Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Shifts the Burden of Security to Development

The application remains your last line of defense

The following is an excerpt from an article that Parasoft recently authored for CrossTalk, an approved Department of Defense journal...

Abstract
The move to the cloud brings a number of new security challenges, but the application remains your last line of defense. Engineers are extremely well poised to perform tasks critical for securing the application-provided that certain key obstacles are overcome.

Service Virtualization Cloud Security

Introduction
This paper explores three ways to help development bear the burden of security that the cloud places on them:

  • Use penetration testing results to help engineers determine how to effectively "harden" the most vulnerable parts of the application.

  • Apply the emerging practice of "service virtualization" to provide engineers the test environment access needed to exercise realistic security scenarios from the development environment.

  • Implement policy-driven development to help engineers understand and satisfy management's security expectations.

New Risks, Same Vulnerability
Before the move to the cloud, few organizations lost sleep over application security because they assumed their internally-controlled security infrastructure provided ample protection. With the move to cloud, security concerns are thrust into the forefront as organizations consider how much security control they are willing to relinquish to cloud service providers and what level of exposure they are willing to allow.

The fact of the matter is that with or without the cloud, failure to secure the application always is-and always has been-a dangerous proposition. Even when the bulk of the network security rested under the organization's direct control, attackers still managed to successfully launch attacks via the application layer. From the 2002 breach at the Australian Taxation office where a hacker accessed tax details on 17,000 businesses to the 2006 incident where Russian hackers stole credit card information from Rhode Island government systems, to the recent attack that brought down the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) vulnerability database, it's clear that a deficiency in the application layer can the be one and only entry point an attacker needs.

Public cloud, private cloud, or no cloud at all, the application is your last line of defense and if you don't properly secure the application, you're putting the organization at risk/ Nevertheless, the move to the cloud does bring some significant changes to the application security front:

  • Applications developed under the assumption of a bulletproof security infrastructure might need to have their strategies for authorization, encryption, message exchange, and data storage re-envisioned for cloud-based deployment.

  • The move to cloud architectures increases the attack surface area, potentially exposing more entry points for hackers. This attack surface area is compounded with more distributed computing technologies, such as mobile, web, and APIs.

  • As applications shift from monolithic architectures to composite ones, there is a high degree of interconnectedness with 3rd party services-and a poorly-engineered or malfunctioning dependency could raise the security risk of all connected components. For example, a recent attack on Yahoo exploited a vulnerability from a third-party application. The composite application is only as secure as its weakest link.

  • As organizations push more (and more critical) functionality to the cloud, the potential impact of an attack or breach escalates from embarrassing to potentially devastating-in terms of safety, reputation, and liability.

With the move to the cloud placing more at stake, it's now more critical than ever to make application security a primary concern. The industry has long recognized that development can and should play a significant role in securing the application. This is underscored by the DoD's directive for certifications in the area of software development security (e.g., via CISSP).  Select organizations that have successfully adopted a secure application development initiative have achieved promising results. However, such success stories still remain the exception rather than the rule.

Should Development Be Responsible for Application Security?
Due to software engineers' intimate familiarity with the application's architecture and functionality, they are extremely well-poised to accomplish the various tasks required to safeguard application security. Yet, a number of factors impede engineers' ability to shoulder the burden of security:

  • The organization's security objectives are not effectively communicated to the development level.

  • For engineers to determine whether a particular module they developed is secure, they need to access and configure dependent resources (e.g., partner services, mainframes, databases) for realistic security scenarios-and such access and configurability is not commonly available within the development environment.

  • Management often overlooks security when defining non-functional requirements for engineers and planning development schedules; this oversight, paired with the myopic nature of coding new functionality, commonly reduces security concerns to an afterthought.

  • Security tests are frequently started at the testing phase, when it is typically too late to make the necessary critical architectural changes.

In the following sections, we explore how strategies related to penetration testing, service virtualization, and policy-driven development can better prepare engineers to bear the heavy burden of security that accompanies the shift to the cloud.

Moving Beyond Penetration Testing: Divide and Conquer
Penetration testing is routinely used to barrage the application with attack scenarios and determine whether or not the application can fend them off. When a simulated attack succeeds, you know for a fact that the application has a vulnerability which makes you susceptible to a particular breed of attacks. It alerts you to real vulnerabilities that can be exploited by known attack patterns-essentially sitting ducks in your applications. When a penetration attack succeeds, there is little need to discuss whether it needs to be repaired. It's not a matter of "if", but rather of "how" and "when."

The common reaction to a reported penetration failure is to have engineers patch the vulnerability as soon as possible, then move on. In some situations, taking the path of least resistance to eliminating a particular known vulnerability is a necessary evil. However, relying solely on a "whack a mole" strategy for application security leaves a considerable amount of valuable information on the table-information that could be critical for averting the next security crisis.

Switching to a non-software example for a moment, consider what happened when the US Army realized how susceptible Humvees were to roadside bombs in the early 2000s. After initial ad-hoc attempts to improve security with one-off fixes (such as adding sandbags to floorboards and bolting miscellaneous metal to the sides of the vehicles), the Army devised add-on armor kits to address structural vulnerabilities and deployed them across the existing fleet . In parallel with this effort, they also took steps to ensure that additional protection was built into new vehicles that were requisitioned from that point forward.

How does such as strategy play out in terms of software? The first step is recognizing that successful attacks-actual or simulated-are a valuable weapon in determining what parts of your application are the most susceptible to attack. For example, if the penetration tests run this week succeed in an area of the application where penetration tests have failed before-and this is also an area that you've already had to patch twice in response to actual attacks-this module is clearly suffering from some underlying security issues that probably won't be solved by yet another patch...

Want to read more? You can access the complete article here.

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Content Strategist/Writer at Tricentis, writes about software testing and the SDLC—specializing in continuous testing, functional/API testing, DevOps, Agile, and service virtualization. She has written articles for publications including SD Times, Stickyminds, InfoQ, ComputerWorld, IEEE Computer, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. She also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.

@CloudExpo Stories
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"Since we launched LinuxONE we learned a lot from our customers. More than anything what they responded to were some very unique security capabilities that we have," explained Mark Figley, Director of LinuxONE Offerings at IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.