Perimeter
8/9/2011
02:07 PM
Jim Reavis
Jim Reavis
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cloud Security Certification Not So Simple

Current pass rate of CSA's CCSK test is only 53 percent

One of my favorite guys in the business is Craig Balding, proprietor at cloudsecurity.org. He cannot update the site too frequently because he actually has a real job and a family, but if you have a chance to see him speak, don’t miss it. Craig has built some nice presentations in the past about getting your hands dirty in the cloud, which I have liked quite a bit.

There are a lot of people in the industry with a lot of opinions and “knowledge” about cloud computing and the relevant security issues, and many of these people wouldn’t know an AMI from a USB. Craig has actually encouraged folks to set up accounts at cloud providers, spin up services, and give them a go. There are not a lot of excuses to avoid this when many offer free test drives.

You may know that last September the Cloud Security Alliance we created a certificate of competency called the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK). This is a Web-based test that in no way is intended to provide full user accreditation, but rather is a baseline of knowledge about the cloud computing security issues and best practices as we know them today. We see this as driving overall awareness in the industry, and we think that is a good thing. Before the test was actually released, there was at least one article written that implied it was going to be a super-simple rubber stamp, and one editor in a “Pulitzer moment” called it “easy peasy.”

We wanted to make this test moderately difficult, but as it has turned out, the exam is harder than we expected. As of this writing, the current pass rate is 53 percent. There is probably no one reason for this, and certainly every test I have taken has had some confusing questions. I am sorry that I cannot provide an answer key in this blog. But having the ability to look at test system analytics, I will tell you that there are professionals running around in our industry who are dangerous! Here are a few general areas people are having problems with:

1. Definitions of the cloud. While nearly everyone can rattle off software-as-a-service (SaaS), Pplatform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), a surprising number cannot tell you which category some very popular cloud services fall into. A lot of people don’t really understand what a community or hybrid cloud is.

2. Federated identity management. The concept of federated identities is important in the cloud, e.g., leveraging your internal LDAP directory of users to access an external SaaS application.

3. Compliance responsibility. A few questions have been answered in a way that implies many people don’t understand the shared nature of compliance between customer and provider -- you can’t just throw compliance over the wall!

4. Cloud vendor lock-in. A large number of people had problems understanding the important issues related to migrating to different cloud providers, e.g., contractual access to data, data formats, building applications in way that isolates and abstracts proprietary provider extensions, and understanding what is important for different types of clouds.

Oh, well. It's still early in the cloud, and I know my students will be much smarter next year.

Jim Reavis is the executive director of the Cloud Security Alliance, and president of Reavis Consulting Group.

Jim Reavis is the President of Reavis Consulting Group LLC, where he advises organizations on how to take advantage of the latest security trends. Jim has served as an international board member of the Information Systems Security Association and was co-founder of the ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7877
Published: 2014-10-30
Unspecified vulnerability in the kernel in HP HP-UX B.11.31 allows local users to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3051
Published: 2014-10-29
The Internet Service Monitor (ISM) agent in IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) for Transactions 7.1 and 7.2 before 7.2.0.3 IF28, 7.3 before 7.3.0.1 IF30, and 7.4 before 7.4.0.0 IF18 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof s...

CVE-2014-3668
Published: 2014-10-29
Buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in the mkgmtime implementation in libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in the XMLRPC extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via (1) a crafted first argument t...

CVE-2014-3669
Published: 2014-10-29
Integer overflow in the object_custom function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.c in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via an argument to the unserialize function ...

CVE-2014-3670
Published: 2014-10-29
The exif_ifd_make_value function in exif.c in the EXIF extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 operates on floating-point arrays incorrectly, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (heap memory corruption and application crash) or possibly exec...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.