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Posts tagged ‘ZTS’

How To Improve Privileged User’s Security Experiences With Machine Learning

Bottom Line: One of the primary factors motivating employees to sacrifice security for speed are the many frustrations they face, attempting to re-authenticate who they are so they can get more work done and achieve greater productivity.

How Bad Security Experiences Lead to a Breach

Every business is facing the paradox of hardening security without sacrificing users’ login and system access experiences. Zero Trust Privilege is emerging as a proven framework for thwarting privileged credential abuse by verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment across every threat surface an organization has.

Centrify’s recent survey Privileged Access Management In The Modern Threatscape found that 74% of data breaches start with privileged credential abuse. Forrester estimates that 80% of data breaches have a connection to compromised privileged credentials, such as passwords, tokens, keys, and certificates. On the Dark Web, privileged access credentials are a best-seller because they provide the intruder with “the keys to the kingdom.” By leveraging a “trusted” identity, a hacker can operate undetected and exfiltrate sensitive data sets without raising any red flags.

Frustrated with wasting time responding to the many account lock-outs, re-authentication procedures, and login errors outmoded Privileged Access Management (PAM) systems require, IT Help Desk teams, IT administrators, and admin users freely share privileged credentials, often resulting in them eventually being offered for sale on the Dark Web.

The Keys to the Kingdom Are In High Demand

18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $500 to $1,000, and 24% of employees know of someone who has sold privileged credentials to outsiders, according to a recent Accenture survey. State-sponsored and organized crime organizations offer to pay bounties in bitcoin for privileged credentials for many of the world’s largest financial institutions on the Dark Web. And with the typical U.S.-based enterprise losing on average $7.91M from a breach, more than double the global average of $3.86M according to IBM’s 2018 Data Breach Study, it’s clear that improving admin user experiences to reduce the incidence of privileged credential sharing needs to happen now.

How Machine Learning Improves Admin User Experiences and Thwarts Breaches

Machine learning is making every aspect of security experiences more adaptive, taking into account the risk context of every privileged access attempt across any threat surface, anytime. Machine learning algorithms can continuously learn and generate contextual intelligence that is used to streamline verified privileged user’s access while thwarting many potential threats ― the most common of which is compromised credentials.

The following are a few of the many ways machine learning is improving privileged users’ experiences when they need to log in to secure critical infrastructure resources:

  • Machine learning is making it possible to provide adaptive, personalized login experiences at scale using risk-scoring of every access attempt in real-time, all contributing to improved user experiences. Machine learning is making it possible to implement security strategies that flex or adapt to risk contexts in real-time, assessing every access attempt across every threat surface, and generating a risk score in milliseconds. Being able to respond in milliseconds, or real-time is essential for delivering excellent admin user experiences. The “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach to security is how many enterprises from a broad base of industries including leading financial services and insurance companies are protecting every threat surface from privileged access abuse. CIOs at these companies say taking a Zero Trust approach with a strong focus on Zero Trust Privilege corporate-wide is redefining the legacy approach to Privileged Access Management by delivering cloud-architected Zero Trust Privilege to secure access to infrastructure, DevOps, cloud, containers, Big Data, and other modern enterprise use cases. Taking a Zero Trust approach to security enables their departments to roll out new services across every threat surface their customers prefer to use without having to customize security strategies for each.
  • Quantify, track and analyze every potential security threat and attempted breach and apply threat analytics to the aggregated data sets in real-time, thwarting data exfiltration attempts before they begin. One of the tenets or cornerstones of Zero Trust Privilege is adaptive control. Machine learning algorithms continually “learn” by continuously analyzing and looking for anomalies in users’ behavior across every threat surface, device, and login attempt. When any users’ behavior appears to be outside the threshold of constraints defined for threat analytics and risk scoring, additional authentication is immediately requested, and access denied to requested resources until an identity can be verified. Machine learning makes adaptive preventative controls possible.
  • When every identity is a new security perimeter, machine learnings’ ability to provide personalization at scale for every access attempt on every threat surface is essential for enabling a company to keep growing. Businesses that are growing the fastest often face the greatest challenges when it comes to improving their privileged users’ experiences. Getting new employees productive quickly needs to be based on four foundational elements. These include verifying the identity of every admin user, knowing the context of their access request, ensuring it’s coming from a clean source, and limiting access as well as privilege. Taken together, these pillars form the foundation of a Zero Trust Privilege.

Conclusion

Organizations don’t have to sacrifice security for speed when they’re relying on machine learning-based approaches for improving the privileged user experience. Today, a majority of IT Help Desk teams, IT administrators, and admin users are freely sharing privileged credentials to be more productive, which often leads to breaches based on privileged access abuse. By taking a machine learning-based approach to validate every access request, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment, roadblocks in the way of greater privileged user productivity disappear. Privileged credential abuse is greatly minimized.

CIO’s Guide To Stopping Privileged Access Abuse – Part 2

Why CIOs Are Prioritizing Privileged Credential Abuse Now

Enterprise security approaches based on Zero Trust continue to gain more mindshare as organizations examine their strategic priorities. CIOs and senior management teams are most focused on securing infrastructure, DevOps, cloud, containers, and Big Data projects to stop the leading cause of breaches, which is privileged access abuse.

Based on insights gained from advisory sessions with CIOs and senior management teams, Forrester estimates that 80% of data breaches have a connection to compromised privileged credentials, such as passwords, tokens, keys, and certificates. In another survey completed by Centrify, 74% of IT decision makers surveyed whose organizations have been breached in the past, say it involved privileged access abuse. Furthermore, 65% of organizations are still sharing root or privileged access to systems and data at least somewhat often. Centrify’s survey, Privileged Access Management in the Modern Threatscape, is downloadable here.

