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Cloud Security is branch of cyber security that focuses on securing applications, and solutions running in a cloud computing environment. Cloud Security Solutions will secure data across held with cloud-based applications, allowing users to operate with privacy.
Cloud security solutions ensure privacy and compliance for individuals, small to medium business, and enterprise users.
Cloud solution providers who host applications that are always available must ensure that they provide an environment that their users can trust and that ensures privacy of data and rest and in transit.
Cloud security involves the procedures and technology that secure cloud computing environments against both external and insider cybersecurity threats. Cloud computing, which is the delivery of information technology services over the internet, has become a must for businesses and governments seeking to accelerate innovation and collaboration. Cloud security and security management best practices designed to prevent unauthorized access are required to keep data and applications in the cloud secure from current and emerging cybersecurity threats.
Cloud security differs based on the category of cloud computing being used. There are four main categories of cloud computing:
Public cloud services, operated by a public cloud provider — These include software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Private cloud services, operated by a public cloud provider — These services provide a computing environment dedicated to one customer, operated by a third party.
Private cloud services, operated by internal staff — These services are an evolution of the traditional data center, where internal staff operates a virtual environment, they control.
Hybrid cloud services — Private and public cloud computing configurations can be combined, hosting workloads and data based on optimizing factors such as cost, security, operations and access. Operation will involve internal staff, and optionally the public cloud provider.
When using a cloud computing service provided by a public cloud provider, data and applications are hosted with a third party, which marks a fundamental difference between cloud computing and traditional IT, where most data was held within a self-controlled network. Understanding your security responsibility is the first step to building a cloud security strategy.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data and user access.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, and applications.
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) — Customers are responsible for securing their data, user access, applications, operating systems, and virtual network traffic.
Network Security is a broad term that describes hardware and software solutions as well as processes or rules and configurations relating to network use, accessibility, and overall threat protection.
Network security describes the use of policy, processes and practices used to protect computer networks and resources (software and hardware) that are accessed via the network.
prevention, detection, monitoring unauthorized access, misuse, modification of, or denial of use and access are all aspects essential in a network security solution.
Users of a network are typically given a Login and password or alternative authentication method to allow access to data and solution that they are authenticated to access.
Network security covers both public and private networks, which are used for communications and transactions between individuals, businesses and public entities.
Network Security solutions include access control, virus and antivirus software, application security, network analytics, types of network-related security (endpoint, web, wireless), firewalls, VPN encryption and more.
Network Security is vital in protecting client data and information, keeping shared data secure and ensuring reliable access and network performance as well as protection from cyber threats.
A well-designed network security solution reduces overhead expenses and safeguards organizations from costly losses that occur from a data breach or other security incident. Ensuring legitimate access to systems, applications and data enables business operations and delivery of services and products to customers.
Application security relates to security measures taken at the application level with the aim to prevent data or code within the application from being misused, stolen or hijacked. It covers the security issues that happen during application development and design, and also considers systems and methodologies to protect applications after they are rolled out.
Application security can include hardware, software, and processes that highlight and minimize security vulnerabilities. For example, a switch or router that prevents someone from viewing an IP address from the web is a form of hardware application security. Security features at the application level are also built into software, for example, an application firewall that defines and mandates what activities are allowed and prohibited. Processes can entail items like a specific application security routine which stipulates regular testing.
Application security features include authentication, authorization, encryption, logging, and application security testing. It is possible for developers to code applications and reduce security vulnerabilities.
Authentication: When software developers build procedures into an application to ensure that only authorized users gain access to it. Authentication procedures ensure that a user is who they say they are. This can be accomplished by requiring the user to provide a user name and password when logging in to an application. Multi-factor authentication requires more than one form of authentication—the factors might include something you know (a password), something you have (a mobile device), and something you are (a thumb print or facial recognition).
Authorization: After a user has been authenticated, the user may be authorized to access and use the application. The system can validate that a user has permission to access the application by comparing the user’s identity with a list of authorized users. Authentication must happen before authorization so that the application matches only validated user credentials to the authorized user list.
Encryption: After a user has been authenticated and is using the application, other security measures can protect sensitive data from being seen or even used by a cybercriminal. In cloud-based applications, where traffic containing sensitive data travels between the end user and the cloud, that traffic can be encrypted to keep the data safe.
Logging: If there is a security breach in an application, logging can help identify who got access to the data and how. Application log files provide a time-stamped record of which aspects of the application were accessed and by whom.
Application security testing: A necessary process to ensure that all of these security controls work properly.
