Cloud Security Solutions – Why do you need them?

Migration to the cloud is no longer an emerging trend. It is now a well-established method of running the operations of a business. With the cloud, you can manage data and applications in a secure environment and ensure that your users face virtually no latency while using your applications. But although the cloud comes with a basic framework for security, it still has its inherent security risks which need highly specific cloud security solutions to reliably protect your data.

To understand the need for implementing an effective cloud security solution, a deeper understanding of what causes and constitutes a cloud security threat is important.

Why Do You Need Cloud Security Solutions?

Unsecured Access Points

With several of your applications operating from the cloud, it is crucial to manage their access. Traditional methods of granting access to applications on the cloud require users to remember several sets of credentials. But with such a method, forgotten passwords would be common, draining the productivity of both your IT team and your users. To overcome this, users tend to set weak passwords which are easy to remember. But weak passwords are also easy to hack! The solution to this problem is to use an Identity and Access Management solution like CloudNow Technologies’ Akku.

Unprotected APIs

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are software interfaces which allow two different components of software to talk to each other. APIs are responsible for getting the requests from client systems and passing it onto the server and then retrieving the response and sending it back to the client. Considering that such an integral component is a part of your network architecture, a web application security solution is kept in place to eliminate the threat of unchecked network access from unauthorized users.

Types of Cloud Security Issues

DoS attack

DoS or Denial of Service is a distributed and malicious attack, designed to corrupt your servers and deny access to legitimate users. Such attacks require a complete hack of your network and injections of the attack code. A DoS attack is another common threat faced by organizations operating on the cloud. To eliminate this type of attack, it is important to maintain an intelligent firewall which can effectively stop the attack.

Data Breach

Cyber wars now directly translate to breaches and corruption of data. Since most organizations have to rely on third-party cloud vendors for storage, they increasingly feel like they are not in control of what happens to their data and applications. Data breach is one of the most common types of security threats, whether it happens on the cloud or any other type of storage. For this reason, companies have to go a step further and deploy high-end security solutions to prevent data breaches. While the move to the cloud can improve the efficiency of your operations to a great extent, it also requires you to choose a vendor you can trust to protect your network against the threats mentioned above. CloudNow’s cloud security solutions provide you with the security edge you require to peacefully conduct operations on the cloud without worrying about the threats trying to breach your network.

Akku – Secure your Enterprise Communication

Akku is a great way to control and authenticate communication channels for any enterprise.

One of the biggest threats to any organization is the possibility of a data breach, which can result in loss of data, loss of trust, and ultimately, loss of growth of the business. This makes data security a critical aspect to consider in any enterprise.

An important consideration, especially for SME businesses, is to secure their data – most companies still look for a way to do it in the traditional approach to data security – with an on-premise local environment.

Running the organization with an on-premise environment requires a dedicated workforce, this can be replaced with a secure cloud-based environment. But how does this fit in with Akku? Akku is a pure cloud Identity and Access Management solution that can be integrated with cloud, hybrid or on-prem applications.

So how can Akku help your organization?

Akku’s first great feature would be its Single Sign-on (SSO), where any enterprise’s user accounts and applications can be integrated into a single platform – making access easy for users and control easy for admins.

Unauthorized access is restricted by Akku, which is built on a certificate-based authentication architecture.

It is also possible to filter the content accessed by an organization’s users – DNS filtering to control websites that can be accessed, YouTube filtering to ensure only relevant video content is viewed, and even personal email blocking to improve productivity and security.

Akku also maintains highly granular logs, allowing for detailed reporting on user behavior – time, location, OS and so on for users logging in.

These are just a few of the functionalities that Akku brings to the table to add value to your organization’s data security.

So fight back against data breaches, and tell the world “My Data and Communication are secure!”

Is Your Data Secure? No…

As per a survey by Forrester Research (Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper, February 2017), in the last 4 years, out of every three organizations, two have had an average of at least 5 breaches. There are nearly 6 billion data records that were stolen and lost in the past 10 years. According to www.breachlevelindex.com, an average of 165,000 records are compromised every hour. According to this article published on www.csoonline.com, global cybercrime related damage is expected to exceed US$ 6 trillion annually by the year 2021.

How can IAM help protect data?

  • Identification: Users make their claim on their identity by entering a username and verify through an authentication process
  • Authentication: Authentication may be a password or may rely on advanced technologies, such as biometric and token-based authentication
  • Authorization: The IAM system must then verify the user’s authorization to perform the requested activity and also ensure that users perform actions only within their scope of authority

Together, these three processes combine to ensure that specified users have the access they need to do their jobs, while unauthorized users are kept away from sensitive resources and information. Effective IAM solutions help enterprises facilitate secure, efficient access to technology resources across these diverse systems.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) is the information security discipline that allows users access to appropriate technology resources, at the right time. It incorporates three major concepts:

According to this article on BizTech magazine, improved data security is one of the three main reasons to deploy an IAM solution.

The article highlights the fact that consolidating authentication and authorization functionality on a single platform provides IT professionals with a consistent method for managing user access. And when a user leaves an organization, IT administrators may revoke their access in the centralized IAM solution with the confidence that this revocation will immediately take effect across all of the technology platforms integrated with that IAM platform.

