet Services and more.


GMiner is a cloud mining company based in Hong Kong. It’s a subsidiary of Genesis Mining, one of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the world. GMiner offers a variety of different mining contracts for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Potential Risks

Please note that the cryptocurrency market is constantly evolving, and the performance and reputation of cloud mining companies may change over time. It’s essential to do thorough research, read reviews from multiple sources, and exercise caution when investing in cloud mining services or any other form of cryptocurrency investment. Always consider the risks and consult with experienced investors or seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

Cryptocurrency Mining: A Complete Beginners Guide to Mining Cryptocurrencies, Including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Altcoin, Monero, and Others

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Tags: Cloud Mining, cloud security, cryptocurrency mining

Mar 13 2023

Data Security With Cloud Compliance: Meeting Regulations & Standards

Category: Cloud computing,data securityDISC @ 10:21 am

Businesses from all industries are aware of the benefits of cloud computing. Some organizations are just getting started with migration as part of digital transformation initiatives, while others are implementing sophisticated multi-cloud, hybrid strategies. However, data security in cloud computing is one of the most challenging deployment concerns at any level due to the unique risks that come with the technology.

The cloud compromises the conventional network perimeter that guided cybersecurity efforts in the past. As a result, a distinct strategy is needed for data security in cloud computing, one that takes into account both the complexity of the data compliance,  governance, and security structures as well as the dangers.

The Shifting Business Environment and Its Effects on Cloud Security

The top investment businesses implementing digital transformation initiatives want to make over the next three years is bolstering cybersecurity defenses. A paradigm shift in cybersecurity is being brought about by the rising trend of remote and hybrid workplaces, which is altering investment priorities.

Cloud computing provides the underlying technology for this transition as organizations want to increase resilience, and people want the freedom to work from anywhere. Yet, the lack of built-in security safeguards in many cloud systems highlights the need for data security in cloud computing.

What Is Cloud Data Security?

Cloud data security involves adopting technological solutions, policies, and processes to safeguard cloud-based systems and apps and the data and user access that go with them. The fundamental tenets of information security and data governance apply to the cloud as well:

Confidentiality: Protecting the data from illegal access and disclosure is known as confidentiality.

Integrity: Preventing unauthorized changes to the data so that it may be trusted

Accessibility: Making sure the data is completely accessible and available when it’s needed.

Cloud data security must be taken into account at every stage of cloud computing and the data lifecycle, including during the development, deployment, and administration of the cloud environment.

Data Risks in Cloud

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way data is gathered, stored, and processed, but it has also introduced new risks to data security. As more organizations rely on the cloud, cyberattacks and data breaches have become the biggest threats to data protection. While cloud technology is subject to the same cybersecurity risks as on-premises solutions, it poses additional risks to data security.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with Security Flaws

Security flaws in APIs used for authentication and access are a common risk associated with the cloud. These flaws can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Common issues include insufficient or improper input validation and insufficient authentication mechanisms. APIs can also be vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks (DoS), causing service disruptions and data loss.

Account Takeover or Account Hijacking

Account takeover or hijacking is a common threat in cloud computing, where hackers gain unauthorized access to user accounts and can steal or manipulate sensitive data. Hackers can gain access to cloud accounts due to weak or stolen passwords used by users. This is because users often use simple, easy-to-guess passwords or reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Once a hacker gains access to one account, they can potentially access other accounts that use the same password.

Insider Risks

Insider threats are a significant concern in cloud computing due to the lack of visibility into the cloud ecosystem. Cloud providers typically have a vast and complex infrastructure, which can make it challenging to monitor user activity and detect insider threats. Insider threats can occur when insiders, such as employees, contractors, or partners, intentionally or unintentionally access or disclose sensitive data.

Security Measures Protecting Data in Cloud Computing

Identity governance is the first step in securing data in the cloud. Across all of your on-premises and cloud platforms, workloads, and data access, you need a thorough, unified perspective. Identity management gives you the following:

Install Encryption

Encryption is an essential security measure for protecting sensitive and important data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and intellectual property, both in transit and at rest. 

Third-party encryption solutions can offer additional layers of security and flexibility beyond what is provided by CSPs. For example, some third-party encryption solutions may offer more robust encryption algorithms or the ability to encrypt data before it is uploaded to the cloud. They can also provide granular access controls, enabling organizations to determine who can access specific data and under what circumstances.