The following are the key reasons why CIOs are prioritizing privileged access management now:

  • Identities are the new security perimeter for any business, making privileged access abuse the greatest challenge CIOs face in keeping their businesses secure and growing. Gartner also sees privileged credential abuse as the greatest threat to organizations today, and has made Privileged Account Management one of the Gartner Top 10 Security Projects for 2018, and again in 2019Forrester and Gartner’s findings and predictions reflect the growing complexity of threatscapes every CIO must protect their business against while still enabling new business growth. Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) CIOs often remark in my conversations with them that the attack surfaces in their organizations are proliferating at a pace that quickly scales beyond any trust but verify legacy approach to managing access. They need to provide applications, IoT-enabled devices, machines, cloud services, and human access to a broader base of business units than ever before.
  • CIOs are grappling with the paradox of protecting the rapidly expanding variety of attack surfaces from breaches while still providing immediate access to applications, systems, and services that support their business’ growth. CIOs I’ve met with also told me access to secured resources needs to happen in milliseconds, especially to support the development of new banking, financial services, and insurance applications in beta testing today, scheduled to be launched this summer. Their organizations’ development teams expect more intuitive, secure, and easily accessible applications than ever before, which is driving CIOs to prioritize privileged access management now
  • Adapting and risk-scoring every access attempt in real-time is key to customer experiences on new services and applications, starting with response times. CIOs need a security strategy that can flex or adapt to risk contexts in real-time, assessing every access attempt across every threat surface and generating a risk score in milliseconds. The CIOs I’ve met with regularly see a “never trust, always verify, enforce least privilege” approach to security as the future of how they’ll protect every threat surface from privileged access abuse. Each of their development teams is on tight deadlines to get new services launch to drive revenue in Q3. Designing in Zero Trust with a strong focus on Zero Trust Privilege is saving valuable development time now and is enabling faster authentication times of the apps and services in testing today.

Strategies For Stopping Privileged Credential Abuse – Part 2  

Recently I wrote a CIO’s Guide To Stopping Privileged Access Abuse – Part 1 detailing five recommended strategies for CIOs on how to stop privileged credential abuse. The first five strategies focus on the following: discovering and inventorying all privileged accounts; vaulting all cloud platforms’ Root Accounts; auditing privileged sessions and analyzing patterns to find privileged credential sharing not found during audits; enforcing least privilege access now within your existing infrastructure as much as possible; and adopting multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all threat surfaces that can adapt and flex to the risk context of every request for resources.

The following are the second set of strategies CIOs need to prioritize to further protect their organizations from privileged access abuse:

  1. After completing an inventory of privileged accounts, create a taxonomy of them by assigning users to each class or category, personalizing privileged credential access to the role and entitlement level for each. CIOs tell me this is a major time saver in scaling their Privileged Access Management (PAM) strategies. Assigning every human, machine and sensor-based identity is the goal with the overarching objective being the creation of a Zero Trust-based enterprise security strategy. Recommended initial classes or categories include IT administrators who are also responsible for endpoint security; developers who require occasional access to production instances; service desk teams and service operations; the Project Management Office (PMO) and project IT; and external contractors and consultants.
  2. By each category in the taxonomy, automate the time, duration, scope, resources, and entitlements of privileged access for each focusing on the estimated time to complete each typical task. Defining a governance structure that provides real-time access to resources based on successful authentication is a must-have for protecting privileged access credentials. By starting with the attributes of time, duration, scope and properties, organizations have a head start on creating a separation of duties (SOD) model. Separation of duties is essential for ensuring that privileged user accounts don’t have the opportunity to carry out and conceal any illegal or unauthorized activities.
  3. Using the taxonomy of user accounts created and hardened using the separation of duties model, automate privileged access and approval workflows for enterprise systems. Instead of having administrators approve or semi-automate the evaluation of every human- and machine-based request for access, consider automating the process with a request and approval workflow. With time, duration, scope, and properties of privileged access already defined human- and machine-based requests for access to IT systems and services are streamlined, saving hundreds of hours a year and providing a real-time log for audit and data analysis later.
  4. Break-glass, emergency or firecall account passwords need to be vaulted, with no exceptions. When there’s a crisis of any kind, the seconds it takes to get a password could mean the difference between cloud instances and entire systems being inaccessible or not. That’s why administrators often only manually secure root passwords to all systems, cloud platforms and containers included. This is the equivalent of leaving the front door open to the data center with all systems unlocked. The recent Centrify survey found that just 48% of organizations interviewed have a password vault. 52% are leaving the keys to the kingdom available for hackers to walk through the front door of data centers and exfiltraticate data whenever they want.
  5. Continuous delivery and deployment platforms including Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and others need to be configured when first installed to eliminate the potential for privileged access abuse. The CIOs whose teams are creating new apps and services are using Chef and Puppet to design and create workloads, with real-time integration needed with customer, pricing, and services databases and the systems they run on. Given how highly regulated insurance is, CIOs are saying they need to have logs that show activity down to the API level in case of an audit. The more regulated and audited a company, the more trusted and untrusted domains are seen as the past, Zero Trust as the future based on CIO’s feedback.

Conclusion

The CIOs I regularly meet with from the banking, financial services, and insurance industries are under pressure to get new applications and services launched while protecting their business’ daily operations. With more application and services development happening in their IT teams, they’re focusing on how they can optimize the balance between security and speed. New apps, services, and the new customers they attract are creating a proliferation of new threat surfaces, making every new identity the new security perimeter.

74% Of Data Breaches Start With Privileged Credential Abuse

Centrify’s survey shows organizations are granting too much trust and privilege, opening themselves up to potential internal and externally-driven breaches initiated with compromised privileged access credentials. Photo credit: iStock

Enterprises who are prioritizing privileged credential security are creating a formidable competitive advantage over their peers, ensuring operations won’t be interrupted by a breach. However, there’s a widening gap between those businesses protected from a breach and the many who aren’t. In quantifying this gap consider the typical U.S.-based enterprise will lose on average $7.91M from a breach, nearly double the global average of $3.68M according to IBM’s 2018 Data Breach Study.

Further insights into how wide this gap is are revealed in Centrify’s Privileged Access Management in the Modern Threatscape survey results published today. The study is noteworthy as it illustrates how wide the gap is between enterprises’ ability to avert and thwart breaches versus their current levels of Privileged Access Management (PAM) and privileged credential security. 74% of IT decision makers surveyed whose organizations have been breached in the past, say it involved privileged access credential abuse, yet just 48% have a password vault, just 21% have multi-factor authentication (MFA) implemented for privileged administrative access, and 65% are sharing root or privileged access to systems and data at least somewhat often.

