Why is it important to secure cloud? A lesson from the GoDaddy data exposure

 In Cloud, Security

Of late, a lot of cases of data exposures have been reported globally.

In May, Twitter had come forward with devastating information that it had been unintentionally storing some user passwords unprotected in plaintext in an internal log. The company fixed the problem as soon as it found it, but wouldn’t say how long the passwords were exposed. And then in June, the Exactis debacle came to light, wherein 340 million individual and business records were made publically accessible.

Recently, it was internet domain behemoth GoDaddy that was discovered to have files containing detailed server information stored in an unsecured AWS S3 bucket, ready for miscreants to steal and misuse.

 

 What is a data exposure?

A data exposure is slightly different from a data breach. In an exposure, data is stored and defended improperly such that it is laid bare on the open internet and could be easily accessed by anyone who comes across it. This often occurs when cloud users misconfigure a database or other storage mechanism so it requires minimal or no authentication to access.

 

 The GoDaddy Uproar

The exposure was actually not due to GoDaddy’s negligence. Apparently, it was an AWS salesperson who had created a Microsoft Excel sheet, containing high-level configuration information for thousands of systems and pricing options for running those systems in Amazon AWS, including the discounts offered under different scenarios, in an unsecured AWS S3 bucket. 

This is what an AWS spokesperson had to say on the matter – “While Amazon S3 is secure by default and bucket access is locked down to just the account owner and root administrator under default configurations, the salesperson did not follow AWS best practices with this particular bucket.”

The real question is that when GoDaddy was made aware of this fact 5 weeks ago by security firm, UpGuard, why was the information was not secured?

This information could have been used by attackers to select targets based on their role, probable data, size, and region. It could have also been used by businesses to build a competitive advantage for cloud hosting strategy and pricing.

 

 The importance of cloud security and governance

This security exposure could have been easily avoided by implementing a strong cloud security governance policy, and backing it up by using a governance platform to monitor and manage cloud environments.

Without a proper governance structure and without the right tool to implement the structure, organizations are faced with security risks, such as data exposure. CoreStack platform is built to tackle this critical need for enterprises. CoreStack puts visibility and recommendations at the center of cloud governance and makes it easy for central IT teams to ensure compliance with their governance policies.The Compliance tab of CoreStack Dashboard starts with what is important to central IT, i.e., non-compliance issues. This makes the ITOps team aware when something is non-compliant – be it about security, costs, or an errant and unsecured AWS S3 bucket.

CoreStack platform also offers recommendations for suitable actions to correct such errors and rack up security. What makes CoreStack different from others in the market is it is easy to move from a higher-level overview to pinpoint a problem and get recommendations with few clicks.

 

Click here to request a demo of CoreStack’s governance capabilities.

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