Blog - Author Posts

Cloud Security Automation: Code vs. CloudFormation or Terraform Templates

By Rich
Right now I’m working on updating many of my little command line tools into releasable versions. It’s a mixed bag of things I’ve written for demos, training classes, clients, or Trinity (our mothballed product). A few of these are security automation tools I’m working on for clients to give them a skeleton framework to build out their own automation programs. Basically, what we created Trinity for, that isn’t releasable. One question that comes up a lot when I’m handing this off is why write custom Ruby/Python/whatever code instead of using CloudFormation or

More on Bastion Accounts and Blast Radius

By Rich
I have received some great feedback on my post last week on bastion accounts and networks. Mostly that I left some gaps in my explanation which legitimately confused people. Plus, I forgot to include any pretty pictures. Let’s work through things a bit more. First, I tended to mix up bastion accounts and networks, often saying “account/networks”. This was a feeble attempt to discuss something I mostly implement in Amazon Web Services that can also apply to other providers. In Amazon an account is basically an AWS subscription. You sign up for an account, and you get access

Firestarter: How to Tell When Your Cloud Consultant Sucks

By Rich
Mike and Rich had a call this week with another prospect who was given some pretty bad cloud advice. We spend a little time trying to figure out why we keep seeing so much bad advice out there (seriously, BIG B BAD not OOPSIE bad). Then we focus on the key things to look for to figure out when someone is leading you down the wrong path in your cloud migration. Oh… and for those with sensitive ears, time to engage the explicit flag. Watch or listen:

Bastion (Transit) Networks Are the DMZ to Protect Your Cloud from Your Datacenter

By Rich
In an earlier post I mentioning bastion accounts or virtual networks. Amazon calls these “transit VPCs” and has a good description. Before I dive into details, the key difference is that I focus on using the concept as a security control, and Amazon for network connectivity and resiliency. That’s why I call these “bastion accounts/networks”. Here is the concept and where it comes from: As I have written before, we recommend you use multiple account with a partitioned network architecture structure, which often results in 2-4 accounts per cloud application stack (project). This limits the ‘blast radius’ of

Seven Steps to Secure Your AWS Root Account

By Rich
The following steps are very specific to AWS, but with minimal modification they will work for other cloud platforms which support multi factor authentication. And if your cloud provider doesn’t support MFA and the other features you need to follow these steps… find another provider. Register with a dedicated email address that follows this formula: project_name-environment-random_seed@yourorganization.com. Instead of project name you could use a business unit, cost code, or some other team identifier. The environment is dev/test/prod/whatever. The most important piece is the random seed added to the email address. This prevents

How to Start Moving to the Cloud

By Rich
Yesterday I warned against building a monolithic cloud infrastructure to move into cloud computing. It creates a large blast radius, is difficult to secure, costs more, and is far less agile than the alternative. But I, um… er… uh… didn’t really mention an alternative. Here is how I recommend you start a move to the cloud. If you have already started down the wrong path, this is also a good way to start getting things back on track. Pick a starter project. Ideally something totally new, but migrating an existing project is okay, so long as you can rearchitect

Your Cloud Consultant Probably Sucks

By Rich
There is a disturbing consistency in the kinds of project requests I see these days. Organizations call me because they are in the midst of their first transition to cloud, and they are spending many months planning out their exact AWS environment and all the security controls “before we move any workloads up”. More often than not some consulting firm advised them they need to spend 4-9 months building out 1-2 virtual networks in their cloud provider and implementing all the security controls before they can actually start in the cloud. This is exactly what not to do. As I

Ten Years of Securosis: Time for a Memory Dump

By Rich
I started Securosis as a blog a little over 10 years ago. 9 years ago it became my job. Soon after that Adrian Lane and Mike Rothman joined me as partners. Over that time we have published well over 10,000 posts, around 100 research papers, and given countless presentations. When I laid down that first post I was 35, childless, a Research VP at Gartner still, and recently married. In other words I had a secure job and the kind of free time no one with a kid ever sees again. Every morning I woke up energized to tell the Internet important things! In those 10

Nuke It from Orbit

By Rich
I had a call today, that went pretty much like all my other calls. An organization wants to move to the cloud. Scratch that – they are moving, quickly. The team on the phone was working hard to figure out their architectures and security requirements. These weren’t ostriches sticking their heads in the sand, they were very cognizant of many of the changes cloud computing forces, and were working hard to enable their organization to move as quickly and safely as possible. They were not blockers. The company was big. I take a lot of these calls now. The problem

Thoughts on Apple’s Bug Bounty Program

By Rich
It should surprise no one that Apple is writing their own playbook for bug bounties. Both bigger, with the largest potential payout I’m aware of, and smaller, focusing on a specific set of vulnerabilities with, for now, a limited number of researchers. Many, including myself, are definitely free to be surprised that Apple is launching a program at all. I never considered it a certainty, nor even necessarily something Apple had to do. Personally, I cannot help but mention that this news hits almost exactly 10 years after Securosis started… with my first posts on, you guessed it, a conflict
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