Addressing these three areas with a Zero Trust approach to PAM would make an immediate difference in security.

“What’s alarming is that the survey reveals many organizations, armed with the knowledge that they have been breached before, are doing too little to secure privileged access. IT teams need to be taking their Privileged Access Management much more seriously, and prioritizing basic PAM strategies like vaults and MFA while reducing shared passwords,” remarked Tim Steinkopf, Centrify CEO. FINN Partners, on behalf of Centrify, surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers (500 in the U.S. and 500 in the U.K.) online in October 2018. Please see the study here for more on the methodology.

How You Choose To Secure Privileged Credentials Determines Your Future 

Identities are the new security perimeter. Threats can emerge within and outside any organization, at any time. Bad actors, or those who want to breach a system for financial gain or to harm a business, aren’t just outside. 18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $500 to $1,000, and 24% of employees know of someone who has sold privileged credentials to outsiders, according to a recent Accenture survey.

Attackers are increasingly logging in using weak, stolen, or otherwise compromised credentials. Centrify’s survey underscores how the majority of organizations’ IT departments have room for improvement when it comes to protecting privileged access credentials, which are the ‘keys to the kingdom.’ Reading the survey makes one realize that forward-thinking enterprises who are prioritizing privileged credential security gain major cost and time advantages over their competitors. They’re able to keep their momentum going across every area of their business by not having to recover from breaches or incur millions of dollars on losses or fines as the result of a breach.

One of the most promising approaches to securing every privileged identity and threat space within and outside an organization is Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP). ZTP enables an organizations’ IT team to grant least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment.

Key Lessons Learned from the Centrify Survey

How wide the gap is between organizations who see identities as the new security perimeter and are adopting a Zero Trust approach to securing them and those that aren’t is reflected in the results of Centrify’s Privileged Access Management in the Modern Threatscape surveyThe following are the key lessons learned of where and how organizations can begin to close the security gaps they have that leave them vulnerable to privileged credential abuse and many other potential threats:

  • Organizations’ most technologically advanced areas that are essential for future growth and attainment of strategic goals are often the most unprotected. Big Data, cloud, containers and network devices are the most important areas of any IT infrastructure. According to Centrify’s survey, they are the most unprotected as well. 72% of organizations aren’t securing containers with privileged access controls. 68% are not securing network devices like hubs, switches, and routers with privileged access controls. 58% are not securing Big Data projects with privileged access controls. 45% are not securing public and private cloud workloads with privileged access controls. The study finds that UK-based businesses lag U.S.-based ones in each of these areas as the graphic below shows:

  • Only 36% of U.K. organizations are very confident in their company’s current IT security software strategies, compared to 65% in the U.S. The gap between organizations with hardened security strategies that have a higher probability of withstanding breach attempts is wide between U.K. and U.S.-based businesses. 44% of U.K. respondents weren’t positive about what Privileged Access Management is, versus 26% of U.S. respondents. 60% of U.K. respondents don’t have a password vault.

  • Just 35% of U.S. organizations and 30% of those in the UK are relying on Privileged Access Management to manage partners’ access to privileged credentials and infrastructure. Partners are indispensable for scaling any new business strategy and expanding an existing one across new markets and countries. Forward-thinking organizations look at every partner associates’ identity as a new security perimeter. The 35% of U.S.-based organizations doing this have an immediate competitive advantage over the 65% who aren’t. By enforcing PAM across their alliances and partnerships, organizations can achieve uninterrupted growth by eliminating expensive and time-consuming breaches that many businesses never fully recover from.
  • Organizations’ top five security projects for 2019 include protecting cloud data, preventing data leakage, analyzing security incidents, improving security education/awareness and encrypting data. These top five security projects could be achieved at scale by having IT teams implement a Zero Trust-based approach to Privileged Access Management (PAM). The time, cost and scale advantages of getting the top five security projects done using Zero Trust would free up IT teams to focus on projects that deliver direct revenue gains for example.

Conclusion

Centrify’s survey shows organizations are granting too much trust and privilege, opening themselves up to potential internal and externally-driven breaches initiated with compromised privileged access credentials. It also reveals that there is a strong desire to adhere to best practices when it comes to PAM (51% of respondents) and that the reason it is not being adequately implemented rarely has to do with prioritization or difficulty but rather budget constraints and executive buy-in.

The survey also shows U.K. – and U.S.-based organizations need to realize identity is the new security perimeter. For example, only 37% of respondents’ organizations are able to turn off privileged access for an employee who leaves the company within one day, leaving a wide-open exposure point that can continue to be exploited.

There are forward-thinking organizations who are relying on Zero Trust Privilege as a core part of their digital transformation efforts as well. The survey found that given a choice, respondents are most likely to say digital transformation (40%) is one of the top 3 projects they’d prefer to work on, followed by Endpoint Security (37%) and Privileged Access Management (28%). Many enterprises see digital transformation’s missing link being Zero Trust and the foundation for redefining their businesses by defining every identity as a new security perimeter, so they can securely scale and grow faster than before.

Predicting The Future Of Next-Gen Access And Zero Trust Security In 2019

Bottom Line:  The most valuable catalyst all digital businesses need to continue growing in 2019 is a Zero Trust Security (ZTS) strategy based on Next-Gen Access (NGA) that scales to protect every access point to corporate data, recognizing that identities are the new security perimeter.

The faster any digital business is growing, the more identities, devices and network endpoints proliferate. The most successful businesses of 2019 and beyond are actively creating entirely new digital business models today. They’re actively recruiting, and onboarding needed experts independent of their geographic locations and exploring new sourcing and patent ideas with R&D partners globally. Businesses are digitally transforming themselves at a faster rate than ever before. Statista projects businesses will spend $190B on digital transformation in 2019, soaring to $490B by 2025, attaining a 14.4% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in six years.

Security Perimeters Make Or Break A Growing Business

80% of IT security breaches involve privileged credential access according to a recent Forrester study. The Verizon Mobile Security Index 2018 Report found that 89% of organizations are relying on just a single security strategy to keep their mobile networks safe. A typical data breach cost the average company $3.86M in 2018, up 6.4% from $3.62M in 2017 according to IBM Security’s latest  2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study.

