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Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Born To Run…and Can Your Cloud Escape Injury?

Posted November 16, 2011    Peter McCalister

There’s a lot of hype in the running community over the 2009 book by Christopher McDougal, “Born To Run.” It has inspired a host of people–experienced runners and average Joes–to switch to barefoot running, where people where either nothing on their feet at all or some sort of minimalist shoe. The most headturning of these minimalist shoes have to be the Vibram Five Fingers shoes. You’ve seen them–they look like gloves for feet.

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I’m certainly no expert on running or barefoot running, but the jury still seems to be out on whether or not barefoot running is the right way to go. I recently heard from a podiatrist friend that he was seeing a significant increase in patients who had running injuries from the barefoot style. This has also been noted on sites like Competitor. The injuries seem to stem primarily from those runners who make a dramatic switch to barefoot running rather than making a gradual change.

So what does barefoot running have to do with desktop and server security technologies? Let me draw a parallel to cloud computing and new cloud initiatives. Frequently enterprise IT organizations embark on new cloud initiatives and often sink a lot of money into exploring the options available. Sometimes the rollout is underway before the planning phase has even gotten approval from the CIO.

With virtualization and the cloud getting all the hype these days, it’s certainly enticing to want to jump right in and start virtualizing everything. We know the benefits: pay for only what you use, greater reliability, replication of data, disaster recovery, etc. However, in many cases, the new cloud initiatives fail to examine the most important aspect of any virtual deployment–security.

Much like the barefoot runners who go all barefoot without a gradual entry and careful planning of their “migration” to the barefoot style, IT departments can essentially be “injured” by security breaches if they fail to properly secure their cloud environments.

Security in the private cloud starts at the hypervisor level. At BeyondTrust we’re primarily concerned with keeping insider threats–the threats posed by employees and internal trusted users. And, the best way to ensure that data in the private cloud stays secure and insider threats are kept at bay is to make sure that users are logging on to the hypervisors with their directory credentials.

From there, IT administrators can make sure that users are logging on to virtual machines–both desktops and servers–using their directory credentials provisioned in Active Directory. PowerBroker Identity Services features tools for securing desktops and servers–whether physical or virtual–and hypervisors. So don’t get caught up in the hype and end up with a cloud “injury.” Proper planning of your security and identity management is essential.

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Additional articles

PowerBroker for Unix & Linux helps prevent Shellshock

Posted September 25, 2014    Paul Harper

Like many other people who tinker with UNIX and Linux on a regular basis, BASH has always been my shell of choice.  Dating back to the early days moving from Windows to a non-Windows platform, mapping the keys correctly to allow easy navigation and control helped ensure an explosion of use for the shell. Unfortunately,…

Bash “Shellshock” Vulnerability – Retina Updates

Posted September 24, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

A major vulnerability was recently discovered within bash which allows arbitrary command execution via specially crafted environment variables. This is possible due to the fact that bash supports the assignment of shell functions to shell variables. When bash parses environment shell functions, it continues parsing even after the closing brace of the function definition. If…

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7 Reasons Customers Switch to Password Safe for Privileged Password Management

Posted September 24, 2014    Chris Burd

It’s clear that privileged password management tools are essential for keeping mission-critical data, servers and assets safe and secure. However, as I discussed in my previous post, there are several pitfalls to look out for when deploying a privileged password management solution. At this point, you may be wondering how BeyondTrust stacks up. With that,…

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