Practical Cloud Security: A Guide for Secure Design and Deployment
As the title states, this book is a practical guide to securing your cloud environments. In almost all organizations, security has to fight for time and funding, and it often takes a back seat to implementing features and functions. Focusing on the “best bang for the buck,” security-wise, is important.
This book is intended to help you get the most important security controls for your most important assets in place quickly and correctly, whether you’re a security professional who is somewhat new to the cloud, or an architect or developer with security responsibilities. From that solid base, you can continue to build and mature your controls.
While many of the security controls and principles are similar in cloud and on-premises environments, there are some important practical differences. For that reason, a few of the recommendations for practical cloud security may be surprising to those with an on-premises security background. While there are certainly legitimate differences of opinion among security professionals in almost any area of information security, the recommendations in this book stem from years of experience in securing cloud environments, and they are informed by some of the latest developments in cloud computing offerings.
The first few chapters deal with understanding your responsibilities in the cloud and how they differ from in on-premises environments, as well as understanding what assets you have, what the most likely threats are to those assets, and some protections for them.
The next chapters of the book provide practical guidance, in priority order, of the most important security controls that you should consider first:
- Identity and access management
- Vulnerability management
- Network controls
The final chapter deals with how to detect when something’s wrong and deal with it. It’s a good idea to read this chapter before something actually goes wrong!
Do you need to get any certifications or attestations for your environment, like PCI certification or a SOC 2 report? If so, you’ll need to watch out for a few specific pitfalls, which will be noted. You’ll also need to make sure you’re aware of any applicable regulations—for example, if you’re handling PHI (protected health information) in the United States, or if you’re handling personal information for EU citizens, regardless of where your application is hosted.
Conventions Used in This Book
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
- Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, and file extensions.
- Used for program listings, as well as within paragraphs to refer to program elements such as variable or function names, databases, data types, environment variables, statements, and keywords.
Constant width bold
- Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.
Constant width italic
- Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values determined by context.
This element signifies a tip or suggestion.
This element signifies a general note.
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This book would not have happened without the encouragement and support of my wonderful wife, Tabitha Dotson, who told me that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and juggled schedules and obligations for over a year to make it happen. I’d also like to thank my children, Samantha (for her extensive knowledge of Greek mythology) and Molly (for constantly challenging assumptions and thinking outside the box).
It takes many people besides the author to bring a book to publication, and I didn’t fully appreciate this before writing one. I’d like to thank my editors, Andy Oram and Courtney Allen; my reviewers, Hans Donker, Darren Day, and Edgar Ter Danielyan; and the rest of the wonderful team at O’Reilly who have guided and supported me through this.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of my friends, family, colleagues, and mentors over the years who have answered questions, bounced around ideas, listened to bad puns, laughed at my mistakes, and actually taught me most of the content in this book.
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