The hard reality for any digital business is realizing that their greatest growth asset is how well they protect the constantly expanding perimeter of their business. Legacy approaches to securing infrastructure that relies on trusted and untrusted domains can’t scale to protect every identity and device that comprises a company’s rapidly changing new security perimeter. All these factors and more are why Zero Trust Security (ZTS) enabled by Next-Gen Access (NGA) is as essential to digital businesses’ growth as their product roadmaps, pricing strategies, and services with Idaptive being an early leader in the market. To learn more about Identity-as-a-Service please see the Forrester report, The Forrester Wave™: Identity-As-A-Service, Q4 2017 (client access required)

Predicting The Future Of Next-Gen Access And Zero Trust Security

The following are predictions of how Next-Gen Access (NGA) powered by Zero Trust Security (ZTS) will evolve in 2019:

  • Behavior-based scoring algorithms will improve markedly in 2019, improving the user experience by calculating risk scores with greater precision than before. Thwarting attacks start with a series of behavior-based algorithms that calculate a risk score based on a wide variety of variables including past access attempts, device security posture, operating system, location, time of day, and many other measurable factors. Expect to see these algorithms and the risk scores they generate using machine learning techniques improve from accuracy and contextual intelligence standpoint in 2019. Leading companies in the field including Idaptive are actively investing in machine learning technologies to accomplish this today.
  • Multifactor Authentication (MFA) adoption soars as digital businesses seek to protect new R&D projects, patents in progress, roadmaps, and product plans. State-sponsored hacking organizations and organized crime see the intellectual property in fast-growing digital businesses as among the most valuable assets they can exfiltrate and sell on the Dark Web. MFA, one of the most effective single defenses against compromised passwords, will be adopted by the most successful businesses in AI, aerospace & defense, chip design for cellular and IoT devices, e-commerce, enterprise software and more.
  • Smart, connected products without adequate security designed in will proliferate in 2019, further challenging the security perimeters of the digital businesses. The era of smart, connected products is here, with Capgemini estimating the size of the connected products market will be $519B to $685B by 2020. Manufacturers expect close to 50% of their products to be smart, connected products by 2020, according to Capgemini’s Digital Engineering: The new growth engine for discrete manufacturers. The study is downloadable here (PDF, 40 pp., no opt-in). With every smart, connected device creating a new threat surface for a company, expect to see at least one device manufacturer design Zero Trust Security (ZTS) support to the board level to increase their sales into enterprises by reducing the threat of a breach starting from their device.
  • Looking for greater track and traceability, healthcare and medical products supply chains will adopt Zero Trust Security (ZTS). What’s going to make this an urgent issue in healthcare and medical products are the combined effects of greater regulatory reporting and compliance, combined with the pressure to improve time-to-market for new products and delivery accuracy for current customers. The pillars of ZTS are a perfect fit for healthcare and medical supply chains’ need for track and traceability. These pillars are real-time user verification, device validation, and intelligently limiting access, while also learning and adapting to verified user behaviors.
  • Real-time Security Analytics Services is going to thrive in 2019 as digital businesses seek insights into how they can fine-tune their ZTS strategies across every threat surface and machine learning algorithms improve. Many enterprises are in for an epiphany in 2019 when they see just how many potential breaches they’ve stopped using a combination of security strategies including Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). Machine learning algorithms will continue to improve using behavior-based scoring, further improving the user experience. Leaders in the field include Idaptive who is setting a rapid pace of innovation in Real-Time Security Analytics Services.   

Conclusion

Security is at an inflection point today. Long-standing methods of protecting IT systems and a businesses’ assets can’t scale to protect every new identity, device or threat surface. When every identity is a new security perimeter, a new approach is needed to securing any digital business. The pillars of ZTS including real-time user verification, device validation, and intelligently limiting access, while also learning and adapting to verified user behaviors are proving to be effective at thwarting breaches and securing company’ digital assets of all kinds. It’s time for more digital businesses to see security as the growth catalyst it is and take action now to ensure their operations continue to flourish.

6 Best Practices For Increasing Security In AWS In A Zero Trust World

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) reported $6.6B in revenue for Q3, 2018 and $18.2B for the first three fiscal quarters of 2018.
  • AWS revenue achieved an impressive 46% year-over-year net sales growth between Q3, 2017 and Q3, 2018 and 49% year-over-year growth for the first three quarters of the year.
  • AWS’ 34% market share is bigger than its next four competitors combined with the majority of customers taken from small-to-medium sized cloud operators according to Synergy Research.
  • The many announcements made at AWS Re:Invent this year reflect a growing focus on hybrid cloud computing, security, and compliance.

Enterprises are rapidly accelerating the pace at which they’re moving workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for greater cost, scale and speed advantages. And while AWS leads all others as the enterprise public cloud platform of choice, they and all Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers rely on a Shared Responsibility Model where customers are responsible for securing operating systems, platforms and data.  In the case of AWS, they take responsibility for the security of the cloud itself including the infrastructure, hardware, software, and facilities. The AWS version of the Shared Responsibility Model shown below illustrates how Amazon has defined securing the data itself, management of the platform, applications and how they’re accessed, and various configurations  as the customers’ responsibility:

Included in the list of items where the customer is responsible for security “in” the cloud is identity and access management, including Privileged Access Management (PAM) to secure the most critical infrastructure and data.

Increasing Security for IaaS in a Zero Trust World

Stolen privileged access credentials are the leading cause of breaches today. Forrester found that 80% of data breaches are initiated using privileged credentials, and 66% of organizations still rely on manual methods to manage privileged accounts. And while they are the leading cause of breaches, they’re often overlooked — not only to protect the traditional enterprise infrastructure — but especially when transitioning to the cloud.

Both for on-premise and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), it’s not enough to rely on password vaults alone anymore. Organizations need to augment their legacy Privileged Access Management strategies to include brokering of identities, multi-factor authentication enforcement and “just enough, just-in-time” privilege, all while securing remote access and monitoring of all privileged sessions. They also need to verify who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment. These are all essential elements of a Zero Trust Privilege strategy, with Centrify being an early leader in this space.