Archive the Data

Backing up cloud data is critical for data protection and business continuity. The 3-2-1 rule is a best practice, involving having at least three copies of the data, stored in two different types of media, with one backup copy stored offsite. Businesses should have a local backup in addition to the cloud provider’s backup, providing an extra layer of protection in case the cloud provider’s backup fails or is inaccessible.

Put Identity and Access Management (IAM) into Practice

IAM (Identity and Access Management) is essential for securing cloud resources and data. IAM components in a cloud environment include identity governance, privileged access control, and access management, such as SSO or MFA. To ensure effective IAM in a cloud environment, organizations must include cloud resources in their IAM framework, create appropriate policies and procedures, and regularly review and audit IAM policies and procedures.

Control Your Password Rules

Poor password hygiene is a common cause of security events. Password management software can help users create, store and manage strong, unique passwords for each account, making it easier to follow safe password procedures. This can encourage better password hygiene and reduce the risk of password-related security incidents.

Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA (Multi-factor authentication) is a security mechanism that adds an extra layer of security beyond traditional password-based authentication. It reduces the chance of credentials being stolen and makes it more challenging for threat actors to gain unauthorized access to cloud accounts. 

MFA is particularly valuable in cloud environments, where many employees and contractors may access cloud accounts from various locations and devices. However, it is important to ensure that it is implemented correctly, easy to use, and integrated with existing security infrastructure and policies.


Your environment will get more complicated as you continue to utilize the cloud, particularly if you begin to rely on the hybrid multi-cloud. Data security in cloud computing is essential for reducing the dangers to your business and safeguarding not just your data but also your brand’s reputation.

Consider deploying solutions for controlling cloud access and entitlements to protect yourself from the always-changing cloud risks. For a thorough approach to identity management, incorporate these solutions into your entire IAM strategy as well.

A complete, identity-centered solution ensures that you constantly implement access control and employ governance more wisely, regardless of whether your data is on-premises or in the cloud. You will also profit from automation and other factors that increase identity efficiency and save expenses.

Cloud Computing Security: Foundations and Challenges

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Feb 24 2023

Cloud Security Protecting Your Data in The Cloud

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 10:34 am

Following these best practices, you can increase the cloud security and protection of your cloud-based data and applications.

As cloud computing has revolutionized how we store and process data, it has also introduced new security risks. Your data must be secure as more and more businesses turn to the cloud.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your cloud environment is secure:

It would help if you chose a reputable cloud provider: Not all cloud providers provide the same level of security. You should select a provider with a positive security track record that implements strict security controls.

Secure your data in transit and at rest: Ensure that your data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Keeping your data secure and accessible only to authorized users can help protect against data breaches.
To prevent unauthorized access, implement strong access controls, including limiting access to cloud resources only to authorized users and implementing multi-factor authentication.

Monitoring your cloud environment regularly: Implement tools to monitor your cloud environment for unusual activity or signs of a breach. By doing so, you can identify potential security threats early on and mitigate their effect.

Plan for a disaster recovery scenario by implementing a disaster recovery plan. This backup will allow you to recover your data and applications in case of a security breach or other catastrophe.

You should educate your employees regarding the risks associated with cloud computing and provide them with training on protecting their data.

With these steps, you can protect your business from cyber threats and ensure the security of your cloud-based data. Take action today to protect your valuable assets by ensuring your business is secure.

What are the three categories of cloud security?

With the advancement of cloud computing, businesses can now store, process, and share massive amounts of data more easily and efficiently than ever before. Cloud computing, like any technology, carries inherent security risks.

Three categories of cloud security can assist in mitigating these risks: physical security, operational security, and data security.

Physical Security

Physical security refers to the measures the cloud service provider takes to protect its physical infrastructure. These actions include access controls, surveillance, and environmental controls, and those used in data centers play a crucial role in preventing unauthorized access.

Operational Security

A cloud service provider’s operational security refers to the processes and policies to manage their business operations. This process includes several measures, such as change management, incident response, and business continuity planning. Your cloud services must be protected against active cyber threats to ensure reliability and availability.

Data Security

Data Security refers A cloud security measure is a means of protecting your data. These include measures such as encryption, access controls, and data backups. To ensure the integrity and availability of your sensitive data, it is essential to implement effective data security measures.

In the cloud, each of these categories of security is essential for protecting your business from cyber threats and ensuring the safety and security of your data.

When you work with a reputable cloud service provider and implement best practices for physical, operational, and data security, you can minimize the risks of cloud computing and take advantage of the benefits of this revolutionary technology. Take advantage of the cloud with confidence and peace of mind by embracing security concerns.

