Calculating TCO: The Real Cost of Cloud Security

This post examines the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a cloud security system, not in terms of the actual dollars and cents cost of a system, but in terms that will help you identify and understand the many hidden costs associated with accurately calculating the TCO for cloud security.

In essence, we want to show you some of the areas that would require a significant investment if you were to build, operate, and maintain a system with capabilities similar to Threat Stack’s Cloud Security Platform®. This, in turn, should help you make an informed decision as you go about selecting a cloud security solution that is appropriate for your organization.

Note: We use “build” in a broad sense in this post, from building a system from scratch, to leveraging open source tools, to creating integrations among multiple point solutions. Read more “Calculating TCO: The Real Cost of Cloud Security”

New Playbook: Jump Starting Your Cloud Security Journey

Cloud security is a complex subject, and customers sometimes tell us that one of their biggest challenges is simply knowing where to start.

In our latest playbook, Jump Starting Cloud Security: A Guide to Starting Your Cloud Security Journey, we have addressed this problem head on. If your organization is just starting out in cloud security — whether it’s a rapidly growing startup or a more established company — this Playbook is intended for you.

It’s a roadmap full of industry-proven practices that will put you on the fast track to cloud security monitoring, addressing your first round of security concerns, and measurably improving your security stance, all in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable outlay of money and resources.

The hand-on approach will help you implement important security practices without diverting resources and attention away from your company’s main business goals, and you’ll also end up with a solid platform to build on when you want to move up to the next level of maturity on the cloud security ladder. Read more “New Playbook: Jump Starting Your Cloud Security Journey”

The Three Pillars of Continuous Security Improvement

Security should never be a one-and-done proposition: It requires a continuous improvement mindset to keep you on top of security initiatives and to accommodate new issues as you detect them. Once your security program is up and running, you need to measure, evaluate, and modify it on an ongoing basis to maintain or improve your results. This doesn’t necessarily require a ton of time and effort; it simply requires a strategy.

So today, we want to take a look at what it takes to build an effective security program with continuous improvement at its core. In our view, there are three key pillars to continuous security improvement, and if you have been following along with our Starting Your Cloud Security Journey blog post series, then you’ll be well-acquainted with these concepts. Read more “The Three Pillars of Continuous Security Improvement”

How to Implement a Security Awareness Program at Your Organization

Security isn’t just a technical problem. It’s also a people problem, and keeping the people side of the security equation strong requires that all people in your organization have an awareness of security. This is why security awareness programs are so important.

The goal of a security awareness program — as you may have guessed — is to increase organizational understanding and practical implementation of security best practices. A program like this should apply to all hires — new and old, across every department — and it should be reinforced on a regular basis.

Here’s what you need to know to create a first-class security awareness program at your organization. Read more “How to Implement a Security Awareness Program at Your Organization”

Incorporating AWS Security Best Practices Into Terraform Design

Implementing AWS security best practices into your Terraform design is an excellent way of ensuring that you have a streamlined way to achieve your security goals and manage your infrastructure.

In this post, we will talk about the following three areas of AWS security best practices and how to implement them with Terraform:

  • Environment segregation by AWS account
  • CloudTrail logging
  • Traffic and system access controls

Just to be clear, this post is not an introduction to Terraform: It’s an introduction to incorporating AWS security best practices into Terraform code. Read more “Incorporating AWS Security Best Practices Into Terraform Design”

How to Prepare Your Company Culture for Its First Security Hire

We often think of security as a technology problem. But at its core, security is and always has been a people problem. You can have the fanciest security tools up and running, but if your organization is full of happy clickers, you still have a problem on your hands.

For this reason, the more that security is a part of your company culture, the better off you will be when it comes to standing up to today’s threats. Read more “How to Prepare Your Company Culture for Its First Security Hire”

Steps for Establishing Your AWS Security Roadmap

Yesterday, we hosted one of our most popular webinars to date: Steps for Establishing Your AWS Security Roadmap. Threat Stack’s VP of Engineering, Chris Gervais, was joined by AWS Solution Architect, Scott Ward, along with Zuora’s Head of Infrastructure Security, Bibek Galera for a practical discussion on how companies can build an effective cloud security roadmap from day one. Read more “Steps for Establishing Your AWS Security Roadmap”

OS Updates and Package Management: Ubuntu Repo Management With Aptly and AWS S3

Note: In light of the AWS S3 outage in us-east-1 on February 28, 2017, let’s discuss a few things. Amazon’s S3 has exemplary availability. Compare that with the time and cost of maintaining package distribution yourself. It’s easy to look at S3’s outage and conclude that it is better to handle the responsibility yourself. In the same way, it’s easy to see news of a plane crash and conclude that driving is more reliable. The feeling of control doesn’t always lead to the most reliable outcome. Aptly does provide the ability to serve a repository on its own. See how to front Aptly with nginx in an emergency like the one on Tuesday February 28.

It is an unfortunate fact that many organizations do not routinely perform comprehensive software patching. At Threat Stack, we have confirmed this with our own analysis of how frequently systems are updated, and Verizon’s DIBR shows us that the most commonly exploited vulnerabilities are months or years old.

But patching is one area where following the status quo is a very bad idea. As a best practice, your organization needs a patching strategy to make sure it remains secure, and with that in mind, this post explains how you can adopt a patching strategy that suits your organization’s needs and values. Read more “OS Updates and Package Management: Ubuntu Repo Management With Aptly and AWS S3”

Don’t Make Perfect Security the Enemy of Good Security

We’ve written before about what it means to meet compliance standards without going completely overboard. Today, we want to talk about how that applies to cloud security as well. Some teams mistakenly believe that their security posture needs to be absolutely perfect. That’s not only overwhelming — it’s impossible.

More to the point, the reality of today’s security landscape is that cybercriminals are always looking for the path of least resistance. If company A has reasonably good security safeguards in place and company B does not, criminals aren’t going to waste resources poking at company A until they find a weakness. They’ll go after company B.

This is why we tell organizations that, when it comes to security, perfect can often be the enemy of good. Rather than trying to make your organization perfectly airtight, it’s time to focus on making your company as unappealing an attack target as possible. Here’s how. Read more “Don’t Make Perfect Security the Enemy of Good Security”