6 Ways To Increase Security in AWS

The following are six best practices for increasing security in AWS and are based on the Zero Trust Privilege model:

  1. Vault AWS Root Accounts and Federate Access for AWS Console

Given how powerful the AWS root user account is, it’s highly recommended that the password for the AWS root account be vaulted and only used in emergencies. Instead of local AWS IAM accounts and access keys, use centralized identities (e.g., Active Directory) and enable federated login. By doing so, you obviate the need for long-lived access keys.

  1. Apply a Common Security Model and Consolidate Identities

When it comes to IaaS adoption, one of the inhibitors for organizations is the myth that the IaaS requires a unique security model, as it resides outside the traditional network perimeter. However, conventional security and compliance concepts still apply in the cloud. Why would you need to treat an IaaS environment any different than your own data center? Roles and responsibilities are still the same for your privileged users. Thus, leverage what you’ve already got for a common security infrastructure spanning on-premises and cloud resources. For example, extend your Active Directory into the cloud to control AWS role assignment and grant the right amount of privilege.

  1. Ensure Accountability

Shared privileged accounts (e.g., AWS EC2 administrator) are anonymous. Ensure 100% accountability by having users log in with their individual accounts and elevate privilege as required. Manage entitlements centrally from Active Directory, mapping roles, and groups to AWS roles.

  1. Enforce Least Privilege Access

Grant users just enough privilege to complete the task at hand in the AWS Management Console, AWS services, and on the AWS instances. Implement cross-platform privilege management for AWS Management Console, Windows and Linux instances.

  1. Audit Everything

Log and monitor both authorized and unauthorized user sessions to AWS instances. Associate all activity to an individual, and report on both privileged activity and access rights. It’s also a good idea to use AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch to monitor all API activity across all AWS instances and your AWS account.

  1. Apply Multi-Factor Authentication Everywhere

Thwart in-progress attacks and get higher levels of user assurance. Consistently implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for AWS service management, on login and privilege elevation for AWS instances, or when checking out vaulted passwords.

Conclusion

One of the most common reasons AWS deployments are being breached is a result of privileged access credentials being compromised. The six best practices mentioned in this post are just the beginning; there are many more strategies for increasing the security in AWS.  Leveraging a solid Zero Trust Privilege platform, organizations can eliminate shared Amazon EC2 key pairs, using auditing to define accountability to the individual user account level, execute on least privilege access across every login, AWS console, and AWS instance in use, enforce MFA and enable a common security model.

The Current State Of Cybersecurity Shows Now Is The Time For Zero Trust

  • 41% of total breaches in 2017 targeted the healthcare industry, making it the most popular target for breach attempts.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) combined with user credentials tops the percentage of breaches with 29% according to Wipro’s report.
  • 88 records were lost or stolen every second in 2017 according to Wipro’s analysis.
  • Machine learning & AI are the second highest ranking security competencies for the future.

These and many other fascinating findings are from Wipro’s State of Cybersecurity Report 2018. A copy of the report can be downloaded here (PDF, 96 pp., no opt-in). The study is based on four primary sources of data including primary research of Wipro customers, Cyber Defense Center (CDC) primary research, secondary research sources and Wipro partner content. 42% of respondents are from North America, 10% from Europe, 18% from the Middle East, 21% from Asia and 8% from Australia. For additional details on the methodology, please see pages 3 through 5 of the report.

Banking & Financial Services and Healthcare Breaches Most Common

Over 40% of all breaches Wipro was able to track using their CDCs are targeted at healthcare, followed by banking & financial services with 18%. This is consistent with Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report which shows healthcare leading all industries with five times the number of breaches experienced than any other industry. Banking & financial services receive more server-based breach incidents than any other industry according to Verizon’s latest study. Accenture’s study, “Losing the Cyber Culture War in Healthcare: Accenture 2018 Healthcare Workforce Survey on Cybersecurity” found that 18% of healthcare employees are willing to sell confidential data to unauthorized parties for as little as $500 to $1,000.

Wipro’s State of Cybersecurity Report 2018 underscores how all industries are facing a security crisis today. The study shows how all industries need a more scalable approach to security that protects every attack surface by validating every access request on every device, for every resource.  Zero Trust Security (ZTS) continues to be proven effective in thwarting breach attempts across all industries by relying on its four core pillars of verifying the identity of every user, validating every device, limiting access and privilege, as well as relying on machine learning to analyze user behavior and gain greater insights from analytics. Leaders in this field include Centrify for Privileged Access Management, Idaptive, (a new company soon to be spun out from Centrify) for Next-Gen Access, as well as CiscoF5 and Palo Alto Networks in networking.

ZTS starts by maturing an organization’s identity management practices ― be it to secure end-user access credentials through Next-Gen Access (NGA) or to secure privileged user credentials via Zero Trust Privilege (ZTP). NGA empowers organizations to validate every end user access attempt by capturing and then analyzing a wide breadth of data, including user identity, device, device operating system, location, time, resource request, and many other factors to derive risk scores. NGA determines in less than a second if verified end users will get immediate access to resources requested, or be asked to verify their identity further through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Zero Trust Privilege is focused on privileged users that typically hold the “keys to the kingdom” and therefore are a common target for cyber adversaries. ZTP grants least privilege access based on verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and the risk of the access environment. By implementing least privilege access, organizations minimize attack surfaces, improving audit and compliance visibility, and reducing risk, complexity, and costs for the modern, hybrid enterprise. Every industry needs Zero Trust Security to secure the proliferating number and variety of attack surfaces and realize that each customer, employee and partner identity is their real security perimeter.