So implement an identity and access management solution at your organization to take a major step towards improved data security.

Protecting Your Vault: Safeguard your Data Center with an IAM Solution

At most enterprises, data centers are a repository of information contained within a network of servers from where data is transmitted to other touch points for processing. While these data centers could be cloud-based or on-premise, the security of such business-critical data is of paramount importance.

There could be several vulnerabilities in your network in the form of entry points that seem like they can be ignored. While there are several measures you can implement to physically secure your data center, it takes a lot more to secure remote or even on-premise servers from virtual attacks. An effective data center security solution will allow you to intuitively monitor all the entry points for possible attacks and ensure that you are protected against any breach.

One major part of the solution is the implementation of an Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution as part of your security system.

Staying Protected Online using an Identity and Access Management Solution

The two biggest focus areas for any security solution are authentication and authorization. Although there are overlaps in the usage of the two terms, there are distinct in the way they allow access of data.

Authentication determines if the user trying to enter a system is in fact who he/she is claiming to be, while authorization determines whether the user has the permission to access the data or application that he/she is attempting to access.

A comprehensive IAM solution should be able to intelligently allow you to do both by acting as the Identity Provider (IdP) for your cloud, on-premise or hybrid network and interact with the servers in the data centers to check for authentication and authorization using advanced, yet easy to implement, system architectures.

The Akku Solution

CloudNow’s Akku is an enterprise-grade IAM solution that plays this role perfectly using its custom SAML to provide a robust Single Sign-on (SSO) solution, or to integrate with an SSO solution already in place for your other applications. As an IdP, Akku communicates with the server at the time of login to carry out authentication and validate authorization.

By using a high-end security solution, you can effectively control access to your network and data center and reduce the number of resources dedicated to data center security.

Akku also removes any need for any middleware which could otherwise complicate or even corrupt the security system.

The implementation of an efficient and cost-effective security solution like Akku can go a long way in allowing you to focus on improving the operational efficiency of your organization instead of being caught up with the security threats to your data.

Addressing the Data Security and Audit Worries of a Leading Manufacturer

Company X is a leading automotive hardware manufacturer. In the competitive manufacturing environment, documentation of activity are standardization of processes are critical requirements.

In the case of Company X, this was already in place, and in fact they had achieved ISO certifications for their process-based approach and class-leading quality.

However, certification brought with it a constant stream of audits to ensure that processes were in fact being followed, and standards maintained. This posed a recurring problem, since a single failed audit could result in the loss of certification and loss of business.

The employees of Company X were well equipped – every employee was given an email address, and employees above a certain grade were provided with a laptop and a smartphone as well. But being an ISO-certified enterprise, the security of devices and data were vital.

Diagnosis and Prognosis

Given the background and the critical business impact of a failed audit, potential problem areas were quickly identified, along with solutions.

One of the first problem areas that needed to be addressed was that many employees tended to set weak, easy-to-crack passwords that exposed the company to data security threats, while also failing to comply with ISO standards.

A strong, universal, standards-compliant password policy was necessary to ensure uniformly high security across user accounts.

A mandatory ISO-compliant password policy for all users could easily be set up with Akku.

The next point of concern was the possibility that sensitive business data could be compromised by employees.

The solution to this was to enable employees to access their company email accounts only from the devices provided by the company.

Akku enabled restricting access to company mail only from devices with its SSL Key installed.

Another issue identified was that website browsing restrictions were implemented only on the company’s firewall. Therefore, exposure of company devices to malware and external threats while outside the firewall was a looming worry.

A DNS filter to restrict browsing access even outside the firewall became essential.

Akku’s website filter provided this functionality with powerful control and ease of use. This helped to keep the company’s devices secure, whether they were located within the company firewall or not.

This type of device-based access control offered by Akku seemed to tick all the boxes, but it would fail to serve its purpose if it could be tampered with by a user.

Many legacy solutions built using plugins were found to be vulnerable to misuse – with these solutions, it was possible for users to find a way to circumvent the access control by simply removing the plugin to enable unrestricted access. The device could then be made to appear uncompromised by reinstalling the plugin later. Such a solution was far from water-tight.

With Akku on the other hand, the implementation of a certificate-based architecture overcame this potential challenge. This was because any attempt to tamper with Akku’s certificate would completely restrict access to their authorized services like official email and other SaaS-based applications. Reactivation would require a certificate password, available only with the systems admin.

By enabling easy identification of any attempts to evade the implemented access restrictions, potential leaks were plugged and accountability enforced.

Trial by Fire

The road to full implementation of Akku was a challenging one.

After the problem areas at Company X were identified and Akku was presented as the solution, a PoC was run successfully with 30 users to confirm that all requirements were in fact addressed completely.

With this first hurdle crossed, the client next proposed implementation and testing at their Japanese parent company. Stringent testing on every parameter of Akku’s performance was carried out over a period of several weeks in Japan.

At the end of this process, Akku was approved for the final roll-out across 300 users.