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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.

Hey You Get Off Of My Cloud

Posted February 8, 2012    Peter McCalister

Any Rolling Stones fans out there? Well I guess if you were singing along to this when it came out, then you didn’t know that you’d be a least privilege geek in 2012 either. Either way, as I was humming along to myself the other day I couldn’t help but think of the metaphor as it relates today to cloud computing’s greatest challenge: secure multi-tenancy.

The ultimate question of security in the cloud revolves around whether or not multiple tenants can coexist without one having any access to the other’s data or applications. Truly guaranteed, secure multi-tenancy has been labeled as both somewhat unattainable and the basis by which every cloud vendor’s security should be measured. What’s interesting about the secure multi-tenancy discussion is that it isn’t exclusive to separate companies sharing the same public cloud infrastructure. It turns out that this is as big an issue for private cloud implementations where cross division or department privacy is required either for governance or compliance reason.

Why is secure multi-tenancy in the cloud the elusive unicorn? The short answer centers on the observation that the cloud’s greatest strength is also potentially its greatest weakness. Sharing under-utilized resources and paying on a metered or “as-used” basis is a fantastic way to leverage existing investments, control costs, and handle the natural ebbs and flows in capacity planning that usually plagues IT. The challenge comes in when two different organizations with different compliance and security policies are sharing the same resource. How does the cloud provider, even internally for private clouds, ensure that nothing spills from one virtual environment into the other on the physical intersection point, the server?

The sheen of sophistication, the wow factor of something new, dazzles our senses somewhat, and subsequently we invest way too much faith in something—we not only put the cart before the horse, we turn it into a hand cart that we think we can push ourselves. Again we see how human nature is the weak link.

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Additional articles

How To Implement The Australian Signals Directorate’s Top 4 Strategies

Posted October 20, 2014    Morey Haber

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), also known as the Defence Signals Directorate, has developed a list of strategies to mitigate targeted cyber intrusions. The recommended strategies were developed through ASD’s extensive experience in operational cyber security, including responding to serious security intrusions and performing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing for Australian government agencies. These recommendations…

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Exploiting MS14-059 because sometimes XSS is fun, sometimes…

Posted October 17, 2014    BeyondTrust Research Team

This October, Microsoft has provided a security update for System.Web.Mvc.dll which addresses a ‘Security Feature Bypass’. The vulnerability itself is in ASP.NET MVC technology and given its wide adoption we thought we would take a closer look. Referring to the bulletin we can glean a few useful pieces of information: “A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists…

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Four Best Practices for Passing Privileged Account Audits

Posted October 16, 2014    Chris Burd

Like most IT organizations, your team may periodically face the “dreaded” task of being audited. Your process for delegating privileged access to desktops, servers, and infrastructure devices is a massive target for the auditor’s microscope. An audit’s findings can have significant implications on technology and business strategy, so it’s critical to make sure you’re prepared…

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