Cybersecurity and the Cloud: What You Need to Know

Cloud computing has become increasingly important as more and more businesses move their data and applications to the cloud.

Cybersecurity and the cloud have some key considerations.

Understand your responsibilities:

When you use cloud services, you typically share security responsibility with the cloud provider. Ensure that you are aware of which security aspects are your responsibility and which are the service provider’s responsibility.

  • When it comes to security, not all cloud providers are equal. You should research the provider and choose one with a good security record.
  • Provide strong authentication to all cloud users, such as multi-factor authentication.Encrypt your data:
  • Your data must be encrypted in transit and at rest. It helps prevent data breaches and ensures only authorized persons can access your data.Monitor your data:
  • Use security tools to monitor your data for unusual activity or signs of a breach. By detecting potential security issues early, you can mitigate their impact.

Cloud Security: How to Protecting Your Data in The Cloud.

The increasing amount of data stored online in cloud-based systems has made cloud security a growing concern for businesses and individuals. You will learn cloud security basics, from recognizing potential cyber threats to protecting your data.

Cloud security risks.

Data breaches and denial of service (DOS) attacks are some risks associated with cloud security. Protecting yourself requires an understanding of common types of threats.

It is common for cloud security threats to include malicious outsiders such as hackers, insider threats from employees and contractors with access to your data, misconfigurations that leave your data vulnerable, and disasters that may cause data loss. When you understand the risks associated with storing your data in the cloud, you can develop effective strategies for mitigating them.

Set up Multi-Factor Authentication.

A multi-factor authentication (MFA) system is one of the best ways to protect your cloud environment. The authentication adds a layer of security by requiring users to use two or more credentials, such as a password and a one-time code sent by email or text message. It ensures that only authorized people can access your data and makes it much harder for attackers to compromise your system by guessing passwords or using stolen credentials.

Update security software and patches regularly.

Cyber Threat Intelligence programs should permanently be installed and maintained. It is also highly recommended that you patch your system regularly to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities attackers could exploit. If your systems do not receive regular updates, they may be vulnerable to attack. Additionally, other users on the system must keep up-to-date, so make sure everyone understands the importance of patching and security maintenance.

Create rules for permissions and user access.

Cloud services should be protected from unauthorized access. Establish specific user access and permission settings rules by creating or purchasing a policy. The policy should define what data users can access and edit and set boundaries for authorized users and applications. It would help if you also considered creating logins with distinct roles for each employee — this way, each user can only view information relevant to their job.

Prepare a Breach and Attack Recovery Plan.

Any business operating in the cloud needs a disaster recovery plan. Specifically, the goal should outline how the team should respond to a data breach or cyber attack, how to contact potential victims, how to recover files and systems, and how to mitigate risks.

Cloud Security

Cloud Security Protecting Your Data?

Cloud security is the practice of protecting your data and applications that are stored in the cloud. As more and more businesses move their data to the cloud, ensuring the security of that data has become increasingly important.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your data in the cloud:

  1. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication: It’s important to use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. This will help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
  2. Encrypt your data: Encryption is a process of converting your data into a secret code that can only be accessed with the right encryption key. This is an effective way to protect your data from unauthorized access.
  3. Choose a reputable cloud provider: When choosing a cloud provider, look for one that has a strong track record of security and compliance. Make sure they have proper encryption, backup and disaster recovery plans in place.
  4. Keep your software up to date: Make sure to keep all of your software, including your cloud applications, up to date with the latest security patches.
  5. Limit access to your data: Only give access to your cloud data to those who need it. You can use access controls to limit who can view, edit, or delete your data.
  6. Backup your data: Make sure to regularly back up your cloud data. This will ensure that you can still access your data even if there is a security breach or outage.

By taking these steps, you can help protect your data in the cloud and ensure that your business stays secure.

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Feb 08 2023

How to Use Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Protection

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 11:07 am

A cloud access security broker is a security policy enforcement point that can be located on-premises or in the cloud. Its purpose is to aggregate and implement an enterprise’s security policies whenever cloud-based resources are accessed.

How to Use Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Protection

The cloud access security broker is analogous to a security guard in that it ensures compliance with the laws that were established by the administrators of the cloud service.

A cloud access security broker is a security solution that enables businesses to protect both their data and their users while they are working in the cloud. It functions as a middleman between an organization’s IT infrastructure and the company’s cloud services, monitoring and limiting access to ensure that security policies are adhered to.

