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Avoiding Compliance Risk with Better Access Management | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Security #Compliance
Networks have become large, complex entities that are increasingly difficult to manage and control
By: Fouad Khalil
Nov. 19, 2017 01:00 PM
Avoiding Compliance Risk with Better Access Management
Networks have become large, complex entities that are increasingly difficult to manage and control. Security, audit, risk and compliance professionals know that their organizations rely on them for effective risk management, control and governance processes that are essential to the safety of their network environment. Yet compliance and security are more challenging than ever before as additional layers are added to this environment.
One of the challenges lies in the fact that there is an ongoing, huge access gap in network security and compliance - and it has been residing within the environment for more than 20 years. This tool, known as the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, grants privileged access to all types of production environments.
A Problem Gaining Attention
Consider how you grant critical application access to vendors and administrators; that privileged access going into production with SSH keys is not being controlled by any means of logging, auditing or review. The point of privileged access is to obtain approval to elevate your access to do a certain function, to audit and check your work, and then sever the session and review it after the fact. Unfortunately, those steps and the control of privileged access fail when you don't have true governance over SSH keys.
More professionals are becoming aware of this access gap, chiefly through practitioner guidance and industry events discussing the protocol and, unfortunately, by means of large security breaches (such as the SONY breach) stemming from poorly managed SSH key environments.
Material Weakness and Invisible Threats
One of the consequences would be the spectacular failure of an audit. Not having control over 30 percent of your production access could be construed as material weakness to your environment, from a controls perspective. And if you talk about a financial institution that is publically traded, and they fall under the Sarbanes-Oxley umbrella, this is a huge problem. From a SOX perspective, when a CFO or CEO signs off on attestations, they are saying they have complete visibility and control over access. However, the reality is that they have no visibility or control over their production due to poor or non-existent SSH key management.
Another consequence of poorly managed SSH key environments is that it creates an open door for threats that you don't even have visibility into. For instance, a malicious insider could be leveraging uncontrolled, unaudited privileged access that is not monitored or logged and you wouldn't be able to tell. By the same token, if you are being breached by an attacker who is leveraging back doors or exploits in this environment, the same thing would happen. You would have no visibility into the data that is being compromised or potentially compromised, and by law you must notify and report accordingly. So, what would your reported evidence look like?
Because this situation warrants immediate attention and action, ISACA has recently released a new guidance document, SSH: Practitioner Considerations. In collaboration with industry experts, practitioners and ISACA subject matter experts, the white paper provides an excellent overview of what SSH is, its background, assurance considerations and practitioner impacts and suggested controls.
The document offers the following best practices to manage SSH keys and mitigate risk:
Toward Greater Compliance
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