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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

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How to Audit VMware ESX and ESXi Servers Against the VMware Hardening Guidelines with Retina CS

Posted February 27, 2015    BeyondTrust Research Team

Retina CS Enterprise Vulnerability Management has included advanced VMware auditing capabilities for some time, including virtual machine discovery and scanning through a cloud connection, plus the ability to scan ESX and ESXi hosts using SSH. However, in response to recent security concerns associated with SSH, VMware has disabled SSH by default in its more recent…

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Privileged Passwords: The Bane of Security Professionals Everywhere

Posted February 19, 2015    Dave Shackleford

Passwords have been with us since ancient times. Known as “watchwords”, ancient Roman military guards would pass a wooden tablet with a daily secret word engraved from one shift to the next, with each guard position marking the tablet to indicate it had been received. The military has been using passwords, counter-passwords, and even sound…

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Privileged Account Management Process

In Vulnerability Management, Process is King

Posted February 18, 2015    Morey Haber

You have a vulnerability scanner, but where’s your process? Most organizations are rightly concerned about possible vulnerabilities in their systems, applications, networked devices, and other digital assets and infrastructure components. Identifying vulnerabilities is indeed important, and most security professionals have some kind of scanning solution in place. But what is most essential to understand is…

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