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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.

Can You Put a Yellow Sticky on Your Cloud?

Posted July 21, 2011    Peter McCalister

Brian Anderson and I have written several blog posts on user ID’s. Brian concluded that the average user seems to either have a relaxed sense of security, a love for Abbott and Costello-like humor, or are just lazy when it comes to identity-related security. Our new colleague Luke Dieker, who focuses on Identity Services, has blogged about the importance of yellow sticky notes to password management. He observes that it’s a challenge to change the habits of the many users who adorn their screens with Post-it notes listing various passwords, or for the more security conscious among them, sticking passwords under their keyboards.

My focus has been less on the people’s unusual behavior than the new technologies and models coming to help address the problem as we switch from physical to virtual and cloud infrastructure. For example the Burton Group sees a public identity infrastructure as central to a new emerging architecture where vendors compete in market for identities that provides high-quality identities at lower cost.

Now Active Directory has facilitated single sign-on for some time. While Burton doesn’t see these consumer repositories replacing Active Directory anytime soon, and I wouldn’t bet on this or any model until it has market traction, in a more diverse world of SAAS, public, private and hybrid clouds, companies need to anticipate the changes this new model will require in the identity management infrastructure, policies and controls. Managing user identities in the cloud, ensuring that users are given access to only what they should be allowed to and tracking events for security and compliance gets tricky in increasingly dispersed environments often deployed on infrastructure provided by third parties.

The good news is that existing tools can help bridge the gap. Secure authentication in the elastic cloud doesn’t have to be daunting. Another one of our new colleagues in identify services, Jonathan Flack, contributed an excellent writeup for InfoTECH Spotlight titled, “Secure Authentication in the Elastic Cloud.”

In that article he discusses how a number of our customers began extending public-facing server infrastructure to Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) with great success and extended an existing, on-premise Active Directory deployment to an Amazon EC2 deployment — enabling organizations to manage a variety of operating system environments including Linux running on EC2 leveraging existing AD infrastructure. Extending AD to the cloud is not the complete answer but it’s a pragmatic step in the right direction.

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Additional articles

Are Your Data Security Efforts Focused in the Right Area?

Posted January 28, 2015    Scott Lang

Vormetric Data Security recently released an insider threat report, with research conducted by HarrisPoll and analyzed by Ovum. Based on the survey responses, it is apparent that there is still a great deal of insecurity over data. However, the results also show that there may be misplaced investments to address those insecurities. I will explain…

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GHOST Vulnerability…Scary Indeed

Posted January 28, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

A vulnerability discovered by Qualys security researchers has surfaced within the GNU C Library that affects virtually all Linux operating systems. The vulnerability lies within the various gethostbyname*() functions and, as such, has been dubbed “GHOST.” GHOST is particularly nasty considering remote, arbitrary code execution can be achieved. In an effort to avoid taxing DNS lookups, glibc developers introduced…

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Your New Years Resolution: Controlling Privileged Users

Posted January 27, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Is 2015 the year you get a better handle on security? The news last year was grim – so much so, in fact, that many in the information security community despaired a bit. Really, the end-of-the-year infosec cocktail parties were a bit glum. OK, let’s be honest, infosec cocktail parties are usually not that wild…

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