When we look at the secure hybrid cloud, there seems to be a missing piece, a piece that is used to validate identity via role based access controls assigned to applications, data, and systems. An identity that allows control of dynamic instead of the normal static firewall rules that are part and parcel of most environments. The software defined data center needs security to move with it and not remain static. Yes we could manipulate the rules on the fly, but those manipulations require that we know who is using a particular VM at a given time and in the case of a server, the VM could be used by more than one user at a time, so we need something more dynamic. Privileged access to data needs to be enforced throughout the stack and not just within an application or by encrypting data. Validating against an identity is a key component of the secure software defined data center and secure hybrid cloud.
Articles Tagged with Encryption
At the recent Misti Big Data Security conference many forms of securing big data were discussed from encrypting the entire big data pool to just encrypting the critical bits of data within the pool. On several of the talks there was general discussion on securing Hadoop as well as access to the pool of data. These security measures include RBAC, encryption of data in motion between hadoop nodes as well as tokenization or encryption on ingest of data. What was missing was greater control of who can access specific data once that data was in the pool. How could role based access controls by datum be put into effect? Is such protection too expensive given the time critical nature of analytics or are there other ways to implement datum security?
On the 4/4 Virtualization Security Podcast, Pete Nicoletti, the chief information security officer for Virtustream, joined us to discuss how VirtuStream does cloud security. VirtuStream runs some of, if not the largest SAP installations in the cloud for very large enterprises around the world. The key to VirtuStream is that they are an Enterprise Cloud that looks at everything from the Enterprise perspective, whether that is billing or security. For security, they have implemented many changes required by their customers and allowed the end-enterprise to dial that security to 11 if necessary. But what does VirtuStream do that is different from all others?
Recently I discussed Virtualizing Business Critical Applications and security, which includes availability, confidentiality, and integrity. However, that discussion was more about visibility into the environment for security operations. I purposely left off the discussion of gaining integrity and confidentiality of the data housed within those business critical applications. Security encompasses a great number of technologies, and those that provide integrity and confidentiality often differ from those that provide visibility into an environment which differ from those that provide availability.
The 5/31 Virtualization Security Podcast we spoke to High Cloud Security about encryption as a defense in depth, and where to place encryption within the virtual environment. This lead to an intriguing discussion about what is actually missing from current virtual environments when it comes to encryption. We can encrypt within each VM and we can encrypt within the networking fabric, as well as within the drives themselves, but currently that leaves several vulnerabilities and unencrypted locations that can be used as attack points. While we concentrated on vSphere, what we are discussing applies equally to all hypervisors.
Many of the virtualization security people I have talked to are waiting patiently for the next drop of leaked VMware hypervisor code. But the real question in many a mind is whether or not this changes the the threat landscape and raises the risk unacceptably. So let’s look at the current hypervisor threat landscape within the virtual environment to determine if this is the case, and where such source code will impact. Are there any steps one can take now before the code drop is complete to better secure your environment?