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Cloud Security Hands-On (CCSK-Plus)

Securosis | July 30-31 & August 1-2


This course provides a solid foundation in cloud security, and includes a full day of hands-on labs to apply the principles in practice. It also includes new, expanded material for advanced students. We cover all the material needed to pass the Cloud Security Alliance Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) exam, but add a pragmatic approach to immediate kick start your cloud security projects. For Black Hat, we also add expanded material to show you how to take cloud security to the next level by leveraging DevOps techniques and the characteristics of the cloud.

**Note: all labs use Amazon Web Services, and students will need to have an AWS account (instructions are sent before class) AND A LAPTOP. We do include demonstrations of some other major cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure, but all exercises are restricted to AWS.**

The course is designed to appeal to a wide range of skill levels, but we highly recommend a solid security foundation and, for the labs, experience making SSH connections. While most of the labs occur in a web browser, you will need to connect to Linux cloud servers and copy and paste a handful of command lines.

The first day of the class is all lecture, with 6 modules that cover the 14 domains of the CSA Guidance. The material is expanded to show the theory working in practice. The modules are:

Module 1: Introduction to Cloud Computing. This module covers the fundamentals of cloud computing, including definitions, architectures, and the role of virtualization. Key topics include cloud computing service models, delivery models, and fundamental characteristics. It also introduces a model for assessing the risk of moving to the cloud.

Module 2: Securing Cloud Infrastructure. This module digs into the details of the different cloud delivery models and their basic security issues. Students will learn the differences between security responsibilities for SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, and key questions to ask a potential provider. It includes recommendations for both public and private cloud. The instructors will also demonstrate creating and applying security to a simple cloud instance on IaaS.

Module 3: Managing Cloud Security and Risk. This module covers important considerations for managing security for cloud computing. It begins with risk assessment and governance, then covers legal and compliance issues, such as discovery requirements in the cloud. It finishes with a discussion or portability and interoperability and managing incident response when working with cloud providers.

Module 4: Securing Cloud Data. One of the biggest issues in cloud security is protecting data. This module covers information lifecycle management for the cloud and how to apply security controls. Topics include the Data Security Lifecycle, cloud storage models, data security issues with different delivery models, and managing encryption in and for the cloud.

Module 5: Securing Cloud Users and Applications. This module covers identity management and application security for cloud deployments. Topics include federated identity and different IAM applications, secure development, and managing application security in and for the cloud.

Module 6: Selecting and Working with Cloud Providers. In this module, we review the key questions and considerations when selecting a cloud provider, and how to work with them over time. This includes both cloud computing providers, and Security as a Service providers.

Day 2 - The second day of CCSK Plus training includes expanded material and extensive hands-on activities. Students will learn to apply their knowledge as they perform a series of exercises as they complete a scenario bringing a fictional organization securely into the cloud. This second day of training includes additional lecture, although student's will spend most of their time assessing, building, and securing a cloud infrastructure during the exercises.

Course Outline:

Exercise 1: Introduction and Risk Analysis. Students will be introduced to the day's scenario and build a threat model for migrating to the cloud.

Exercise 2: Create and Secure a Public Cloud Instance. Students will create a basic cloud instance on a public cloud infrastructure and establish a security baseline. Topics include creating an AWS instance, establishing network security, and understanding machine images.

Exercise 3: Encrypt Public Cloud Data. In this module, students will dive into cloud storage options and learn the basics to encrypt data for their public cloud deployment.

Exercise 4: Create and Secure a Cloud Application. Now students will secure their first public application for the cloud, following best practices such as architecting their cloud application stack and managing appropriate network security.

Advanced Interlude: For Black Hat, we expand with a section on leveraging DevOps techniques and Software Defined Security. Students will learn to leverage AWS IAM Roles to automatically provision Chef security configurations to new instances through launch scripts. Then we demonstrate a Ruby program (code provided) to instantly identify all unmanaged instances in the cloud.

Exercise 5: Identity Management for the Cloud. Students will create a basic federated identity infrastructure to support their cloud application and learn additional details on standards like SAML and OAuth.

Advanced Exercises: The course also includes advanced exercises on the following, which may be instructor lead or self paced depending on the skill level of the students:

  • Automating security policies with Chef
  • Building dynamic security alerts in AWS
  • Understanding and security VPCs
  • Writing intermediate Amazon IAM policies

Who Should Take this Course

Security professionals who need to understand cloud computing security.

Student Requirements

A basic understanding of security fundamentals. You should know what most or all of the following terms mean: IAM, federated identity, hypervisor, SSH, key management, SDLC, IDS, and DLP. We cover more, but if you know most of those, you are ready. We also highly recommend you know how to use SSH and aren't afraid of entering a few pre-scripted commands into a terminal since we will ne connecting to Linux instances.

What Students Should Bring

A laptop and an active Amazon Web Services account (instructions will be provided).

What Students Will Be Provided With

Printed and/or electronic materials.


Rich Mogull, Analyst & CEO Rich has twenty years experience in information security, physical security, and risk management. He specializes in cloud security, data security, application security, emerging security technologies, and security management. He is also the principle course designer of the Cloud Security Alliance training class and actively works on developing hands-on cloud security techniques. Prior to founding Securosis, Rich was a Research Vice President at Gartner on the security team. Prior to his seven years at Gartner, Rich worked as an independent consultant, web application developer, software development manager at the University of Colorado, and systems and network administrator. Rich is the Security Editor of TidBITS and a frequent contributor to publications ranging from Information Security Magazine to Macworld. He is a frequent industry speaker at events including the RSA Security Conference, Black Hat, and DefCon, and has spoken on every continent except Antarctica (where he's happy to speak for free -- assuming travel is covered).

Starting his career as a programmer and a networking consultant, Mike joined META Group in 1993 and spearheaded META's initial foray into information security research. Mike left META in 1998 to found SHYM Technology, a pioneer in the PKI software market, and then held VP Marketing roles at CipherTrust and TruSecure providing experience in marketing, business development, and channel operations for both product and services companies. After getting fed up with vendor life, he started Security Incite in 2006 to provide the voice of reason in an over-hyped yet underwhelming security industry. After taking a short detour as Senior VP, Strategy and CMO at eIQnetworks to chase shiny objects in security and compliance management, Mike joins Securosis with a rejuvenated cynicism about the state of security and what it takes to survive as a security professional.

James Arlen is Leviathan's Director of Risk and Advisory Services. He is responsible for the development and delivery of Leviathan's professional services, assisting executive clients to develop and implement their information security policies and strategic plans. Over the past twenty years, James has delivered information security solutions to Fortune 500, TSE 100, and major public-sector organizations. In both a consultant and staff member role, James has led business and technical teams of professionals in both tactical short-term projects and multi-year organizational change initiatives. James has held key contributor roles, including both being the CISO of a publicly traded financial institution and being the Information Security Coordinator at a large-scale power utility. Among other major technical accomplishments, James has architected and built multi-million dollar security infrastructure, handled incident response and event containment, written multiple policy and standards suites, and completed penetration testing activities as both a leader and as a team member.