Key takeaways of the Wipro State of Cybersecurity Report 2018 include the following:

  • Security Architecture & Design and Machine learning & AI are the #1 and #2 ranked security competencies for the future. When senior executive respondents were asked which security competencies would most help security practitioners excel in the cybersecurity domain, they mentioned security architecture & design (31%) and machine learning & AI (19%) as their top choices. Next-Gen Access platforms leverage machine learning algorithms to continuously learn and generate contextual intelligence that is used to streamline access for verified end users while thwarting breach attempts, the most common of which is compromised credentials. Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

  • 29% of respondents say that Privileged Access Management (PAM) gave them most value, further validating now is the time for Zero Trust Privilege. IT executives are more and more understanding that privileged access credential abuse is the most common cause for cyber-attacks and therefore are starting to place more emphasis on implementing Privileged Access Management. Centrify has recently announced a new focus on Zero Trust Privilege, extending PAM to a broader modern threatscape including DevOps, containers, Big Data and more. Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

  • Endpoint attack vectors are proliferating faster than traditional enterprise security approaches can keep up. The scale and scope of endpoint attack vectors continue to change quickly. Wipro found that breach attempts are often multi-dimensional with orchestrated attempts to compromise a combination of attack vectors at once. Wipro’s findings that endpoint attack vectors are fluctuating so quickly further support the need for ZTS enabled by Next-Gen Access as the primary security strategy to thwart breach attempts. Please click on the graphic to expand it for easier reading.

Conclusion

In quantifying the number and scope of breaches healthcare, banking & financial services, retail, education and manufacturing companies experienced in 2017, Wipro’s latest Wipro State of Cybersecurity Report shows how every identity is the new security perimeter of a business. Attack surfaces are proliferating with the growth of business models in each of these industries, accelerated by the Internet of Things (IoT) adoption and smart, connected products and systems. By relying on the four core pillars of verifying the identity of every user, validating every device, limiting access and privilege, as well as relying on machine learning to analyze user behavior and gain greater insights from analytics, Zero Trust Security thwarts breach attempts by protecting every threat surface in real-time.

Zero Trust Security Update From The SecurIT Zero Trust Summit

  • Identities, not systems, are the new security perimeter for any digital business, with 81% of breaches involving weak, default or stolen passwords.
  • 53% of enterprises feel they are more susceptible to threats since 2015.
  • 51% of enterprises suffered at least one breach in the past 12 months and malicious insider incidents increased 11% year-over-year.

These and many other fascinating insights are from SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs held last month in San Francisco, CA. CIO and CSO produced the event that included informative discussions and panels on how enterprises are adopting Next-Gen Access (NGA) and enabling Zero Trust Security (ZTS). What made the event noteworthy were the insights gained from presentations and panels where senior IT executives from Akamai, Centrify, Cisco, Cylance, EdgeWise, Fortinet, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment and YapStone shared their key insights and lessons learned from implementing Zero Trust Security.

Zero Trust’s creator is John Kindervag, a former Forrester Analyst, and Field CTO at Palo Alto Networks.  Zero Trust Security is predicated on the concept that an organization doesn’t trust anything inside or outside its boundaries and instead verifies anything and everything before granting access. Please see Dr. Chase Cunningham’s excellent recent blog post, What ZTX means for vendors and users, for an overview of the current state of ZTS. Dr. Chase Cunningham is a Principal Analyst at Forrester.

Key takeaways from the Zero Trust Summit include the following:

  • Identities, not systems, are the new security perimeter for any digital business, with 81% of breaches involving weak, default or stolen passwords. Tom Kemp, Co-Founder, and CEO, Centrify, provided key insights into the current state of enterprise IT security and how existing methods aren’t scaling completely enough to protect every application, endpoint, and infrastructure of any digital business. He illustrated how $86B was spent on cybersecurity, yet a stunning 66% of companies were still breached. Companies targeted for breaches averaged five or more separate breaches already. The following graphic underscores how identities are the new enterprise perimeter, making NGA and ZTS a must-have for any digital business.

  • 53% of enterprises feel they are more susceptible to threats since 2015. Chase Cunningham’s presentation, Zero Trust and Why Does It Matter, provided insights into the threat landscape and a thorough definition of ZTX, which is the application of a Zero Trust framework to an enterprise. Dr. Cunningham is a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving security and risk professionals. Forrester found the percentage of enterprises who feel they are more susceptible to threats nearly doubled in two years, jumping from 28% in 2015 to 53% in 2017. Dr. Cunningham provided examples of how breaches have immediate financial implications on the market value of any business with specific focus on the Equifax breach.

Presented by Dr. Cunningham during SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs

  • 51% of enterprises suffered at least one breach in the past 12 months and malicious insider incidents increased 11% year-over-year. 43% of confirmed breaches in the last 12 months are from an external attack, 24% from internal attacks, 17% are from third-party incidents and 16% from lost or stolen assets. Consistent with Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report use of privileged credential access is a leading cause of breaches today.

Presented by Dr. Cunningham during SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs

                       

  • One of Zero Trust Security’s innate strengths is the ability to flex and protect the perimeter of any growing digital business at the individual level, encompassing workforce, customers, distributors, and Akamai, Cisco, EdgeWise, Fortinet, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment and YapStone each provided examples of how their organizations are relying on NGA to enable ZTS enterprise-wide. Every speaker provided examples of how ZTS delivers several key benefits including the following: First, ZTS reduces the time to breach detection and improves visibility throughout a network. Second, organizations provided examples of how ZTS is reducing capital and operational expenses for security, in addition to reducing the scope and cost of compliance initiatives. All companies presenting at the conference provided examples of how ZTS is enabling greater data awareness and insight, eliminating inter-silo finger-pointing over security responsibilities and for several, enabling digital business transformation. Every organization is also seeing ZTS thwart the exfiltration and destruction of their data.

Conclusion

The SecurIT: the Zero Trust Summit for CIOs and CISOs event encapsulated the latest advances in how NGA is enabling ZTS by having enterprises who are adopting the framework share their insights and lessons learned. It’s fascinating to see how Akamai, Cisco, Intel, Live Nation Entertainment, YapStone, and others are tailoring ZTS to their specific customer-driven goals. Each also shared their plans for growth and how security in general and NGA and ZTS specifically are protecting customer and company data to ensure growth continues, uninterrupted.

 

 

Analytics Are Empowering Next-Gen Access And Zero Trust Security

Employee identities are the new security perimeter of any business.

