Using the Enterprise File Fabric to make S3 or S3 compatible data more secure and easier to securely share

Without a doubt Amazon S3 Object Storage is the big gorilla of the storage world. Many companies, large and small, are using it to store data.

One of the challenges of using Amazon S3 has been how to secure it and how to securely share from it. There have been far too many articles with regards to S3 breaches because of mis-configuration which have been well documented, although Amazon have tried to help combat this with its recent announcement regarding public access setting for S3 buckets.

There are those that think that S3 security is flawed by design.  The simple purpose of this post is to present ways in which the Enterprise File Fabric helps to make S3 data more secure.

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How To Easily Create Private Password Protected Amazon S3 Links And Folders

As Amazon S3 has become more widely used the thorny issue of sharing files has become more of an issue. Sharing files on S3 can be complex and can involve public buckets, IAM Policies and temp URL’s. This complexity has often lead to companies setting buckets to public to enable access which in turn has led to its own issues in terms of breaches or unauthorised access.

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How do you solve a problem like DropBox ? (aka securing corporate dropbox accounts)

How do you solve a problem like dropbox?

DropBox has been in the press quite a lot lately with regards to passwords breaches and also with surreptitious behaviour with regard to  machine security on Mac. Although DropBox has started to reassure users with ‘how secure we are‘ type information Corporate IT departments will again feel they have cause for concern with regards any internal corporate use of DropBox.

So the key question we are trying here is ‘just do do you solve a problem like Dropbox‘ ? Indeed this is a slightly unfair question in that it is using DropBox to make a point and the reality is we could have picked on one of several cloud storage services as Corporate IT has misgivings with anything Cloud when it relates to files.

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Storage Made Easy Cloud Federation now supports Microsoft Office 365 custom Active Directory SSO

One of the more frequent requests we have had for the Storage Made Easy Office 365 Connector was to enable users how used their own identity management with Office 365.

This affects users who purchase Office 365 through a reseller / Distributor such as GoDaddy or for companies who are using their own Identity Management with Office 365 for Single Sign On (SSO).

Users who use Office 365 with their own identity management or third party identity management can now also use the SME O365 connector, previously limited only to Microsoft Office 365 OAuth.

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Installing a Private Enterprise File Share and Sync Appliance on Windows Azure Compute Services

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This blog post is a technical post outlining the steps needed to deploy the Storage Made Easy Cloud Control Gateway and Enterprise File Share and Sync solution on the Azure IaaS compute infrastructure.

Storage Made Easy provides a private enterprise file share and sync solution that can not only be used with Azure Blob Storage Data but which can also be used as a cloud security point to secure other storage points or sync and share solutions, such as Office365 and SharePoint. We call this Cloud Control and you can read more about it here.

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Storage Made Easy is not affected by the OpenSSL Heartbeat overflow bug

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We wanted to provide you with an update on the recently published vulnerability for OpenSSL. Please see here for an explanation regarding the vulnerability.

As soon as we were made aware of this vulnerability we immediately scanned our infrastructure to assess the potential risk.

Our analysis showed that we were not at risk to the vulnerability on our own servers nor on the IaaS or on-site cloud appliances as we are not running an affected version of OpenSSL.

Update:

LastPass HeartBleed checking tool is giving false positives. Please use any of the below sites / services that correctly check for HeartBeat vunerability in sites:

https://filippo.io/Heartbleed
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest

Update

We have liaises with LastPass who are using a different algorithm to issue warnings and the SME site has been whitelisted.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Why you, and not your storage vendor, need to manage your file encryption

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Many file sharing vendors offer at encryption at rest but the the real question is do they let you manage your own encryption key?

Ask yourself these questions?

– Are you comfortable not controlling your own file encryption?
– Do you have sensitive data you wish to store in the cloud that you do not want to have your file sharing vendor have access to?
– Do you have data that absolutely must have controlled encryption from a legislative view point?
– Do ypu trust your vendor not to provide a ‘back door’ to the NSA?

Storage Made Easy:

– Offers private key encryption in which the private key is not stored on its hosted platform for all users (including free users).

– Let’s you encrypt data stored on any remote cloud including Box, DropBox, Amazon S3 etc

– is a UK company that has servers located in the US and in Europe in which no data is shared between the two

– Can provide a completely on-premise solution for Cloud Control and unified joined up file sharing that encompasses all public and private corporate data.

SME puts encryption of your files in your hands not your vendors !

For further information please download our security white paper and see our previous blog post on encrypting files.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Top 5 things you can do to protect the privacy of Cloud Data

If you had not noticed, there has been a lot of controversy about the recent discovery that companies or individuals are prone to having their activities monitored by the US intelligence services. This is allegedly done under the code name PRISM and again allegedly involves some deep integration with large cloud companies, although many are denying the extent of their participation and service integration.

If the rumours are to be believe then everything from Google through to Skype and full blown Windows OS may have some snooping capability built in.

So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are the top 5 things you should,consider as a company and as an individual:

1. Run your own Private Data Cloud: We have been promoting this for a while with the SME Cloud Appliance. Install your own Cloud File Server, use it with your own data, and auditing / governance monitoring, from desktop and mobile clients. It’s behind your firewall and its under your control. In short own your own data.