Increasing companies’ utilization of cloud-based services is one of the primary factors contributing to the growing demand for cloud access security brokers. As more and more businesses move their data and applications to the cloud, which is very simple to use and manage, these businesses require a method to secure their assets and protect themselves against potential threats that may arise as a result of services being connected to one another without having a great deal of control over them. 

Cloud access security brokers offer a means to monitor and regulate access to cloud services, thereby guaranteeing that only authorized users can view sensitive data.

Cloud Access Security Broker for Data Protection: How It Can Be Achieved

Source: Managed Methods

Cloud access security brokers can also assist enterprises in complying with regulatory regulations and industry standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOC 2, amongst others. Furthermore, as they carry out a substantial amount of detailed reporting for data breaches, they are able to undertake data encryption and can even manage access controls. As a result, the business is carrying out these procedures in an effective manner. So it can be used for cloud data security in a number of ways.

Using Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Loss Prevention

After being implemented, cloud access security brokers are able to perform monitoring of the resources that have been created or deployed. They can also be used to enforce access restrictions on such resources, which effectively guarantees that only authorized people who have the authorization to access them can access that sensitive data. This not only protects against unauthorized access but also prevents sensitive data from being accidentally deleted.

Performing Data Encryption

Cloud access security broker protects data in a variety of ways, including through the implementation of appropriate access restrictions. Cloud access security brokers have the ability to encrypt sensitive data while it is both at rest and in motion.

If the data is encrypted, then even if someone gains unauthorized access to the data or if the data itself is stolen, it cannot be decoded without the appropriate decryption keys even if the data was encrypted. As a result, it renders it possible to gain access to the data even after having performed access that was not authorized.

Managing proper compliance 

Because cloud access security brokers are responsible for the enforcement of a wide variety of policies, they can be of assistance in achieving various kinds of compliance. Cloud access security brokers are able to assist firms in meeting regulatory requirements and industry standards, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOC 2, which may be applicable. 

Cloud access security brokers are essentially reporting and alerting systems that give organizations information about potential security breaches. This enables organizations to take action to secure their data swiftly.

The Four Pillars of a Cloud Access Security Broker

Cloud access security brokers are built on four distinct pillars, each of which not only assists an organization in meeting appropriate data encryption standards but also provides a means by which the users of that organization can be protected. Cloud access security brokers offer visibility into the utilization of cloud services across an entire organization. This visibility includes information about which services are being utilized, who is using them, and the kind of data that is being saved or accessed. This offers an organization a sufficient level of visibility of its resources.

By providing extensive reporting and notifications on potential security breaches, cloud access security brokers are able to assist organizations in meeting regulatory obligations and industry standards.

The prevention of data loss, encryption, access restriction, and activity monitoring are only some of the security measures that can be enforced by cloud access security brokers in order to secure data and users in the cloud. In addition to this, they offer governance capabilities for their customers, such as policy management, incident response, and risk management, to assist businesses in managing and securing their cloud environments.


Cloud access security brokers safeguard cloud data. They monitor and control data and application access to secure cloud services. By monitoring and controlling cloud usage, they assist enterprises to meet regulatory and industry standards.

Cloud access security brokers can identify and mitigate threats to prevent data breaches and other security problems. They also offer encryption, data loss prevention, and threat detection. These solutions benefit all businesses, especially cloud-dependent ones. They should be utilized with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software as part of a holistic security plan.

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Tags: CASBI, CASBs, cloud security

Jan 26 2023

GoTo admits: Customer cloud backups stolen together with decryption key

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 12:11 am

GoTo is a well-known brand that owns a range of products, including technologies for teleconferencing and webinars, remote access, and password management.

If you’ve ever used GoTo Webinar (online meetings and seminars), GoToMyPC (connect and control someone else’s computer for management and support), or LastPass (a password manangement service), you’ve used a product from the GoTo stable.

You’ve probably not forgotten the big cybersecurity story over the 2022 Christmas holiday season, when LastPass admitted that it had suffered a breach that was much more serious than it had first thought.

The company first reported, back in August 2022, that crooks had stolen proprietary source code, following a break-in into the LastPass development network, but not customer data.

But the data grabbed in that source code robbery turned out to include enough information for attackers to follow up with a break-in at a LastPass cloud storage service, where customer data was indeed stolen, ironically including encrypted password vaults.