80% of IT security breaches involve privileged credential access according to a Forrester study. According to the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2018 Report, 89% of organizations are relying on just a single security strategy to keep their mobile networks safe. And with Gartner predicting worldwide security spending reaching $96B this year, up 8% from 2017, it’s evident enterprises must adopt a more vigilant, focused strategy for protecting every threat surface and access point of their companies. IT security strategies based on trusted and untrusted domains are being rendered insufficient as hackers camouflage their attacks through compromised, privileged credentials. It’s happening so often that eight in ten breaches are now the result of compromised employee identities.

Thus, taking a Zero Trust Security (ZTS) approach to ensure every potential threat surface and endpoint, both within and outside a company, is protected, has become vital in today’s dynamic threat landscape. ZTS is an essential strategy for any digital business whose perimeters flex in response to customer demand, are using the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to streamline supply chain and production logistics, and have suppliers, sales teams, support, and services all using mobile apps.  ZTS begins with Next-Gen Access (NGA) by providing companies with the agility they need to secure applications, devices, endpoints, and infrastructure as quickly as needed to support company growth. Both NGA and ZTS are empowered by analytics to anticipate and thwart a wide variety of cyber threats, the most common of which is compromised credential access.

How NGA Leverages Analytics to Secure Every Endpoint

NGA validates every access attempt by capturing and quickly analyzing a wide breadth of data including user identity, device, device operating system, location, time, resource request, and several other factors. As NGA is designed to verify every user and access attempt, it’s foundational to attaining Zero Trust Security across an IT infrastructure. One of the fascinating areas of innovation in enterprise security today is the rapid adoption of analytics and machine learning for verifying users across diverse enterprise networks. NGA platforms calculate and assign a risk score to every access attempt, determining immediately if verified users will get immediate access to resources requested, or be asked to verify their identity further through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).

Machine learning-based NGA platforms including Centrify calculate a risk score that quantifies the relative level of trust based on every access attempt across an IT infrastructure. NGA platforms rely on machine learning algorithms to continuously learn and generate contextual intelligence that is used to streamline verified user’s access while thwarting many potential threats ― the most common of which is compromised credentials. IT security teams can combine the insights gained from machine learning, user profiles, and contextual intelligence to fine-tune the variables and attributes that calculate risk scores using cloud-enabled analytics services.  An example of Centrify’s Analytics Services dashboard is shown below:

Visibility and Analytics are a Core Pillar of ZTS

Analytics, machine learning and their combined potential to produce contextual intelligence, real-time risk scores, and secure company perimeters to the individual access attempt level need a continual stream of data to increase their accuracy. Forrester’s Zero Trust Framework, shown below, illustrates how an enterprise-wide ZTS security strategy encompasses workloads, networks, devices, and people.  NGA is the catalyst that makes ZTS scale into each of these areas. It’s evident from the diagram how essential visibility and analytics are to a successful ZTS strategy. NGA provides incident data including reports of anomalous or atypical login and attempted resource behavior. Visibility and analytics applications from IBM, Splunk, Sumologic, and others are relied on to aggregate the data, anticipating and predicting breaches and advanced attacks. The result is a ZTS security strategy that begins with NGA that flexes and scales to the individual perimeter level as a digital business grows.

Source: What ZTX Means For Vendors And Users, Forrester Research Blog, January 23, 2018., Chase Cunningham, Principal Analyst.

Conclusion

Every company, whether they realize it or not, is in a race against time to secure every threat surface that could be compromised and used to steal or destroy data and systems.  Relying on yesterday’s security technologies to protect against tomorrow’s sophisticated, well-orchestrated threats isn’t scaling. Reading through the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2018 Report illustrates why Zero Trust Security is the future. Improving visibility throughout the network and reducing the time to breach detection, stopping malware propagation and reducing the scope and cost of internal and regulatory-mandated compliance requirements are just a few of the business benefits. Analytics and machine learning are the fuel enabling NGA to scale and support ZTS strategies’ success today.

Three Ways Machine Learning Is Revolutionizing Zero Trust Security

Bottom Line: Zero Trust Security (ZTS) starts with Next-Gen Access (NGA). Capitalizing on machine learning technology to enable NGA is essential in achieving user adoption, scalability, and agility in securing applications, devices, endpoints, and infrastructure.

How Next-Gen Access and Machine Learning Enable Zero Trust Security

Zero Trust Security provides digital businesses with the security strategy they need to keep growing by scaling across each new perimeter and endpoint created as a result of growth. ZTS in the context of Next-Gen Access is built on four main pillars: (1) verify the user, (2) validate their device, (3) limit access and privilege, and (4) learn and adapt. The fourth pillar heavily relies on machine learning to discover risky user behavior and apply for conditional access without impacting user experience by looking for contextual and behavior patterns in access data.

As ZTS assumes that untrusted users or actors already exist both inside and outside the network, machine learning provides NGA with the capability to assess data about users, their devices, and behavior to allow access, block access, or enforce additional authentication. With machine learning, policies and user profiles can be adjusted automatically and in real-time. While NGA enabled by machine learning is delivering dashboards and alerts, the real-time response to security threats predicated on risk scores is very effective in thwarting breaches before they start.

Building NGA apps based on machine learning technology yields the benefits of being non-intrusive, supporting the productivity of workforce and business partners, and ultimately allowing digital businesses to grow without interruption. For example, Centrify’s rapid advances in machine learning and Next-Gen Access to enable ZTS strategies makes this company one of the most interesting to watch in enterprise security.

