Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

11/3/2016
11:30 AM
Jeff Schilling
Jeff Schilling
Commentary
Connect Directly
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

Managing Multi-Cloud Security ‘Whether You Want to or Not’

Yes, it is possible to orchestrate security across multiple clouds without creating performance hurdles. Here's how.

In my experience, many conversations with customer security teams inevitably begin with: “I just found out that one of our business owners built infrastructure in the public cloud and it is hosting a critical business process.”  Or, “we can’t afford the tech refresh in my current datacenter, and I have been directed to manage a multi-year migration plan to the public cloud.” Hence the headline of this piece “…whether you want to or not.”

Hybrid cloud security management is one of the popular industry trends that has seen a plethora of service offerings, all proclaiming to provide the “single pane of glass” to visualize security posture across datacenters. However, if there isn’t a plan for orchestrating security across multiple clouds, there will inherently be a collection of disparate data that will make management difficult. 

For those fortunate enough to have a centralized datacenter managed in-house, the reality is that while those days are most likely numbered it might already be too late to embrace this new reality and plan accordingly. Before succumbing to this “want to or not” category, it is not as difficult as one might think to develop a roadmap for managing multi-cloud security on one’s own terms.

Data classification
The first step in managing this divergent landscape is to classify datacenter environments into low, medium and high risk. This allows for proactive management of the type of data to send to each cloud option. The breakdown should include:

  • Low-risk environments (e.g. static marketing webpages) are great candidates for public cloud offerings with a few security controls to detect an infected server.
  • Medium-risk environments (e.g. dev environment, collaborations systems) require protection, but likely will benefit from the agility and cost of public cloud options. This classification should have a managed security solution that pulls security telemetry into a Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) tool or a third-party security monitoring tool.
  • High-risk environments (e.g. payment card data, personal healthcare information) should be protected and require auditable security controls that must be maintained.  This could be conducted in the public cloud; however, most organizations choose to keep them within internal IT infrastructure or host in a secure private cloud. This is normally the last environment to move to the cloud and is likely the bottleneck to keep from putting all environments in one location. 

Setting the Security Framework
Once an approach to distribute workloads to various cloud options is determined, the next step is to define the security framework and tools to leverage in each environment. It is advisable to organize security controls into high-level buckets in accordance with the compliance frameworks being used (e.g. NIST 800-53, ISO, PCI), then try to standardize the tools you use to implement those controls. 

For example, consider the tools for network inspection (layer 3/layer 4) and application inspection (layer 7), network segmentation, configuration control, endpoint detection/remediation. Whenever possible, the same tools should be used across multiple clouds. If this isn’t reasonable, try to ensure the log output from those tools can be consumed and visualized with a correlation tool or SIEM.

The final step to building a multi-cloud security platform is to create the logging infrastructure that allows all of the information to flow into the proverbial “single pane of glass” to manage multi-cloud security. The critical aspect in this situation is to settle on a single logging standard (e.g. Syslog, JSON) then convert where necessary to integrate in a visualization tool or correlation engine. This is where many security teams choose to use a third-party tool or management portal to offload this demanding architecture design task on an outside group. 

Once these steps are in place, building a sound roadmap to a secure multi-cloud environment becomes far more manageable. A solid plan will also be able to sustain additional growth and ensure that the ROI that the cloud offers is fully realized. The ultimate goal is to have seamless security without creating performance hurdles. Being proactive and thinking big picture is a huge first step.

Related Content:

Black Hat Europe 2016 is coming to London's Business Design Centre November 1 through 4. Click for information on the briefing schedule and to register.

Jeff Schilling, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is Armor's chief security officer. He is responsible for the cyber and physical security programs for the corporate environment and customer-focused capabilities. His areas of responsibilities include security operation, governance ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/27/2020
The Problem with Artificial Intelligence in Security
Dr. Leila Powell, Lead Security Data Scientist, Panaseer,  5/26/2020
How an Industry Consortium Can Reinvent Security Solution Testing
Henry Harrison, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Garrison,  5/21/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8603
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
A cross-site scripting vulnerability (XSS) in Trend Micro InterScan Web Security Virtual Appliance 6.5 may allow a remote attacker to tamper with the web interface of affected installations. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or ...
CVE-2020-8604
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
A vulnerability in Trend Micro InterScan Web Security Virtual Appliance 6.5 may allow remote attackers to disclose sensitive informatoin on affected installations.
CVE-2020-8605
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
A vulnerability in Trend Micro InterScan Web Security Virtual Appliance 6.5 may allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations. Authentication is required to exploit this vulnerability.
CVE-2020-8606
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
A vulnerability in Trend Micro InterScan Web Security Virtual Appliance 6.5 may allow remote attackers to bypass authentication on affected installations of Trend Micro InterScan Web Security Virtual Appliance.
CVE-2020-11075
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
In Anchore Engine version 0.7.0, a specially crafted container image manifest, fetched from a registry, can be used to trigger a shell escape flaw in the anchore engine analyzer service during an image analysis process. The image analysis operation can only be executed by an authenticated user via a...