Now, unfortunately, it’s parent company GoTo’s turn to admit to a breach of its own – and this one also involves a development network break-in.

Security incident

On 2022-11-30, GoTo informed customers that it had suffered “a security incident”, summarising the situation as follows:

Based on the investigation to date, we have detected unusual activity within our development environment and third-party cloud storage service. The third-party cloud storage service is currently shared by both GoTo and its affiliate, LastPass.

This story, so briefly told at the time, sounds curiously similar to the one that unfolded from August 2022 to December 2022 at LastPass: development network breached; customer storage breached; investigation ongoing.

Nevertheless, we have to assume, given that the statement explicitly notes that the cloud service was shared between LastPass and GoTo, while implying that the development network mentioned here wasn’t, that this breach didn’t start months earlier in LastPass’s development system.

The suggestion seems to be that, in the GoTo breach, the development network and cloud service intrusions happened at the same time, as though this was a single break-in that yielded two targets right away, unlike the LastPass scenario, where the cloud breach was a later consequence of the first.

Incident update

Two months later, GoTo has come back with an update, and the news isn’t great:

[A] threat actor exfiltrated encrypted backups from a third-party cloud storage service related to the following products: Central, Pro,, Hamachi, and RemotelyAnywhere. We also have evidence that a threat actor exfiltrated an encryption key for a portion of the encrypted backups. The affected information, which varies by product, may include account usernames, salted and hashed passwords, a portion of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) settings, as well as some product settings and licensing information.

The company also noted that although MFA settings for some Rescue and GoToMyPC customers were stolen, their encrypted databases were not.

Two things are confusingly unclear here: firstly, why were MFA settings stored encrypted for one set of customers, but not for others; and secondly, what do the words “MFA settings” encompass anyway?

Several possible important “MFA settings” come to mind, including one or more of:

  • Phone numbers used for sending 2FA codes.
  • Starting seeds for app-based 2FA code sequences.
  • Stored recovery codes for use in emergencies.

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Dec 23 2022

Cloud Security Best Practices

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 11:10 am
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Aug 31 2022

The Inevitability of Cloud Breaches: Tales of Real-World Cloud Attacks

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 9:43 am

While cloud breaches are going to happen, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about them. By better understanding cloud attacks, organizations can better prepare for them.

Cloud computing
Source: Wavebreakmedia Ltd IW-210409 via Alamy Stock Photo

Cloud breaches are inevitable.

It’s the reality we live in. The last few years have demonstrated that breaches occur, no matter how much security organizations put in place. The increased complexity of organizations — where a single mistake or vulnerability can lead to a compromise — coupled with the increased motivation, sophistication, and dedication of attackers, means breaches are here to stay. At the same time, organizations are transitioning to the cloud, making attackers shift focus to rapidly increase their attacks on cloud environments.

While this means that cloud breaches are inevitable, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about them. By better understanding cloud attacks, organizations can better prepare for them. Then, hopefully, they can contain and respond to attacks faster, reducing their impact and averting a crisis.

This two-part series will explore real-world attacks that unravel, investigate, and share insights on practical ways organizations can respond to cloud attacks in today’s threat landscape.

SaaS Marketplace Hack Leads to Major Breach

In the last few years, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms have been replacing traditional enterprise applications, making it easier for organizations to adopt and manage them. Part of the value such platforms provide is the ability to integrate and expand rapidly, supporting the ever-growing demands of users for more functionality. Further enhancing their platforms, SaaS vendors are creating a marketplace to allow third-party providers to add functionality and integration for its users. These marketplaces, however, can introduce substantial third-party risk, as can be seen in the following scenario.

After a company was notified by GitHub of a potential risk, GitHub didn’t provide any specific indicators of unauthorized access. Instead, GitHub provided only a generic notice that DeepSource, one of the apps the company had previously been using on the marketplace, was breached, making it hard to understand whether the organization was affected or not. An initial review done by the company of its GitHub logs did not help, as it could not see any access to its code by DeepSource.

The reason for this was rather simple — and it is at the heart of how many SaaS marketplaces operate. A few months before the breach, one of the company’s developers tried out the DeepSource app, wherein the developer granted DeepSource access to the code under his username. When the attackers used DeepSource’s access to download the entire code repository, what appeared in the logs was a pull request under the name of a legitimate user. The only indicator that it was malicious was the identification of an irregular IP address, which eventually was tied to other known attacks.