The following are three ways machine learning is revolutionizing Zero Trust Security:

  1. Machine learning enables enterprises to adopt a risk-based security strategy that can flex with their business as it grows. Many digital businesses have realized that “risk is security’s new compliance,” and therefore are implementing a risk-driven rather than a compliance-driven approach. Relying on machine learning technology to assess user, device, and behavioral data for each access request derives a real-time risk score. This risk score can then be used to determine whether to allow access, block access, or step up authentication. In evaluating each access request, machine learning engines process multiple factors, including the location of the access attempt, browser type, operating system, endpoint device status, user attributes, time of day, and unusual recent privilege change. Machine learning algorithms are also scaling to take into account unusual command runs, unusual resource access histories, and any unusual accounts used, unusual privileges requested and used, and more. This approach helps thwart comprised credential attacks, which make up 81% of all hacking-related data breaches, according to Verizon.
  2. Machine learning makes it possible to accomplish security policy alignment at scale. To keep pace with a growing digital business’ need to flex and scale to support new business models, machine learning also assists in automatically adjusting user profiles and access policies based on behavioral patterns. By doing so, the need for IT staffers to review and adjust policies vanishes, freeing them up to focus on things that will grow the business faster and more profitably. On the other hand, end users are not burdened with step-up authentication once a prior abnormal behavior is identified as now typical behavior and therefore both user profile and policies updated.
  3. Machine learning brings greater contextual intelligence into authentication, streamlining the experience and increasing user adoption. Ultimately, the best security is transparent and non-intrusive. That’s where the use of risk-based authentication and machine learning technology comes into play. The main impediment to adoption for multi-factor authentication has been the perceived impact on the productivity and agility of end users. A recent study by Dow Jones Customer Intelligence and Centrify revealed that 62% of CEOs state that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is difficult to manage and is not user-friendly, while only 41% of technical officers (CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs) agree with this assessment. For example, having to manually type in a code that has been transmitted via SMS in addition to the already supplied username and password is often seen as cumbersome. Technology advancements are removing some of these objections by offering a more user-friendly experience, like eliminating the need to manually enter a one-time password on the endpoint, by enabling the user to simply click a button on their smartphone. Nonetheless, some users still express frustration with this additional step, even if it is relatively quick and simple. To overcome these remaining barriers to adoption, machine learning technology contributes to minimizing the exposure to step up authentication over time, as the engine learns and adapts to the behavioral patterns.

In Conclusion

Zero Trust Security through the power of Next-Gen Access is allowing digital businesses to continue on their path of growth while safeguarding their patented ideas and intellectual property. Relying on machine learning technology for Next-Gen Access results in real-time security, allowing to identify high-risk events and ultimately greatly minimizing the effort required to identify threats across today’s hybrid IT environment.

How Zero Trust Security Fuels New Business Growth

Bottom Line: Zero Trust Security (ZTS) strategies enabled by Next-Gen Access (NGA) are indispensable for assuring uninterrupted digital business growth, and are proving to be a scalable security framework for streamlining onboarding and systems access for sales channels, partners, patients, and customers of fast-growing businesses.

The era of Zero Trust Security is here, accelerated by NGA solutions and driven by the needs of digital businesses for security strategies that can keep up with the rapidly expanding perimeters of their businesses. Internet of Things (IoT) networks and the sensors that comprise them are proliferating network endpoints and extending the perimeters of growing businesses quickly.

Inherent in the DNA of Next-Gen Access is the ability to verify the user, validate the device (including any sensor connected to an IoT network), limit access and privilege, then learn and adapt using machine learning techniques to streamline the user experience while granting access to approved accounts and resources. Many digital businesses today rely on IoT-based networks to connect with suppliers, channels, service providers and customers and gain valuable data they use to grow their businesses. Next-Gen Access solutions including those from Centrify are enabling Zero Trust Security strategies that scale to secure the perimeters of growing businesses without interrupting growth.

How Zero Trust Security Fuels New Business Growth  

The greater the complexity, scale and growth potential of any new digital business, the more critical NGA becomes for enabling ZTS to scale and protect its expanding perimeters. One of the most valuable ways NGA enables ZTS is using machine learning to learn and adapt to users’ system access behaviors continuously. Insights gained from NGA strengthen ZTS frameworks, enabling them to make the following contributions to new business growth:

  1. Zero Trust Security prevents data breaches that cripple new digital business models and ventures just beginning to scale and grow. Verifying, validating, learning and adapting to every user’s access attempts and then quantifying their behavior in a risk score is at the core of Next-Gen Access’ DNA. The risk scores quantify the relative levels of trust for each system user and determine what, if any, additional authentication is needed before access is granted to requested resources. Risk scores are continuously updated with every access attempt, making authentication less intrusive over time while greatly reducing compromised credential attacks.
  2. Securing the expanding endpoints and perimeters of a digital business using NGA frees IT and senior management up to focus more on growing the business. In any growing digital business, there’s an exponential increase in the number of endpoints being created, rapidly expanding the global perimeter of the business. The greater the number of endpoints and the broader the perimeter, the more revenue potential there is. Relying on Next-Gen Access to scale ZTS across all endpoints saves valuable IT time that can be dedicated to direct revenue-producing projects and initiatives. And by relying on NGA as the trust engine that enables ZTS, senior management will have far fewer security-related emergencies, interruptions, and special projects and can dedicate more time to growing the business. A ZTS framework also centralizes security management across a digital business, alleviating the costly, time-consuming task of continually installing patches and updates.
  3. Zero Trust Security is enabling digital businesses globally to meet and exceed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance requirements while protecting and growing their most valuable asset: customer trust. Every week brings new announcements of security breaches at many of the world’s most well-known companies. Quick stats on users affected, potential dollar loss to the company and the all-too-common 800 numbers for credit bureaus seem to be in every press release. What’s missing is the incalculable, unquantifiable cost of lost customer value and the millions of hours customers waste trying to avert financial chaos. In response to the need for greater oversight of how organizations respond to breaches and manage data security, the European Union (EU) launched General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which goes into effect May 25, 2018. GDPR applies not only European organizations, but also to foreign businesses that offer goods or services in the European Union (EU) or monitor the behavior of individuals in the EU. The compliance directive also states that organizations need to process data so in a way that “ensures appropriate security of the personal data, using appropriate technical and organizational measures,” taking into account “state of the art and the costs of implementation.”

Using an NGA approach that includes risk-based multi-factor authentication (MFA) to evaluate every login combined with the least privilege approach across an entire organization is a first step towards excelling at GDPR compliance. Zero Trust Security provides every organization needing to comply with GDPR a solid roadmap of how to meet and exceed the initiative’s requirements and grow customer trust as a result.

Conclusion

Next-Gen Access enables Zero Trust Security strategies to scale and flex as a growing business expands. In the fastest growing businesses, endpoints are proliferating as new customers are gained, and suppliers are brought onboard. NGA ensures growth continues uninterrupted, helping to thwart comprised credential attacks, which make up 81% of all hacking-related data breaches, according to Verizon.

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