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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.

Government Tech Leaders Carefully Embracing the Cloud

Posted December 9, 2011    Peter McCalister

What organizations have the biggest data security needs of all? Financial institutions? Technology companies with highly-sensitive proprietary code? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety of answers. One type of insititution, however, seems to trump them all: Government.

A recent blog post titled Cloud Security: Better Than We Think? on Information Week takes a look at the opinions of a few of the top government technology leaders in the United States:

“The list of execs touting the security advantages of the cloud has grown to include federal CIO Steven VanRoekel; Gen. Keith Alexander, head of both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command; CIA CTO Gus Hunt; NIST security researchers Peter Mell and Dr. Ronald Ross; and former NSA director Adm. Mike McConnell.”

According to the blog post, these executives have been embracing the cloud and actually recommending that folks move to the cloud for enhanced security. But, the move to the cloud comes with a stern warning. Only do it “if you do it right.” As noted by InfoWeek, “cloud security only happens through a combination of vigilance, best practices, and technology, including encryption, patching, and monitoring.”

Government agencies are extremely susceptible to insider threats. The Wikileaks incident was a prime example of how a trusted employee, or “good person” as we like to call them at BeyondTrust, can do very bad things. All the vigilence in the world and the industry’s best firewalls might keep foreign government agents or hackers from getting into highly-sensitive government servers, but what will keep privileged users from accessing newly-created cloud servers without fine-grained control over privileged user access?

At BeyondTrust we have a set of best practices for setting up privileged user access in a cloud environment. So when you hear a government tech exec touting the security benefits of the cloud, but adding the caveat, “if you do it right,” make sure that you’re mitigating insider threats alongside external threats. Insider threats truly are a matter of national cloud security.

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Additional articles

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Failing the Security Basics: Backoff Point-of-Sale Malware

Posted August 22, 2014    Marc Maiffret

At the beginning of this month, US-CERT issued a security alert relating to a string of breaches that had been targeting Point of Sale (POS) systems. The alert details that attackers were leveraging brute forcing tools to target common remote desktop applications such as Microsoft’s Remote Desktop, Apple Remote Desktop, Splashtop and LogMeIn among others….

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Troubleshooting Windows Privilege Management Rules with Policy Monitor

Posted August 21, 2014    Jason Silva

When defining and testing PowerBroker for Windows rules for production or pilots, customers sometimes tell us, “I don’t think this policy / program is working.” This is usually a case of the policy not properly triggering because of the way the rule was created. A unique feature of PowerBroker for Windows compared to other solutions is a client-side…

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BeyondTrust Webcast: Darren Mar-Elia’s 4 Active Directory Change Scenarios to Track

Posted August 20, 2014    Chris Burd

In our latest webcast, we joined Darren Mar-Elia, CTO at SDM Software, to discuss best practices for Active Directory (AD) change management. Here are some key takeaways from the presentation, followed by a link to a full-length video of the presentation. Mar-Elia kicks things off with a critical insight: that the best AD change management…

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