At this point, it became clear that the entire code repository had been stolen, and a full-blown response was needed to contain and recover from the breach. As with most code leakage cases, the immediate concern was access to secrets (passwords/keys) in the code. While it is generally bad practice to have hardcoded secrets in code, it is still a common practice by many — and this case was no different. By identifying the relevant secrets in the code, the next steps of the attackers — which, as expected, started accessing some of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure — was predicted. By quickly identifying them, the company was able to block access to all relevant resources, contain the breach, and recover before more damage could be done.

Cryptominer Injected into a Virtual Machine Template

What if one could mine cryptocurrency at somebody else’s expense? This idea is at the heart of many cryptomining attacks we see today, where attackers take over cloud resources, then run cryptominers on them collecting cryptocurrency while the hacked organization pays the cloud compute bills for it.

In a recent incident, a company had identified unknown files on 18 AWS EC2 machines they were running in the cloud. Looking at the files, it became clear they had fallen victim to the ongoing TeamTNT Watchdog cryptomining campaign. It was initially unclear how the attackers managed to infect so many EC2 instances, but as the investigation unfolded, it became apparent that instead of targeting individual machines, the attackers targeted the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) template used to create each machine. During the creation of the original image, there was a short time where a service was misconfigured, allowing remote access. TeamTNT used automatic tools to scan the network, identify it, and immediately place the miners there, which then got duplicated to every new machine created.

This highlights another common attack pattern: implanting cryptominers in publicly available AMIs through the Amazon marketplace.

As demonstrated by these cases, cloud attacks are here to stay. They’re different from what we’re used to observing, so it’s time to better prepare for their arrival. Stay tuned for part two, where we will dive into cloud ransomware and how to avoid it.

Cloud computing



Practical Cloud Security

Tags: cloud security, Practical Cloud Security

Jul 27 2022

Alkira Partners With Fortinet to Secure Cloud Networks

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 8:46 am

Alkira today announced it has integrated its cloud service for connecting multiple networks with firewalls from Fortinet.

Announced at the AWS re:Inforce event, the integration makes it possible to automate the configuration and deployment of Fortinet firewalls via the FortiManager platform using a control plane that integrates with the networking services provided by multiple cloud service providers.

Ahmed Datoo, chief marketing officer for Alkira, said the alliance with Fortinet is in addition to existing support for firewalls from Palo Alto Network.

Alkira is making a case for a control plane for cloud networking that integrates with the application programming interfaces (API) exposed by various cloud service providers. As a result, there is no need for an IT team to deploy agent software on each cloud service to integrate the Alkira service, noted Datoo.

As organizations increasingly deploy workloads across multiple clouds, managing and securing each of the networks that cloud service providers give them access to has become challenging. The Alkira platform is designed to provide a single pane of glass for configuring networking and security services spanning multiple clouds, said Datoo. Those organizations can either use the frameworks provided by vendors such as Fortinet to manage individual elements or use an instance of the open source Terraform tool to programmatically invoke services, he noted.

The challenge organizations face when using multiple clouds is that each one is typically managed in isolation. As a result, IT teams find themselves dedicating IT staff to mastering the various tools required to manage these platforms. Over time, however, the total cost of IT starts to rise as each cloud platform is added to the extended enterprise. Alkira reduces those costs by unifying the provisioning and management of multiple cloud networks, said Datoo. It’s up to each IT organization to decide which cloud platform to use to deploy the Alkira platform to accomplish that goal, he added.

The alliance between Alkira and Fortinet is only the latest example of the convergence of network and security operations. While cybersecurity teams are still needed to define security policies, much of the routine management of firewalls and other security platforms is now handled by network operations—in part, to make up for the chronic shortage of cybersecurity personnel. Network operations, meanwhile, are slowly being integrated with other IT operations workflows to enable organizations to programmatically manage entire IT environments without requiring as many dedicated network specialists.

In the meantime, the attack surface that security teams are being asked to secure continues to expand in the age of the cloud. The issue, of course, is that the size of most organizations’ security teams remains constrained. The only way to secure all those cloud environments at scale is to rethink the entire approach to security operations. In most cases, those approaches were defined in an era where most workloads were deployed on on-premises IT environments that, in comparison, were comparatively simple to secure.

