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How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

Why Are APIs so Important to Digital Business?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are strong foundation for highly connected enterprises. They are everywhere, global and pervasive. APIs are accelerating daily business transactions, expanding customer demand and supporting mission-critical, go-to market strategies. Conversely, accompanying the exponential adoption of APIs is the urgent need to maintain a thorough API security strategy that blocks potential daily threats generated by huge volumes of transactions and data sharing between you and your external customers or partners.

What are actually the APIs?

APIs are tools that let you easily expose your unique data and services in web apps, mobile apps and other connected devices. They become the standard way of connecting applications, data and devices, providing services directly to partners and creating new models for doing business. API Gateway is able to provide security and peace of mind in this API-connected world.

APIs are important to digital business, because they simplify how two different programs communicate with one another. They are also driving a new wave of innovation which is based on shared services leveraging DevOps. In this way APIs enable companies to grow their business more quickly and to accomplish any business goal by increasing efficiency through business transformation.

Which are the basic API Platforms?

The best breed of API management platforms consists of three basic building blocks. Assembled together, these will ensure that all APIs exposed by the platform are secured and governed and that there is full visibility on their consumption.

API gateway. API gateway is a valuable security enforcing component. It acts as a single point of entry for all consumers, insulating them from multiple service providers, geographical locations, etc. API Gateway could manage, deliver, and secure enterprise APIs, applications, and consumers. It provides core services such as security (for example, authentication and authorization), connectivity with a range of different protocols, virtualization, scalability and elasticity, high availability, and manageability.

API manager. API manager is a platform for managing the lifecycle of APIs. This includes the processes of creating, publishing, promoting and governing APIs in a secure and scalable environment. The API manager enables API producers to engage partners and developers and help them onboard, manage, and test their Apps. API providers can publish, document, promote, and support their APIs, and app developers can easily find, consume, and get support.

API analytics. API analytics provide real-time insights into the business and optimize the delivery and value of APIs. They leverage the collected API data to generate predictive analytics dashboards analyzing trends and outliers. API Analytics and reporting includes both engineering focused metrics such as performance and uptime, but also tracking customer and product metrics such as engagement, retention, and developer conversion. There are a variety of methods to perform such analysis which includes basic SQL and Excel to purpose built API analytics platforms.

Which are the benefits of API Management?

1. Centralized Visibility

The API connections throughout your organization show up in a centralized panel. You know what’s going on with your published APIs and third-party APIs in your network. This governance helps you avoid security vulnerabilities, cut down on redundant APIs, and identify gaps your developers can address. This top-down view proves particularly useful if you’re looking for large-scale unusual behavior, such as a developer attempting to bypass API limitations to access unauthorized data.

2. Better developer and end user experiences

Managed APIs enable organizations to not only make their digital assets more easily available to developers, but also collect analytics and generate insights about how and by whom APIs are being used. These insights help organizations to iterate their APIs, so developers are increasingly empowered to create better experiences for end users. Well-managed APIs help business to iterate not only quickly, but also intelligently.

3. Fewer security worries

An API management platform provides a common plane to apply security precautions while still allowing individual teams and developers to work relatively autonomously. Robust API security capabilities include authentication mechanisms to control who can access APIs, intelligent security algorithms to combat bots, and tools to enforce traffic quotas and other policies.

4. Multi-cloud acceleration

Modern IT ecosystems are heterogeneous mixture of modern SaaS and cloud services. Businesses need the agility to freely connect these systems and to locate applications and data where they will be most useful. For that purpose, APIs abstract this complexity into an interface that developers can easily use to connect and leverage apps and data across clouds or across hybrid deployments. Besides, API management platforms provide control over and visibility into this process.

5. Better software connectivity for enhanced productivity

Many organizations use integrated software solutions, such as one umbrella software that houses their marketing and sales efforts and HR and finance processes. For those who have more disparate software solutions – particularly smaller businesses that have been adding solutions as they grow – APIs can increase connectivity and communication between software to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Investing in an APIs could bring better business results, because they are a tool that has created more flexibility and allows companies to be more proactive and responsive to internal and external needs. Overall, organizations who need more agility or greater communication capabilities have turned to an API strategy to help create a stronger company business. API Management accelerates the changes in digital transformation by providing you with the capabilities you need to bring systems together, protect these integrated solutions, enhance customer experience, and unlock new business opportunities.

More about API platforms you can read in PATECCO previous articles here and here.

PATECCO Developed FIM Query Service Platform

PATECCO, which is specialized in Identity and Access Management consulting, developed a new platform – FIM Query Service, integrated with CA API Management tool. It provides the capabilities you need to bring systems together, to protect these integrated solutions, enhance customer experience, and unlock new business opportunities in the digital transformation.

FIM Query Service easily allows connectivity to a different source of information. That source could use the benefit of cache for recurring searches like Active Directory all information available to standard Xpath. Besides, the new tool provides a single entry point to the whole environment and this allows easy connectivity from third-party clients based on REST standard.

FIM Query Services Platform could be easily secured with third-party security gateways, resulting in better logging and improved GDPR compatibility.

In the integration processCA API Gateway toolacts as policy-driven identity and security enforcement points that can be implemented both in the enterprise and in the cloud to address a broad range of behind–the–firewall, SOA, B2B, API management and cloud security challenges.

The tool is designed to address multi-domain issues, especially the need to maintain trust when exchanging information with third parties. It also acts as Policy Enforcement Points (PEPs) located in the enterprise, allowing organizations to layer on key control and visibility capabilities for all third party interactions.

The integrated CA API Gateway provides OAUTH 2.0 to Windows Authentication for the production environment, so the services should be security compliant to the industry standards. In this way it ensures unparalleled flexibility in defining and enforcing identity-driven security policies, leveraging SSO session cookies, Kerberos tickets, SAML assertions and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

An advantage of the new platform is that it helps ensure enterprise application and infrastructure services are protected against malicious attacks or accidental damage due to poorly structured data. The tool provides not only protocol mediation and efficient data transformation, but also more traditional application-layer functionality such as caching and traffic throttling.

The other benefit of FIM Query Service is that it limits the number of no standard Clients to the database. This means that there is a lower number of locks for the tables resulting in better response time. The information, which is already searched, is available immediately from the cache.

The next advantage of FIM Query Service is that it phase out the lower level SQL language and replace it with standardizing REST based XPath. The verification and conversion between XPath and SQL are done by approved Microsoft Service and eliminates the need for knowing the internal database structure. This leads to future speedier updates.

PATECCO believes that APIs are the building blocks of digital transformation. Being successful today and asserting oneself on the market, requires the companies in every industry to make a fundamental change. This transformation process is not just about gradually introducing improvements, but also about developing core businesses to meet the needs of today’s connected world.