The Virtualization Practice

Tag Archive for Secure Hybrid Cloud

Hytrust100x30

HyTrust released their version 3.5 of their virtualization security proxy and compliance tool. This tool is core to a growing ecosystem of partners and systems. HyTrust has also expanded its role within the Secure Hybrid Cloud by covering more of what is traditionally part of the data center. HyTrust is a proxy that sits between an administrator and sensitive systems by providing advanced role based access controls but also advanced logging. With HyTrust fronting your VMware vSphere environment, HP ILO, Cisco UCS UIM, Nexus Switches, administrators gain a fine grain level of control over actions, improved logging in these environments, and the ability to vault critical passwords.

VirtualizationSecurity

While at VMworld 2013, I started to ask 5 security questions that have been bothering me for some time now. Some of these questions apparently have no answers currently and others only have operational answers, no technology. Security of a secure hybrid cloud is a mix of procedures, policies, operations, and technology. These questions are about various aspects of virtual and cloud environments that have been nagging at me for some time now as well as problems I have faced managing our own cloud instances. Perhaps you have questions you would like to add to the list, if so please share.

When we think of logging within the secure hybrid cloud, we tend to think of analytics, but there is more to logging than just reviewing the data there are also discussions on what to collect and from where as well as why collect the data? For security purposes we may start with collecting access data and work out from there, but most logs from complex systems such as a secure hybrid cloud include many different forms of log data and in some cases, not enough. Perhaps what log data you can retrieve may be a deciding point for hybrid cloud services as logs are used not only for audit purposes, but also for trouble shooting and forensics. What log data do you collect within your secure hybrid cloud?

The Hybrid Cloud has 100s if not 1000s of APIs in use at any time. API security therefore becomes a crucial part of any hybrid cloud environment. There are only so many ways to secure an API, we can limit its access, check the commands, encrypt the data transfer, employ API level role based access controls, ensure we use strong authentication, etc. However, it mostly boils down to depending on the API itself to be secure because while we can do many things on the front end, there is a chance that once the commands and actions reach the other end (cloud or datacenter) that the security could be suspect. So how do we implement API security within the hybrid cloud today?

When it comes to the secure hybrid cloud, Identity has many different definitions from a device a user is using to the combination device, location, password, and other multi-factor authentication means. Even with all the technology there is still the question of where the identity store lives (the bits that contain the identity for all users, devices, etc.) as well as how do you prove identity once the user goes somewhere within the cloud which is outside your control?

When we look at the secure hybrid cloud, the entry point to the hybrid cloud is the end user computing device, whether that device is a tablet, smart phone, desktop, laptop, google glass, watch, etc. We enter our hybrid cloud from this device. From there we spread out to other clouds within our control, clouds outside our control, or to data centers. How these devices authenticate and access the data within these various places within the hybrid cloud becomes a matter of great importance and has been a concentration for many companies. How we protect the data that ends up on the end user computing device is also of great importance.

Data Protection for the Hybrid Cloud

In many cases, when we mention Data Protection for the Hybrid Cloud, we are usually talking about backing up to the cloud. The cloud becomes a repository of our backup images and in some cases those backup images can be launched within clouds that use the same technology. Being able to send data to the cloud is becoming table stakes for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) data protection. However, once we move outside the realm of IaaS to Platform or Software as a Service (PaaS or SaaS), data protection is hit or miss.

Securing the Hybrid Cloud

The secure hybrid cloud encompasses a complex environment with a complex set of security requirements spanning the data center (or data closet), end user computing devices, and various cloud services. The entry point to the entire hybrid cloud is some form of End User Computing device whether that is a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or even a desktop computer. Once you enter the hybrid cloud, you may be taken to a cloud service or to your data center. The goal is to understand how the data flows through out this environment in order to properly secure it and therefore secure the hybrid cloud, but since it is a complex environment, we need a simpler way to view this environment.