Cloud Security Handbook: Find out how to effectively secure cloud environments using AWS, Azure, and GCP

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Tags: Alkira, cloud security, Fortinet, Secure Cloud Networks

Jan 08 2022

Top 10 Facts Every CIO Should Know About Cloud in 2022

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 10:22 am

With great power comes great responsibility and CIOs (Chief Information Office) of an organization are no different. Technology is always changing, it is a very difficult job to keep up with the changes. CIOs are expected to be aware of and have a detailed understanding of major IT industry trends, new technologies, and IT best practices that could benefit the organization.

In the current scenario, cloud computing is dominating the market. So, what are the interesting cloud computing facts that every CIO is expected to be aware of in 2022? Did you know facts about cloud computing before landing here? Let’s discuss this in detail.

Table of Content

1. Your Company’s Cloud Business Objectives
2. DevOps Is the Way to Go for Cloud Success
3. Evolution of Hybrid Cloud
4. Workload Efficiency
5. Adhere to a Private Cloud or Public Cloud
6. Total Cost of Operating
7. Sustainability with Cloud
8. Scalability
9. Artificial Intelligence in Cloud
10. Cloud Migrations Will See Delays Due to Lack of Skills
CIO & Cloud_inner image_01
Image source: Teledata

Introduction to Cloud Computing

Tags: CIO, Cloud computing, cloud security, Introduction to Cloud Computing

Nov 26 2021

There is no cloud…just someone else’s computer

Category: Cloud computing,Information SecurityDISC @ 5:27 pm

Practical Cloud Security: A Guide for Secure Design and Deployment

MicroMasters® Program in Cloud Computing

Tags: cloud computing security, cloud security

Sep 30 2021

Supply Chain Emerging as Cloud Security Threat

Category: Cloud computing,Cyber ThreatsDISC @ 9:20 am

Misconfigurations in software development environments and poor security hygiene in the supply chain can impact cloud infrastructure and offer opportunities for malicious actors to control unwitting victims’ software development processes.

These were the results of a report from Palo Alto Networks’ security specialist Unit 42, which conducted a red team exercise with a large SaaS provider.

Within three days, the company discovered critical software development flaws that could have exposed the organization to an attack similar to those perpetrated against SolarWinds and Kaseya.

If an attacker (like an APT) compromises third-party developers, it’s possible to infiltrate thousands of organizations’ cloud infrastructures, the report warned.

Supply Chain Flaws in the Cloud

Matt Chiodi, CSO of public cloud at Palo Alto Networks, explained that supply chain flaws in the cloud are difficult to detect because of the massive number of building blocks that go into even a basic cloud-native application.

“Our researchers estimated that the typical cloud-native application is built upon hundreds of these packages,” he said. “Let’s call them ‘Legos.’ Each of these Legos that developers plug into their application carries a certain risk and can be a vector to another supply chain attack.”

The report highlights how vulnerabilities and misconfigurations can quickly snowball within the context of the cloud software supply chain, and called for organizations to “shift security left.”

“Shifting security left is about moving security as close to development as possible,” said Chiodi. “Historically, security and development teams have operated independently of each other.” He added that development teams like to move quickly and try new things and security is more often the opposite.

“The concept of ‘shift left’ attempts to not change developer behaviors, but rather equip them with processes and tools that work natively to secure their existing methods of developing software,” Chiodi said. “If security teams can equip development teams with processes and tools that work natively with development tools and measure regularly, they greatly reduce their risks of supply chain insecurity from cloud-native applications. This is a good first step.”

He pointed out the first wave of migrations to the cloud was marked by “lift and shift,” meaning that organizations simply took existing applications as-is and moved them to the cloud.

“When they did this, they could say the applications were running in the cloud, but the applications themselves were not cloud-native,” he said.

Being Truly Cloud-Native

supply chain data secure

Tags: cloud security, cloud security threat, supply chain

Sep 17 2021

IBM Report Shows Severity of Cloud Security Challenges

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 9:22 am

IBM Security Services today published a report detailing a raft of issues pertaining to cloud security, including the fact that there are nearly 30,000 cloud accounts potentially for sale on dark web marketplaces.

The report is based on dark web analysis, IBM Security X-Force Red penetration testing data, IBM Security Services metrics, X-Force Incident Response analysis and X-Force Threat Intelligence research.

The report found advertisements for tens of thousands of cloud accounts and resources for sale. Prices generally range from a few dollars to over $15,000 per account for access credentials depending on the amount of cloud resources that might be made accessible. On average, the price tag for cloud access rose an extra $1 for every $15 to $30 in credit the account held. Therefore, an account with $5,000 in available credit would be worth about $250, the report surmised.

