10 Realms of Cloud Security Services

Computer Security Alliance Foresees Security as a Service
10 Realms of Cloud Security Services
Security poses a major challenge to the widespread adoption of cloud computing, yet an association of cloud users and vendors sees the cloud as a provider of information security services.

The Security-as-a-Service Working Group of the Cloud Security Alliance, a not-for-profit association formed by cloud-computing stakeholders, issued a report Monday that defines 10 categories of security services that can be offered over the cloud.

The alliance said its report is aimed at providing cloud users and providers greater clarity on security as a service in order to ease its adoption while limiting the financial burden security presents to organizations. The 10 security-as-a-service categories are:

  1. Identity and Access Management should provide controls for assured identities and access management. Identity and access management includes people, processes and systems that are used to manage access to enterprise resources by assuring the identity of an entity is verified and is granted the correct level of access based on this assured identity. Audit logs of activity such as successful and failed authentication and access attempts should be kept by the application/solution.
  2. Data Loss Prevention is the monitoring, protecting and verifying the security of data at rest, in motion and in use in the cloud and on-premises. Data loss prevention services offer protection of data usually by running as some sort of client on desktops/servers and running rules around what can be done. Within the cloud, data loss prevention services could be offered as something that is provided as part of the build, such that all servers built for that client get the data loss prevention software installed with an agreed set of rules deployed.
  3. Web Security is real-time protection offered either on-premise through software/appliance installation or via the cloud by proxying or redirecting web traffic to the cloud provider. This provides an added layer of protection on top of things like AV to prevent malware from entering the enterprise via activities such as web browsing. Policy rules around the types of web access and the times this is acceptable also can be enforced via these web security technologies.
  4. E-mail Security should provide control over inbound and outbound e-mail, thereby protecting the organization from phishing and malicious attachments, enforcing corporate policies such as acceptable use and spam and providing business continuity options. The solution should allow for policy-based encryption of e-mails as well as integrating with various e-mail server offerings. Digital signatures enabling identification and non-repudiation are features of many cloud e-mail security solutions.
  5. Security Assessments are third-party audits of cloud services or assessments of on-premises systems based on industry standards. Traditional security assessments for infrastructure and applications and compliance audits are well defined and supported by multiple standards such as NIST, ISO and CIS. A relatively mature toolset exists, and a number of tools have been implemented using the SaaS delivery model. In the SaaS delivery model, subscribers get the typical benefits of this cloud computing variant elasticity, negligible setup time, low administration overhead and pay-per-use with low initial investments.
  6. Intrusion Management is the process of using pattern recognition to detect and react to statistically unusual events. This may include reconfiguring system components in real time to stop/prevent an intrusion. The methods of intrusion detection, prevention and response in physical environments are mature; however, the growth of virtualization and massive multi-tenancy is creating new targets for intrusion and raises many questions about the implementation of the same protection in cloud environments.
  7. Security Information and Event Management systems accept log and event information. This information is then correlated and analyzed to provide real-time reporting and alerting on incidents/events that may require intervention. The logs are likely to be kept in a manner that prevents tampering to enable their use as evidence in any investigations.
  8. Encryption systems typically consist of algorithms that are computationally difficult or infeasible to break, along with the processes and procedures to manage encryption and decryption, hashing, digital signatures, certificate generation and renewal and key exchange.
  9. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery are the measures designed and implemented to ensure operational resiliency in the event of any service interruptions. Business continuity and disaster recovery provides flexible and reliable failover for required services in the event of any service interruptions, including those caused by natural or man-made disasters or disruptions. Cloud-centric business continuity and disaster recovery makes use of the cloud's flexibility to minimize cost and maximize benefits.
  10. Network Security consists of security services that allocate access, distribute, monitor and protect the underlying resource services. Architecturally, network security provides services that address security controls at the network in aggregate or specifically addressed at the individual network of each underlying resource. In a cloud/virtual environment, network security is likely to be provided by virtual devices alongside traditional physical devices.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Host & Producer, ISMG Security Report; Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity & InfoRiskToday

Chabrow hosts and produces the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversees ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.




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