Data security protects digital information, or data, from unauthorized access, corruption, disruption or theft throughout its lifecycle. Data security covers information security from the physical security of hardware and storage devices to administrative and access controls, as well as the logical security of software applications. Data security solutions will also relate to organizational practices and procedures.
A robust data security strategies should protect small, medium and large organizations digital assets against cyber-attacks, and will also protect against internal threats and human error. Human error continues to be the most common cause of data breach.
Cyber security teams should deploy tools and technologies that enhance an organization’s awareness of where its essential data resides, how is accessed and how it is used inside and outside. Data security solutions should implement protection such as encryption, data masking, and redaction of critical files, and should automate analysis and reporting to provide ongoing audits as well as adhering to regulatory requirements.
All data or information that relates to an identifiable individual that an organization stores or handles needs to be fully protected. Whether it is financial information and payment details to contact information for staff, personal data usage is protected by law in almost every country in the world.
Email security relates to the procedures and solutions used to secure email accounts and email communications. Email tends to be an organization’s largest attack surface and is the primary target of phishing attacks and a prominent tool used to spread malware.
Email is a critical element of an organization’s communication, enabling users to communicate quickly, easily, and by using a number of different devices. Additionally, email is used to send multiple forms of media, and communications can be tracked, stored, and organized according to attributes such as time and date stamps and size.
Email security is important because email very often contains critical and sensitive information, is used by everyone in an organization, and tends to be one of the largest targets for attacks. The increased adoption of cloud-based email comes with several benefits, but cloud-based email has also become a tempting attack surface for cyber criminals (see cloud security and data security).
Cyber-attacks for email come in a number of disguises to hack email, and some methods can cause considerable damage to an organization’s data and/or reputation. Malware, which is malicious software used to harm or manipulate a device or its data, can be placed on a computer using each of the following attacks.
A phishing attack targets users by sending them a text, direct message, or email. The attacker pretends to be a trusted individual or institution and then uses their relationship with the target to steal sensitive data like account numbers, credit card details, or login information.
Phishing comes in several forms, such as spear phishing, regular phishing, and whaling. Spear phishing targets a particular person, while a whaler targets someone high up in the organization by pretending to be someone they trust.
Spam is any kind of unwanted, unsolicited digital communication that gets sent out in bulk. Often spam is sent via email, but it can also be distributed via text messages, phone calls, or social media.
Spoofing is a dangerous threat for all organizations because it involves fooling(spoofing) the recipient into thinking the email is coming from someone they know rather than actual sender, who is malicious. Therefore, spoofing is an effective business email compromise (BEC) tool. A corporate email platform cannot tell a faked email from a real one because as only metadata is read—which is precisely what the cyber-criminal has changed!
Endpoint security relates to the securing of endpoints or entry points of a users device or devices, for example desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, from being exploited by cyber criminals and campaigns. Endpoint security solutions are designed to protect these endpoints on a network or in the cloud. Endpoint security was once a traditional antivirus solution and has now morphed into sophisticated protection incorporating the latest malware and evolving zero-day threats.
Organizations of all sizes are at risk from nation-states, organized crime, and malicious and accidental insider threats. Endpoint security is considered to be cybersecurity's frontline against attacks, and represents one of the initial areas organizations look to secure their enterprise wide networks.
As the number of cybersecurity threats have steadily grown, along with the sophistication of those attacks, so has the requirement for more advanced endpoint security solutions. Today’s endpoint protection systems are designed to quickly detect, analyze, block, and contain attacks in progress. To do this, they need to collaborate with each other and with other security technologies to give administrators visibility into advanced threats to speed detection and remediation response times.
Governance risk management and compliance software (GRC Software) is a means for publicly held enterprises to manage IT-related operations that require regulation and ensure they are meeting compliance and risk standards. Risk navigation software tends to center around four components: strategy, processes, technology, and people. With this type of software solution, it’s easier and more efficient to:
Governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) exists to eliminate organizational "silos" and to integrate organizational management, protection against fraud and theft, and regulatory adherence.
Fraud and risk management is the process of assessing fraud risks within your organization and then developing an anti-fraud program that stops any malicious activity before it happens. It involves identifying potential and inherent risks and developing a program that works to detect and prevent suspected fraud, both internal and external to the business.
On average, it’s estimated that companies worldwide lose 5% of their gross revenue to fraudulent activity.
A sophisticated and successful GRC solutions should automate existing manual risk and compliance processes, in order to eliminate human error, speed up identification of risk and compliance issues and ensure good corporate governance practices are adhered to. A successful solution will cut across organizational siloes, integrate all IT risk data in a common framework, provide complete transparency and ensure all risks are adequately identified, assessed, and monitored.