In 71% of cases, threat actors offered access to cloud resources via the remote desktop protocol (RDP). X-Force Red found that 100% of their penetration tests into cloud environments in 2021 uncovered issues with either passwords or policy violations. Two-thirds of cloud breaches would likely have been prevented by more robust hardening of systems, such as properly implementing security policies and patching systems, the report noted.

More troubling still, IBM research indicates that vulnerabilities in cloud applications are growing, totaling more than 2,500 vulnerabilities for a 150% increase in the last five years. Almost half of the more than 2,500 disclosed vulnerabilities in cloud-deployed applications recorded to date were disclosed in the last 18 months.

The report also notes two-thirds of the incidents analyzed involved improperly configured application programming interfaces (APIs), mainly involving misconfigured API keys that allowed improper access. API credential exposure through public code repositories frequently resulted in access into cloud environments as well, the report noted.

API Security in Action

Tags: API Security, cloud security

Sep 16 2021

Keys to the cloud: Unlocking digital transformation to enhance national security

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 9:34 am

This, paired with the “anything you can do, I can do better” mantra adopted by today’s nation-state threat actors, has left mission-critical information vulnerable to attack as it undergoes the great cloud migration.

These agile threat actors – without any red tape to stand in their way – have already adopted a cloud-centric mindset, oftentimes at the expense of our national security. Meanwhile, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning that lend themselves to assisting defensive efforts are rendered useless unless the defense community focuses more time, energy and resources on becoming cloud-centric.

Ultimately, the issue of national security hangs in the balance, and the best way to ensure we stay ahead of the curve is by using the cloud to “digitally overmatch” our opponents and unlock the full potential of digital transformation.

Overwhelming opponents

Originally coined by the Army, the concept of “digital overmatch” stems from the idea that the respective branches of the military can easily overwhelm their opponents on the ground due to their superior resources. Now, in the era of cyber-enabled conflict, this concept can also be applied to the non-Defense space. Given that data is such a strategic asset, defenders must ensure they can outpace and outmaneuver adversaries by using data-driven technologies such as the cloud, and deliver on-demand resources across all domains whenever and wherever they’re needed.

Without commercial and government innovation in cloud-native technology, federal agencies and the military are unable to maximize the full potential of their modernization strategy.

“Digital overmatch” in action

Cloud Computing Security: Foundations and Challenges

Tags: cloud security

Aug 18 2021

The 3 Rs of visibility for any cloud journey

Category: Cloud computing,Information SecurityDISC @ 8:54 am

While Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) solutions help automate and structure these activities, the activities themselves require telemetry data that provide the breadcrumbs to help scope, identify and potentially remedy the situation. This takes increasing significance in the cloud for a few reasons:

  • The public cloud shared security model may lead to gaps in the telemetry (e.g., lack of telemetry from the underlying infrastructure that could help correlate breadcrumbs at the infrastructure level to the application level).
  • Lack of consistency in telemetry information as applications increasingly segment into microservices, containers and Platform-as-a-Service, and as various modules come from different sources such as internal development, open source, commercial modules, and outsourced development.
  • Misconfigurations and misunderstandings as control shifts between DevOps, CloudOps and SecOps.
  • All the above coupled with a significant expansion of attack surface area with the decomposition of monolith applications into microservices.

When incidents occur, the ability to quickly size up the scope, impact and root cause of the incident is directly proportional to the availability of quality data, and its ability to be easily queried, analyzed, and dissected. As companies migrate to the cloud, logs have become the de-facto standard of gathering telemetry.

The challenges when relying almost exclusively on logs for telemetry

This book is designed for security and risk assessment professionals, DevOps engineers, penetration testers, cloud security engineers, and cloud software developers who are interested in learning practical approaches to cloud security. It covers practical strategies for assessing the security and privacy of your cloud infrastructure and applications and shows how to make your cloud infrastructure secure to combat threats, attacks, and prevent data breaches. The chapters are designed with a granular framework, starting with the security concepts, followed by hand-on assessment techniques based on real-world studies, and concluding with recommendations including best practices.


  • Includes practical strategies for assessing the security and privacy of your cloud infrastructure and applications
  • Covers topics such as cloud architecture and security fundamentals, database and storage security, data privacy, security and risk assessments, controls related to continuous monitoring, and more
  • Presents several case studies revealing how threat actors abuse and exploit cloud environments to spread malware

Tags: cloud computing risks, cloud security

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