Risk

1/25/2012
02:09 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Feds Issue Comprehensive Cloud Security Guidance

National Institute of Standards and Technology urges government and private sector users not to leave cloud security to providers or service arrangements.

Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progres
Federal Data Center Consolidation Makes Progress
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
There's no silver bullet to ensuring security in the public cloud, but organizations need to take the reins and not leave security up to service providers and service arrangements, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) said in comprehensive new cloud security guidance.

In addition to exhorting cloud users not to leave security up to service providers, the Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing, which was first made available in draft form last year, boils the keys of cloud security down to a few salient points and provides recommendations on how organizations should navigate contracting for and using cloud services.

Thanks to its statutory role in setting cybersecurity requirements for federal agencies, most NIST security documents place a sharp focus on government users. While the new security guidance is nominally prepared for federal agencies, it appears to have a broader audience in mind as well--unlike many NIST documents, few sections of the 80-page document focus exclusively on the federal government.

[ Learn more about government cloud operations. See Federal Researchers Push Limits Of Cloud Computing. ]

Though the document doesn't focus exclusively on federal agencies, it's the type of thing that they may well be digging into. As the White House pushes agencies to shift toward the cloud, security has been such a high-level concern that the government created an entirely new security accreditation process, FedRAMP, to help guide agencies and service providers through the vagaries of federal cloud security, and agency CIOs regularly raise concerns about security in the cloud. NIST released a final list of FedRAMP's security controls earlier this month.

The guidance details a few of the risks about which organizations should remain particularly wary. For example, large and complex cloud environments provide a large attack surface and numerous points of potential failure; multi-tenant architectures, with only virtual separation between instances, open up a risk that attackers could overcome separation mechanisms; and the mere fact that the services are available over the Internet opens up new threats from outside a company's own networks.

"Accountability for security and privacy in public cloud deployments cannot be delegated to a cloud provider and remains an obligation for the organization to fulfill," NIST program manager Tim Grance said in a statement.

The document laid out recommendations on how organizations should tackle cloud deployments, beginning with specifying a litany of security, privacy, and other requirements--from access control to vulnerability scanning--to narrow the choices among service and delivery models. According to the document, once requirements are penned, risks should be assessed in relation to the type of data that the organization plans to host in the cloud. For example, personally identifiable information might be subject to more risks and therefore more controls than a public-facing website might. That should be followed by an assessment of cloud providers' security.

At the next stage, NIST said organizations should establish strong contractual obligations around security, delineating the roles and responsibilities of both the service provider and the organization that will be using the cloud. Once the contract is in place, NIST said, organizations should continually assess contractor performance and make sure that, before they switch to a new cloud provider, they eliminate providers' access rights to their data and resources and get that data back.

In addition to its cloud security guidance, NIST also released draft reports detailing how federal agencies should continuously monitor IT systems for security vulnerabilities. Continuous monitoring, rather than compliance as a paperwork exercise, has become the central theme of federal cybersecurity guidelines over the last few years. Those documents include a technical reference architecture to facilitate continuous monitoring, technical specs for that reference model, and a document that focuses on applying the reference architecture to asset, configuration, and vulnerability management.

As enterprises ramp up cloud adoption, service-level agreements play a major role in ensuring quality enterprise application performance. Follow our four-step process to ensure providers live up to their end of the deal. It's all in our Cloud SLA report. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
creadk9j
50%
50%
creadk9j,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2012 | 4:02:46 PM
re: Feds Issue Comprehensive Cloud Security Guidance
Anything to avoid being efficient. It might put some union workers out of their comfy jobs and pensions.
More Than Half of Users Reuse Passwords
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  5/24/2018
Is Threat Intelligence Garbage?
Chris McDaniels, Chief Information Security Officer of Mosaic451,  5/23/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
[Strategic Security Report] Navigating the Threat Intelligence Maze
Most enterprises are using threat intel services, but many are still figuring out how to use the data they're collecting. In this Dark Reading survey we give you a look at what they're doing today - and where they hope to go.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-11505
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
The Werewolf Online application 0.8.8 for Android allows attackers to discover the Firebase token by reading logcat output.
CVE-2018-6409
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in Appnitro MachForm before 4.2.3. The module in charge of serving stored files gets the path from the database. Modifying the name of the file to serve on the corresponding ap_form table leads to a path traversal vulnerability via the download.php q parameter.
CVE-2018-6410
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in Appnitro MachForm before 4.2.3. There is a download.php SQL injection via the q parameter.
CVE-2018-6411
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in Appnitro MachForm before 4.2.3. When the form is set to filter a blacklist, it automatically adds dangerous extensions to the filters. If the filter is set to a whitelist, the dangerous extensions can be bypassed through ap_form_elements SQL Injection.
CVE-2018-11500
PUBLISHED: 2018-05-26
An issue was discovered in PublicCMS V4.0.20180210. There is a CSRF vulnerability in "admin/sysUser/save.do?callbackType=closeCurrent&navTabId=sysUser/list" that can add an admin account.