Identity and access management (IAM) is a collective term that covers products, processes, and policies used to manage user identities and regulate user access within an organization.
“Access” and “user” are two vital IAM concepts. “Access” refers to actions permitted to be done by a user (like view, create, or change a file). “Users” could be employees, partners, suppliers, contractors, or customers. Furthermore, employees can be further segmented based on their roles.
IAM systems are designed to perform three key tasks: identify, authenticate, and authorize. Meaning, only the right persons should have access to computers, hardware, software apps, any IT resources, or perform specific tasks.
With the entry of new users or the changing of roles of existing users, the list of access privileges must be up-to-date all the time. IAM functions usually fall under IT departments or sections that handle cybersecurity and data management.
In many cases IAM solutions use role-based access control. This means, predefined roles with a specific set of access privileges are used. For example, employees in Human Resources could use this form of IAM. It makes little sense to give the individual that is head of the training department access to the payroll and files and only to the training and development applications.
Many companies implement a single sign-on solution Some. In this case, users authenticate themselves once and are then given access to those solutions they are authorised to use or have access to, meaning they don’t have to log on separately to each application.
When additional steps are needed for authentication then either two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication are implemented. This form of authentication usually combines something a password with an alternative authentication method that the user has access to, for example, a security token or Biometrics.
Identity and Access Management enhances security. By controlling access, companies can eliminate cases of data breaches, identity theft, and illegal access to confidential information. Identity and Access Management also prevents the use of compromised login credentials, avoids unauthorized entry to the organization’s network, and provides protection against ransomware, hacking, phishing, and other kinds of cyber attacks.
IoT (Internet of Things) security relates to the methods of protection used to secure internet-connected or network-based devices. The term IoT is covers a plethora of things, and as technology evolves, the playing field has become bigger. Devices such as watches to light fittings to TV’s, almost every device has the ability to interact with the internet, or communicate with other devices, in one way or another.
IoT security refers to the host of techniques, strategies and tools that protect these devices from becoming attacked and compromised. The reason the devices are vulnerable is the fact that they are connected, which is the reason they fall into the IoT category.
AS technology advances more and more devices will need to be protected and the attack likelihood increases.
Because IoT is so broad, then the security solutions(s) need to be sophisticated and varied. Therefore, a variety of methodologies falling under the umbrella of IoT security have come to life. Application program interface (API) security, public key infrastructure (PKI) authentication and network security are just a few examples of how Cyber Security leaders can combat the growing threat of cyber attacks and cyber terrorism inherent in vulnerable IoT devices.
PKI is an excellent way to secure connections between multiple networked devices. Using a two-key asymmetric cryptosystem, PKI can facilitate the encryption and decryption of private messages and interactions using digital certificates. For example, E-commerce wouldn't be able to operate without the security of PKI.
Networks are an obvious opportunity for cyber criminals to remotely control IoT devices. Because networks involve both digital and physical components, on-premises IoT security should address both types of access points. Protecting an IoT network includes ensuring port security, disabling port forwarding and never opening ports when not needed; using antimalware, firewalls and intrusion detection systems/intrusion prevention systems; blocking unauthorized IP (Internet Protocol) addresses; and ensuring systems are patched and up to date.
APIs are the backbone of any sophisticated website. They allow organizations to aggregate information from multiple sources into a single location. Cyber attackers are able to compromise these channels of communication, making API security necessary for protecting the integrity of data being sent from IoT devices to back-end systems and ensuring only authorized devices, developers and apps communicate with APIs.
Managed security service providers (MSSP) deliver outsourced monitoring and management of security devices and systems internally and externally to an organization’s work environment. Typical examples of the services and solutions an MSSP would provide include managed firewall, intrusion detection, virtual private networks (VPN), Threat Detection, vulnerability scanning and anti-virus services.
MSSPs will use high-availability security operation centers (SOC), either hosted by themselves or within a secure data center environment and provide 365/24/7 services designed to eliminate or reduce the number of qualified security professionals needed by an organization. This, in turn, reduces or eliminates the need to hire, train and retain people to maintain a secure working environment.
As opposed to a typical value-added reseller (VAR), which traditionally operates on a transactional and short-term basis (such as around a hardware purchase and deployment), MSSPs typically partner with their customers over annual, or multi-year periods, receive recurring income for continuous services, specific to security solutions.
