Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Aruna Ravichandran

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

When Compliance Comes Down to Security | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Security

The top three regulations and how you can prepare

In the business world, it's hard to throw a rock without hitting a compliance requirement. All must be obeyed, but some call for a high level of control and auditability. Governing bodies are exerting their authority like never before, increasing the number of auditors and handing out heavy fines - sometimes as much as $1 million.

This has become the new norm, and it isn't likely to turn around any time soon. It's important, then, to be aware of the primary threats that could undermine compliance efforts. The top three such issues are discussed below.

The Challenges of SOX
Public companies in the U.S. as well as foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges are required by Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to assess their internal controls, have that assessment validated by an external auditor and report the assessment to the SEC. Information security professionals need to ensure that their organization complies with requirement in Section 302 and Section 404 of the legislation.

For the financial industry, SOX-404 and internal controls remain the most critical on the compliance horizon. Financial industry compliance challenges include Annual Financial and SSAE-16 audit requirements. However, audits of identity management (logical access) controls continue to result in exceptions. Companies struggle with adherence to privileged access controls - lack of visibility into what, when and how administrators access production environments.

SSH keys are a critical component for ensuring adequate and compliant controls for cardholder data environments. However, many organizations have no visibility into or assume compliance with their SSH key environments until an auditor identifies the issue or exception in their reports. SSH is one of those unseen workhorses in IT infrastructures, which is why it is also referred to as the "dark side" of PCI DSS compliance.

Financial institutions have expanded their business models beyond simply doing payroll, tax, investments, etc. They have taken on additional services to expand their markets and revenue potential. These vary from complete HR services to retirement services to medical payment services and much more. But changing industry business models change the threat landscape and expand the definition of sensitive information. Their protected data definitions now go beyond SSN and DOB to also include credit card data and medical data (protected health information). This increases the complexity of their compliance initiatives and the scrutiny of the audits they start to undergo.

Managing Privileged Access
The privileged and logical access controls within privileged access management (PAM) will continue to be a compliance nightmare. They cause the most audit infractions. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that more companies are outsourcing tech support, and more companies are employing remote workers. Both of these groups must be granted remote access to an organization's production environment and highly sensitive information in order to do their jobs. This access also includes machines talking to other machines in an automated fashion.

Enterprises must grant third-party access to a variety of vendors and contractors, but managing this access often comes as an afterthought in the organization's overall security strategies and postures. The 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime Survey revealed some dangerous trends on this topic:

  • Seventy percent of enterprises enter into contracts with external vendors without having conducted any security checks
  • Only 44 percent of enterprises put forth the effort to vet the security of third-party providers and others in their IT supply chain

Better security and privacy controls may be supported by third-party and vendor contract agreements, but these actions may not exclude organizations from accountability and responsibility as it relates to a security breach.

HIPAA HITECH
If SOX-404 were a cat, HIPAA/HITECH would be a lion in comparison. Organizations may have to comply with PCI, FISMA, SOX, BASEL III or other regulations, but none of these are a match for the HIPAA/HITECH tidal wave in terms of severity. The U.S. federal government (Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights) is more active than ever in enforcing this law and is levying harsher fines with greater frequency for noncompliance.

Regulatory bodies have kept track of the areas that healthcare providers have failed at most often in the past, and auditors are concentrating their firepower in those areas and are levying massive fines for noncompliance. Targeted areas include:

  • Risk analysis and risk management
  • Content and timeliness of breach notifications
  • Notice of privacy practices
  • Individual access
  • Training to policies and procedures
  • Device and media controls
  • Transmission security

As enterprises branch out into new markets, they will need to exercise caution regarding whether those markets are covered by HIPAA and whether they are being compliant to avoid being hit with heavy fines.

Compliance via SSH Security
With so many regulations to keep in mind and so many financial and legal risks, the following best practices can help enterprises improve their SSH environment security - and, therefore, their compliance.

1. No more manual key management
If you insist on manually managing keys, you are relegating your highly skilled IT staff to the mental equivalent of drudgery. A centralized SSH key management system not only ameliorates the issues listed above, it increases your ROI by letting your IT staff tackle more complicated issues.

2. Take control of your SSH key deployment
While most SSH key deployments are straightforward, rotation and removal can be tricky. Control who can add keys to your environment, and deploy, remove and rotate keys in a centralized way. Sometimes a rotated key can create a new vulnerability. This encourages the tendency to leave a key in place long after its original user has moved on. Automate SSH key rotation.

3. Take inventory to understand your environment
You will need to find out how many SSH keys you have, where they are and which users have which keys. Once you understand your environment, you can take steps to tame it.

4. The ability to audit in real time
Lest you end up on the wrong side of a SOX audit, your auditors need to be able to view the source of any breach clearly and perform an audit trail. Make sure your organization has a system in place to provide auditors with exactly the information they need, when they need it.

The Whole Compliance Package
With penalties as high as a million dollars, organizations cannot afford to not be compliant. As they consider compliance risks across their business, they need to honestly assess whether they could survive an audit. Continuous compliance should become the goal, facilitated by security and privacy controls interwoven into day-to-day processes and procedures. When the inevitable breach does occur, having integrated security controls in place will go a long way toward both ensuring compliance with reporting requirements and expedite breach investigations.

More Stories By Fouad Khalil

Fouad Khalil is VP of Compliance at SSH Communication Security with extensive experience in the technology space with more than 25 years spanning disciplines in software development, IT support, program and project management and most recently IT Security and Compliance management. He has come up the technology ladder his entire career from network, system and database administration, software programming, system, software and GUI design, project and product development, solution implementation and much more.

He has been an active member in ISACA, IIA and Infragard for over ten (10) years and an active contributor to ISSA and ISC2 regionally and nationwide. He is CISA and ITIL Foundations certified.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, will provide a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. Together we will solve a machine learning problem and find 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 intellige...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Transforming cloud-based data into a reportable format can be a very expensive, time-intensive and complex operation. As a SaaS platform with more than 30 million global users, Cornerstone OnDemand’s challenge was to create a scalable solution that would improve the time it took customers to access their user data. Our Real-Time Data Warehouse (RTDW) process vastly reduced data time-to-availability from 24 hours to just 10 minutes. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Mark Goldin, Chief Technolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, will go over 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, applicatio...
Microsoft Azure Container Services can be used for container deployment in a variety of ways including support for Orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos. However, the abstraction for app development that support application self-healing, scaling and so on may not be at the right level. Helm and Draft makes this a lot easier. In this primarily demo-driven session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, a Cloud Solutions Architect/Evangelist at Microsoft, wi...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
Though cloud is the future of enterprise computing, a smooth transition of legacy applications and systems is critical for seamless business operations. IT professionals are eager to start leveraging the cost, scale and other benefits of cloud, but with massive investments already in place in existing infrastructure and a number of compliance and resource hurdles, it can be challenging to move to a cloud-based infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...