June 17, 2014, Rick Dakin, CEO, Co-founder and Chief Security Strategist
I spoke recently at TIA’s Network of the Future conference. At the session, which was heavier on vendors than operators, the discussion was very focused on the cloud. Everyone wants to know what’s coming next and if they’re ready for it.
The accelerating cloud transition is both good and bad for data security teams. It’s good, because it’s an opportunity to prepare and defend a dynamic platform that can be far more secure than the static legacy platforms that many organizations are defending today. It’s bad because if we mess up in the cloud, it’s potentially a huge number of organizations and individuals who could be at risk.
There’s a lot of concern over what the cloud means, but this should not be a scary time. We can capitalize on this opportunity to deploy a hardened cloud that will comply with new standards like FedRAMP and PCI mobile services. This will take careful risk assessment, more secure application development and integration of more nimble monitoring and active security response.
All sustainable security programs are based on “defense in depth,” with static border protection and access control supplemented by dynamic monitoring programs that constantly analyze new threats and suggest the appropriate responses.
The same principle applies to organizations that are serious about protecting customer information. Many recent breaches have been executed with sophisticated, zero-day malware exploits that were undetectable by antivirus solutions. If the cloud is breached, we need active monitoring to make sure the bad guys aren’t running wild undetected.
The biggest remaining obstacle to creating a secure cloud is our inability to conduct risk assessments of integrated third parties. We’ve seen with multiple recent breaches – again this month with AT&T – that the easiest way into a company’s system can be through its connected vendors. The entire ecosystem has to be secured.
At its simplest, cloud security begins with a clear allocation of responsibilities between the customer and a cloud service provider (CSP):
Identify where your data will be stored. Compliance laws and regulatory standards may require information to be stored only within the United States.
Ensure adequate physical security. The “cloud” is simply a bank of servers stored somewhere else. Verify they are safe.
Enforce access controls. The cloud user should know who has access to stored data, how they are screened, and the training programs that are in place.
Verify CSPs are monitoring the flow of data and using alerts to identify breaches, track user activity, and enforce accountability for user actions.
Coalfire has conducted thousands of assessments of virtualization architecture for clients in a wide range of industries. Contact us today if you’re serious about protecting your data and thinking through your own cloud migration plans.
Rick Dakin — CEO, Co-founder and Chief Security Strategist
Coalfire started in 2001 with a simple idea – cyber threats are increasing, compliance mandates are getting more complicated, and a well-designed cybersecurity program can help fuel your overall success.
Coalfire helps organizations comply with global financial, government, industry and healthcare mandates while helping build the IT infrastructure and security systems that will protect their business from security breaches and data theft. The company is a leading provider of IT advisory services for security in retail, payments, healthcare, financial services, higher education, hospitality, government and utilities.
The Coalfire Board of Directors provides invaluable guidance for the organization and reflects Coalfire’s dedication to achieving success for our customers.
Coalfire’s executive leadership team comprises some of the most knowledgeable professionals in cybersecurity, representing many decades of experience leading and developing teams to outperform in meeting the security challenges of commercial and government clients. With diverse backgrounds in IT systems security, governmental security, compliance, and reducing risk while implementing the latest enabling technologies (such as the Cloud and IoT), our leaders understand the challenges customers face.
With a passion for quality, Coalfire uses a process-driven quality approach to improve the customer experience and deliver unparalleled results.
Created in honor of the late co-founder of Coalfire, the Richard E. Dakin Fund at The Denver Foundation is supporting scholarship programs at several universities for promising college students studying cybersecurity and related fields.
Security is a team game. If your organization values both independence and security, perhaps we should become partners.
The increased need for cyber security has become a common enterprise priority across the globe. However, industry requirements for effective cyber risk management are as distinct as the individual entities under fire. Enterprises and government organizations need more than an off-the-shelf audit to provide an effective threat assessment. They need industry- and organization-specific insights, tools and processes to protect digital assets and ensure compliance.
Coalfire can help cloud service providers prioritize the cyber risks to the company, and find the right cyber risk management and compliance efforts that keeps customer data secure, and helps differentiate products.
“Success” at a government entity looks different than at a commercial organization. Create cybersecurity solutions to support your mission goals with a team that understands your unique requirements.
The financial services industry was built upon security and privacy. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, a strong vault and a guard at the door won’t offer any protection against phishing, DDoS attacks and IT infrastructure breaches.
The continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of care. Interoperability is the central idea to this care continuum making it possible to have the right information at the right time for the right people to make the right decisions.
Maintaining network and data security in any large organization is a major challenge for information systems departments. However, in the higher education environment, the protection of IT assets and sensitive information must be balanced with the need for ‘openness’ and academic freedom; making this a more difficult and complex task.
When it comes to cyber threats, the hospitality industry is not a friendly place. Hotels and resorts have proven to be a favorite target for cyber criminals who are looking for high transaction volume, large databases and low barriers to entry.
The payments industry is undergoing rapid changes and unfortunately, an increasing risk for data breaches. Cyber criminals are growing increasingly businesslike, and payments leaders need to move quickly to cover their cyber risk.
The food and beverage industry is under attack from cyber criminals intent on stealing payment information. The food and beverage industry makes up the highest percentage of breach investigations, at nearly 73 percent, according to Visa.
The global retail industry has become the top target for cyber terrorists, and the impact of this onslaught has been staggering to merchants. To secure the complex IT infrastructure of a retail environment, merchants must embrace enterprise-wide cyber risk management practices that reduces risk, minimizes costs and provides security to their customers and their bottom line.
Private enterprises serving government and state agencies need to be upheld to the same information management practices and standards as the organizations they serve. Coalfire has over 16 years of experience helping companies navigate increasing complex governance and risk standards for public institutions and their IT vendors.
Technology innovations are enabling new methods for corporations and governments to operate and driving changes in consumer behavior. The companies delivering these technology products are facilitating business transformation that provides new operating models, increased efficiency and engagement with consumers as businesses seek a competitive advantage.
Cybersecurity has entered the list of the top five concerns for U.S. electric utilities, and with good reason. According to the Department of Homeland Security, attacks on the utilities industry are rising "at an alarming rate."
Cyber risk management, advisory, technology and compliance services. Manage risk and maximize return on investment to prevent data breaches and theft. Coalfire’s solutions are led by a team of industry experts that help enterprise organizations understand a wide range of compliance and risk management initiatives, which enables a consistent cybersecurity framework across the organization.
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