For example, MSSP technology offerings may include deploying, configuring, and/or managing the following technologies:
Furthermore, MSSP services may include:
The purpose of a security operations center (SOC) is to monitor, prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats and attacks around the clock. Security Operations teams are charged with monitoring and protecting an organization’s assets including intellectual property, personnel data, customer data, business systems, and brand integrity. The Security Operations team implements an organization’s overall cybersecurity strategy and acts as the central point of communication and collaboration in coordinated efforts to monitor, assess, and defend against cyberattacks.
The size of a Security Operations team will vary, relevant to the organization size and complexity of the organization. The Security Operations team are a centralized function that employs people, processes, and technology to continuously monitor and improve an organization’s security posture while preventing, detecting, analyzing, and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
Prevention and detection: Prevention is always going to be more effective than cure. Rather than responding to threats as they happen, a Security Operations team works to monitor the network around-the-clock. By doing so, the SOC team can detect malicious threats and prevent them before they can cause any damage.
Investigation: During the investigation stage, an Security Operations analyst analyzes suspicious activity to determine the nature of a threat and the extent to which it has penetrated the infrastructure. The security analyst views the organization’s network and operations from the perspective of an attacker, looking for key indicators and areas of exposure before they are exploited.
The analyst identifies and performs a triage on the various types of security incidents by understanding how attacks unfold, and how to effectively respond before they get out of hand. The Security Operations analyst combines information about the organization’s network with the latest global threat intelligence that include specifics on attacker tools, techniques, and trends to perform an effective triage.
Response: After investigation, the Security Operations team coordinates a response to remediate the problem. As soon as an incident is confirmed, the SOC acts as first responder, performing actions such as isolating endpoints, terminating harmful processes, preventing them from executing, deleting files, and more.
In the aftermath of an incident, the Security Operations Team works to restore systems and recover any lost or compromised data. This may include wiping and restarting endpoints, reconfiguring systems or, in the case of ransomware attacks, deploying viable backups in order to circumvent the ransomware. When successful, this step will return the network to the state it was in prior to the incident.
Security Operations teams must always stay one-step ahead of attackers. In recent years, this has become more and more difficult. The three primary reasons that Security Operations has become more challenging are:
Cyber Security, as well as being a technical issue is also a people issue and in many cases cyber attacks and threats arise as result of human error, which is often due to a lack of cyber security training and people not being “cyber aware”.
All employees should have a basic understanding of cyber security issues, but also understand how to use critical thinking and apply their knowledge within the organization to prevent exposing themselves and the organization to cyber threats. Delivering these cyber security awareness topics should be prioritized to identify the biggest risks.
The following security awareness training topics should be covered in any organizations cyber security awareness training program. Each security awareness topic should discuss an overview of the concept, why it is important, and the risk to a specific organization.
Phishing is when an email is sent to an employee requesting them to click a link to update or enter their password.
The employee’s password is then sent to the hacker and used to compromise their online accounts. Employees need to understand how to identify a phishing attack and defend against not clicking suspicious links.
Passwords are an integral part of our online accounts and aren’t going away anytime soon.
Employees should understand how to create strong passwords and learn why passwords are so important in protecting their online accounts. They should also understand the risk of password reuse between personal and corporate accounts.
Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts data on a computer until a sum of money is paid to the hacker.
Employees should be aware that ransomware is one of the most popular threats targeting businesses across the world. If the ransom is not paid, your computer and all of its data is unrecoverable. The best way to defend against ransomware is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Information security is the act of protecting digital information assets.
Employees should understand that accessing information is a privilege and “need to know access” should be practiced at all times. Sharing sensitive data should be taken very seriously and employees should know your organization’s policy for protecting information.
Removable media such as USB drives, external hard drives, and other portable storage devices can be a major risk for your organization.
Employees should be aware of how quickly plugging one of these devices into a computer system can impact security, and how to protect sensitive information when using removable media.
Social engineering uses social interactions to manipulate someone into undesired actions.
Employees need to understand when and how to identify a social engineering attack. They need to be aware to slow down when being requested sensitive information and trained to not disclose, fall out of line or be manipulated to break company procedures.
Physical security is protecting secure areas that require privileged access.
Employees should understand the risks of propping doors and protecting secure areas. Terms such as piggybacking and tailgating should be easily identifiable for employees as well as knowing where to report such activities.
Browsing websites on the Internet is a privilege and secure browsing techniques should be practiced.
Employees should be aware of how to identify a suspicious website and how they can be a major risk for your organization. They should also understand the importance of keeping browsers up to date and secured.
If your organization experiences a cyber security incident, a plan should be ready on how to respond.
