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​Google latest cloud to be Australian government certified

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The Google Cloud Platform has been added to the federal government’s Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL), allowing the search engine giant to provide cloud services to government agencies, up to an unclassified dissemination limiting marker (DLM) level.

The certification was handed out by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which took the responsibility off the Australian Signals Directorate earlier this year.

“Google sought entry into the certification program for hosting data classified up to Unclassified DLM. Because of this, Google was only assessed for this purpose,” head of the ACSC Alastair MacGibbon said.

“Protecting Australians from cyber threats is one of our greatest national security challenges. It’s important that we have rigorous standards for the management of our information.”

The ACSC’s decision certifies 16 Google Cloud Platform services and a physical datacentre located in Sydney, in categories including: Compute Engine, App Engine, and Kubernetes Engine for computing; Cloud Storage and Persistent Disk for storage; Virtual Private Cloud, Cloud Load Balancing, and Cloud DNS for networking; Cloud Key Management Service and Cloud IAM for security; Stackdriver where management is concerned; Cloud Dataflow, Cloud Dataproc, and Cloud Datalab for data analytics; and for databases, Cloud SQL and Cloud Datastore.

The CCSL now boasts 12 providers that can all store government data at the unclassified DLM level: Dimension Data, Macquarie Government, Microsoft, Sliced Tech, Vault Systems, Amazon Web Services, Dell Virtustream, Education Services Australia, IBM, Salesforce, and ServiceNow.

However, only five of these vendors are certified at a protected level, which is currently the highest security level approved by the federal government.

Local vendors Sliced Tech and Vault Systems were the first to receive protected status and were shortly followed by Macquarie Government, part of the Macquarie Telecom Group.

NTT-owned Dimension Data was then accredited to provide protected-level cloud services to Australian government entities despite being an international company, and one with datacentres outside of the country.

Microsoft was the fifth and final vendor to appear on the CCSL in a protected capacity, receiving accreditation in April for its “government-configured” clouds to be used for Australian government data classified up to that level. But unlike all previous such certifications, Microsoft’s certifications were provisional, and came with what the ASD called “consumer guides”.

During Senate Estimates earlier this year, MacGibbon was asked if there had been any negative feedback received regarding Microsoft, with the committee pointing to concerns over the legitimacy of Microsoft’s accreditation.

MacGibbon in May defended the government’s decision to hand conditional protected-level certification out to Microsoft, saying he was confident the data on Australians is safe in the hands of Microsoft despite the Washington-headquartered company having staff scattered around the globe.

Google Cloud landed in Australia in July last year.

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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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