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.

Risk

9/30/2008
01:15 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Can You Prove Compliance In The Cloud?

Whether you're in the midst of an audit or a forensic investigation, thorough logs are the key to proving compliance with security regulations. So how do you prove your organization is/was compliant when you aren't able to maintain logs? This is the nagging question that gnaws hungrily at my weary brain every time I ponder cloud computing.

Whether you're in the midst of an audit or a forensic investigation, thorough logs are the key to proving compliance with security regulations. So how do you prove your organization is/was compliant when you aren't able to maintain logs? This is the nagging question that gnaws hungrily at my weary brain every time I ponder cloud computing.There are almost as many definitions of "cloud computing" as there are clouds in the sky, but this one, penned by Michael Crandell of RightScale a few months ago, seems to sum it up quite beautifully. Cloud computing is:

    "...the notion of providing easily accessible compute and storage resources on a pay-as-you-go, on-demand basis, from a virtually infinite infrastructure managed by someone else. As a customer, you don't know where the resources are, and for the most part, you don't care. What's really important is the capability to access your application anywhere, move it freely and easily, and inexpensively add resources for instant scalability." --Michael Crandell, RightScale, June 2008. (Thanks to Peter Laird of Oracle for pointing to this definition during his presentation on cloud taxonomy at Interop New York a few weeks ago.)

The parts of this definition that unnerve me are "managed by someone else" and "you don't know where the resources are." I've not yet investigated any of the usage agreements or discussed this with the companies that offer cloud services, but my guess is that organizations have neither the authority nor the ability to establish log settings, maintain logs, or view logs of any activity conducted on that "virtually infinite infrastructure."

This is particularly worrisome if you are (and I really hope you aren't) using cloud computing services for storing sensitive/protected data. Wouldn't you like to know whom else's data is stored on the same server as yours? Wouldn't you like to know when, by whom, and where to your data is copied? Wouldn't you like to know (in the quite likely instance that the cloud data center is employing the use of server virtualization) when the server VM holding your data is migrated to some other server? Wouldn't you like to know that all of these things were done securely? I doubt many organizations are using cloud computing in this way, yet, but it's worth making note of when revamping your risk model for 2009.

There are other little security curiosities gnawing at my brain with cub teeth. For example, it's conceivable to assume that the superior load-balancing capabilities inherent in a cloud server farm make denials of service less likely; but if a denial of service did occur -- whether through an attack or some unintentional outage -- the impact would be quite keenly felt by many organizations.

Mind you, there are some cute, elegant things about cloud services that do make life feel both more fun and more civilized ... I just wouldn't be too hasty moving critical data and services into the cloud.

I'll soon be pestering the major companies offering cloud services -- Google, IBM, and Amazon, for starters -- for answers to these questions. We'll be devoting the entire December issue of the Alert -- our publication for CSI members only -- to the topic of cloud computing and security. Security in the cloud also will be discussed during our Web 2.0 Security summit during our CSI 2008: Security Reconsidered conference in November.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
US Sets $5 Million Bounty For Russian Hacker Behind Zeus Banking Thefts
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  12/5/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19604
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-11
Arbitrary command execution is possible in Git before 2.20.2, 2.21.x before 2.21.1, 2.22.x before 2.22.2, 2.23.x before 2.23.1, and 2.24.x before 2.24.1 because a "git submodule update" operation can run commands found in the .gitmodules file of a malicious repository.
CVE-2019-14861
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-10
All Samba versions 4.x.x before 4.9.17, 4.10.x before 4.10.11 and 4.11.x before 4.11.3 have an issue, where the (poorly named) dnsserver RPC pipe provides administrative facilities to modify DNS records and zones. Samba, when acting as an AD DC, stores DNS records in LDAP. In AD, the default permiss...
CVE-2019-14870
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-10
All Samba versions 4.x.x before 4.9.17, 4.10.x before 4.10.11 and 4.11.x before 4.11.3 have an issue, where the S4U (MS-SFU) Kerberos delegation model includes a feature allowing for a subset of clients to be opted out of constrained delegation in any way, either S4U2Self or regular Kerberos authent...
CVE-2019-14889
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-10
A flaw was found with the libssh API function ssh_scp_new() in versions before 0.9.3 and before 0.8.8. When the libssh SCP client connects to a server, the scp command, which includes a user-provided path, is executed on the server-side. In case the library is used in a way where users can influence...
CVE-2019-1484
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-10
A remote code execution vulnerability exists when Microsoft Windows OLE fails to properly validate user input, aka 'Windows OLE Remote Code Execution Vulnerability'.