Employees must be aware of their role in the response effort. Your organization should practice responding to mock incidents at least annually and discuss steps on which plans, and procedures are needed to respond to cyber incidents.
We are all connected to our mobile devices and that makes mobile devices a huge vulnerability in our organizations.
Employees should be aware of what risks mobile devices introduce and how physically securing mobile devices is important to protect against unauthorized use if a device is stolen. These devices can unlock sensitive information and must be protected by your employees with strong passcodes.
Business Email Compromise
BEC attacks are when an email is hacked, then used to transfer money outside of an organization.
Employees should be aware of how to identify an email attack and what characteristics make a request suspicious. They should be trained to follow processes and procedures for authorizing transactions.
Wi-Fi is everywhere we go, but employees should realize that not all networks are safe.
Employees should be aware of safe Wi-Fi practices and understand the concept of using a VPN. Wi-Fi will continue to be a major threat towards mobile employees and they should be trained on how to defend against threats when working remote.
Multi-factor secures online accounts by verifying two (2) different forms of identification for a user to access a service or application.
Employees should be aware of the concept of multi-factor authentication and why it is useful for them at work and in their personal lives. They should be trained to use multi-factor authentication when available and understand how it protects their online accounts.
It’s crucial to make sure that you have locked or logged out of your devices when leaving them unattended.
Employees need to know how to utilize physical protections for locking devices, why having a strong password is important, and the unintentional consequences of leaving devices unattended. Unlocked devices are a playground for anyone looking to steal data, install malware, or cause any number of other serious problems.
There is a huge security risk if you reuse passwords across multiple accounts.
It’s important for employees to recognize how a password can be exposed through a data breach, and how to level up password protection by turning on two-factor or multi-factor authentication (2FA / MFA).
It just takes a single person for malware to find its way into all of your organization’s systems.
Employees need to know how to spot and stop various types of malware, such as ransomware and spyware, plus the best defenses to protect against a potential malware attack.
Threat intelligence can be explained as data that is collected, processed, and analyzed to understand a cyber attackers’ motives, targets, and attack behaviours. Threat intelligence enables us to make faster, more informed and data-backed security decisions and change their behavior from reactive to proactive in the fight against threat actors.
In the world of cybersecurity, advanced persistent threats (APTs) and defenders are constantly trying to outmanoeuvre each other. Intelligence on a threat actor’s next move is crucial to proactively tailoring defenses and pre-empting future attacks.
Threat intelligence is important for the following reasons:
Threat intelligence benefits organizations of all shapes and sizes by helping process threat data to better understand their attackers, respond faster to incidents, and proactively get ahead of a cyber attackers next move. For smaller companies, this data helps them achieve a level of protection that would otherwise be out of reach. However, enterprises with large security teams can reduce the cost and required skills by leveraging external threat intel and make their analysts more effective.
At every level, threat intelligence offers unique advantages to every member of a security team, including:
The intelligence lifecycle is a process to transform raw data into intelligence for decision making and action.
Threat intelligence is challenging because threats are constantly evolving – requiring businesses to quickly adapt and take decisive action. The cycle typically consists of six steps resulting in a feedback loop to encourage continuous improvement:
Security Testing is a type of Software Testing that uncovers vulnerabilities of a system and determines whether the data and resources of the system are protected from possible threats and cyber attacks. It ensures that a software solution and application are free from any threats or risks that may cause a security breach or data loss. Security testing of any system is focuses on finding all possible loopholes and weaknesses of the system which might result into the loss of information or repute of the organization.
The purpose of security testing is to:
Principle of Security Testing:
Below are the six basic principles of security testing:
Major Focus Areas in Security Testing:
Types of Security Testing:
Vulnerability scanning is performed with the help of automated software to scan a system to detect the known vulnerability patterns.
Security scanning is the identification of network and system weaknesses. Later on it provides solutions for reducing these defects or risks. Security scanning can be carried out in both manual and automated way.
Penetration testing is the simulation of the attack from a malicious hacker. It includes analysis of a particular system to examine for potential vulnerabilities from a malicious hacker that attempts to hack the system.
In risk assessment testing security risks observed in the organization are analysed. Risks are classified into three categories i.e. low, medium and high. This testing endorses controls and measures to minimize the risk.
Security auditing is an internal inspection of applications and operating systems for security defects. An audit can also be carried out via line by line checking of code.
Ethical hacking is different from malicious hacking. The purpose of ethical hacking is to expose security flaws in the organization system.
It combines security scanning, ethical hacking and risk assessments to provide an overall security posture of an organization.