2. Encrypt your data. If you have to use public cloud services encrypt your data. SME provides streamed 256 bit SHA-1 AES encryption in which you keep the private key. It’s not anywhere on our SaaS service and of,course if you use the SME on-premise appliance then you have total control. Additionally consider desktop encryptors such as TrueCrypt and BoxCryptor.

3. Consider an alternative non tracking search engine such as DuckDuckGo. This enables anonymous searching and offers other privacy features.

4. Consider using an anonymous proxy that hides your IP address. Tor (originally short for The Onion Router)is free software, available for desktop and mobile clients, for enabling online anonymity. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide volunteer network consisting of thousands of relays to conceal a user’s location or usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

Also don’t forget that there are many ways to identify you, even if the IP address is ‘randomized’. Either Delete your browser cache, history and cookies etc or consider using anonymous browser sessions or extensions or add-ins that prevent browser cookies or tracking.

5. Consider the locality of your data. If you are in the UK or EU do you really want your data hosted in the US and subject to the Patriot Act. If you are in the US (or anywhere in the world) consider point 2 strongly. Private Cloud can offer just as many benefits as public cloud.

An often trotted out phrase is that “if you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear”. With that simple phrase vanish personal freedoms and liberties built up over hundreds of years from the likes of Thomas Paine onwards.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Amazon S3 file encryption now supported

We have for quite a while enabled public/private key AES 256 bit file encryption for files in which the private key is not stored on our servers. Many providers now support their own encryption and what we offer is over and above that (and in many cases our encryption is used as an additional security as it is truly private whereas in most cases the vendor stores the public and private key).

We believe it makes sense for us to support vendor Cloud encryption mechanisms were they add value and are possible. To this end we now support the Amazon S3 Cloud encryption and we’ve made it pretty easy to turn the encryption on, straight from the settings of the S3 provider (accessible from the Web DashBoard):

Once you are in the settings page of the S3 provider you simply turn it on:

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Implementing secure document delivery of private data to the iPad

One of the interesting projects we’ve recently been looking at with several customers is implementing secure document delivery of private (and in some cases public) data to the iPad using a combination of our Open Cloud Platform and our iSMEStorage iPad App.

The iPad seems to have become the executive, and salesman’s choice of device for mobility and ease of use. We’re seeing it everywhere from high end Finance to very small two to three man businesses.

What restricts some businesses from being able to use the iPad a  means of accessing Cloud Data that they store on premise or in public Clouds in private accounts is often security. They need a level of security that can be above what is required for normal everyday use. I’ve outlined some of the requirements below:

 

 

 

 

1. Requirement to have full control over Cloud File Server / Gateway. This requires the company implementing our Open Cloud Platform on their premise or in their data centre. This is reasonable straight forward and we have a whitepaper on the architecture for high availability here.

2. The iPad has to be a complete sandbox and not accessible as a “File system”. Of course, the way Apple designed iOS Apps was that each operate in their own sandbox directory and by default there is no access to different directories from within Apps (unlike Android). However if the device jailbroken all bets are off. To this end, we implemented in our code for such clients that detects if the device is jail broken when the App is installed or launched. If it is then the App becomes inaccessible.

3. Of course in in point 2 above, if the App is not launched and someone gets access to the filesystem via a jailbreak then the files could still be compromised. To this end we have implemented encryption on PIN. The current version of iSMEStorage already enables adding a PIN over above login. For private customers we this PIN to also encrypt the data on the iPad, much like you can do using the home directory encryption that Apple provides on the Mac. This now means that if the device is jailbroken and the App is not launched then the files, even if accessed, cannot be viewed. This feature may well make it’s way into our App Store iSMEStorage App at some point in the future.

4. In the unlikely event someone does get access to the App then all documents that are accessed can be encrypted using the SMEStorage Cloud Platform which means that a PIN is required to download them to the device (where the are encrypted anyway). The encryption is 256 bit AES encryption.

5. Integration with third party authentication services. A number of clients we’ve worked with have their own third party authentication services. In some cases we’ve need to look at integrating these into the authentication mechanism used for our iPad App. Two examples are Ping Identity Server and Arcot mobile authentication solution. You can view a short whitepaper on security integration here.

6. Disabling any document sharing with other Apps. This of course makes perfect sense in a world where you want the ultimate security for files and was simply a case of disabling this feature. This presented some challenges where customers wanted still to have some editing capabilities of documents. To this end we entered into OEM’s with best of breed third party solutions for such private implementations that enable document editing from within the App as well as PDF annotation for PDF documents.

Taking these steps a secure document delivery solution can be achieved for Private data. Public data, stored on such services as Amazon S3, or RackSpace, can if required also be accessed by “plugging them” in at a Cloud Platform Server level. Additional data becomes part of the Cloud File System and can be managed easily within the virtual directory. The Organisation can use the options in the SMEStorage Cloud File Server to require encryption for all documents stored on such services that pass through the Cloud Gateway.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather