Few days back, I was in a discussion with a senior person. Our discussion was centred around cloud and security. We talked about lots of common and obvious processes and measures we can take for security of our applications on different platforms including but not limited to Amazon EC2, Azure and Google Cloud.
After discussion, I thought that I should write about most important thing in cloud security, which if not considered in your security plan, can be the reason of closure of your company in few minutes if not seconds.
I will talk more about this single thing but first let me give you some background about a security point when cloud concept was not around.Installing two operating system on same hard drive was a genius thing in those days.
Computer security was also a big problem in those days. There were lots of things, we were doing to secure our computers. We made an authentication system, we implemented better file system permissions. We even implemented application level securities policies, only certain application were allowed to specific people. Even hardware resources were bound to specific users only.
Lets consider this hypothetical situation, You prepared a system with all standard security practices. Implement best policies to protect your data. One morning, when you reach your office, your computer is missing from the table, a thief just came and stole your computer. He does not care about your data, he just formatted your hard drive, erase your data and sold your computer in grey market.
I want to make a point that no matter what kind of security policies you are making or implementing, if physical damage can be done to your data then no security will come to help you. So in those old days, I always suggest securing your hardware first then go for implementing security policies.
Now, coming back to cloud, security has become a major challenge. Physical access was needed to get your computer and then delete data. Nowadays, with cloud your data is accessible to anyone with a just a userid/password combination.
Anyone who can access your cloud account at amazon or any other service, can do damage to your infrastructure within minutes. No matter which kind of backup or security policies you are following, if you loose access of your main account to someone else, then you are gone.
What can be done to counter such situation? First of all try to create different accounts with different level of permissions, this will mitigate the chances of leak point of information in your process. two factor authentication is also useful. One of major thing which is needed is second account backup.
You should take backup of such system in a separate account whose access is quite difficult or available to very senior persons only. Amazon recently has started giving such facility where you can take backup from different account, I will suggest if you can please keep a copy of your data offshore or on a different data centre.
So, Please protect your main account, take backup to a different account, so you can restore in case of need.