SEC557: Continuous Automation for Enterprise and Cloud Compliance

  • In Person (3 days)
  • Online
18 CPEs

SEC557 teaches professionals tasked with ensuring security and compliance how to stop being a roadblock and work at the speed of the modern enterprise. You'll learn how to measure and visualize security data using the same tools that developers and engineers are using, as well as how to extract, load, and visualize data from cloud services, on-premise systems, and security tools. The course includes PowerShell scripting, automation, time-series databases, dashboard software, and even spreadsheets to present management with the strategic information it needs and to facilitate the work of your operations staff with sound tactical data.

What You Will Learn

Measure What Matters - Not What's Easy


Agile development, DevOps, cloud technologies, and virtualization have enabled organizations to build and deploy systems at a terrifyingly fast rate. The old and cumbersome manual ways to test security and compliance can't keep up. You need to understand and use the same tools and techniques that your developers and engineers are using, and you need to be able to generate results quickly and often - without slowing down your organization.

SEC557 uses the ELVis (Extract, Load, and VISualize) technique to help you gather and present useful security and compliance information to your organization. Students will learn how to use PowerShell scripting and automated tools to gather measurements from cloud service providers, operating systems, Active Directory, security tools, web APIs, and datacenter infrastructure. For some data, you'll prepare tactical visualizations on the fly by building spreadsheets, pivot tables, and graphs using scripts. Then import your data into the Graphite time-series database for strategic analysis and reporting. You'll also build Grafana dashboards for use by management, security, compliance, and operations staff.

This Course Will Prepare You To:

  • Turn policies and management requirements into visually presented security metrics
  • Reduce the time and effort required to gather and report on security and compliance data
  • Measure security and compliance in cloud and traditional infrastructure
  • Use PowerShell scripts and command-line tools to extract relevant data from cloud services
  • Gather information from web APIs and security tools
  • Extract information about virtualization infrastructure
  • Query data from fleets of heterogenous systems
  • Monitor servers and endpoints for proper configuration
  • Work with data formats commonly used by security tools, DevOps pipelines, and cloud services
  • Build tactical visual reports for use by operations staff and management
  • Manage and load time-series databases for tracking metrics over time
  • Build strategic dashboards for security and compliance

"The timing of the industry and the needs / demands are major reasons why one should take this class, as it relates to compliance, cyber audits, and supports senior management initiatives." - Diane D, US Gov


SEC557 focuses very heavily on hands-on activities, with as much as 50% of your day being spent at the keyboard. Lab activities for the course include:

  • Introduction to PowerShell
  • Using .NET objects in PowerShell
  • PowerShell date/time handling
  • Working with common data input/output formats: JSON, XML, CSV, HTML, spreadsheets
  • Data acquisition from Web APIs: REST and SOAP
  • Building Excel spreadsheets, pivot tables, and graphs with code
  • Configuring the Graphite time-series database (TSDB)
  • Importing data into Graphite
  • Managing data sources and building dashboards with Grafana
  • Extracting data from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Command Line Interface (CLI)
  • Acquiring data from AWS security tools
  • Acquiring data from VMWare infrastructure


  • Electronic courseware and printed course books
  • Digital download package with a virtual machine


Cheat Sheet: Powershell for Enteprise and Cloud Compliance

3-Part webcast series: PowerShell for Audit, Compliance and Security Automation, and Visualization

Corresponding 3-part blog series: PowerShell for Audit, Compliance and Security Automation and Visualization


Depending on your current role or future plans, one of these courses is a great next step after SEC557.

Syllabus (18 CPEs)

Download PDF
  • Overview

    Section 1 begins with a discussion of the special problems faced by audit, security, and compliance professionals in the age of Agile, Cloud, and DevOps. We explore some of the technologies that organizations are using to embrace higher-velocity IT delivery and how to work with those technologies to increase our own speed. We introduce the SEC557 ELVis (Extract, Load, VISualize) technique. Then, we get to work using PowerShell to gather and manipulate data. We move from basic commands to techniques to quickly process large data sets and then format the output to be used in other tools or easily consumed by the people tasked with securing our enterprise. At the end of the section, we load data into a time-series database and build our first dashboards.

    • PowerShell fundamentals
    • Working with the .NET framework
    • Reading and writing JSON, XML, HTML, and CSV data
    • Using spreadsheets as data sources and as visualization tools
    • Configuring Graphite and loading data
    • Adding Grafana data sources and building dashboard
    • Security, audit, and compliance in a fast-moving world
    • PowerShell ecosystem
    • PowerShell commands and scripting
    • Using .NET objects in PowerShell
    • Working with common data formats
    • Building tactical reports directly from acquired data using pivot tables and graphs
    • Working with time-series databases
    • Working with dashboard software
  • Overview

    Section 2 focuses on helping the organization safely use cloud services and DevOps technologies. We begin with an overview of the tools and technologies that drive DevOps and how to perform automated security testing against them. We discuss shared responsibility models and how the enterprise should operate securely in the cloud. We then explore a combination of native and third-party tools that can be automated to measure and report on the security of cloud-based systems.

    • Consuming web APIs
    • Verifying Docker security
    • Using static analysis tools for security testing
    • Gathering inventory information using the AWS CLI
    • Assessing identity and access management (IAM) roles and user settings
    • Verifying AWS security settings
    • Validating the security of infrastructure as code deployments
    • DevOps tools and technologies
    • Ensuring security at deploy time
    • Shared responsibility models
    • Identity and access management (IAM)
    • Multi-factor authentication
    • Logging in the cloud
    • Monitoring access and changes to cloud resources
    • Network configuration checks
    • Automated VM assessment tools
  • Overview

    In Section 3, we cover how to extract and report on data from operating systems, datacenter infrastructure, and container technologies. We begin the course section looking at techniques to get data from individual Windows system and Active Directory domains and forests. Then we examine Linux/Unix systems to see how to gather measurements from them as well. Next, we explore how to use OSQuery to retrieve useful information from a wide variety of operating systems, and we add in fleet management software to allow us to query these systems at scale. We end the section with a discussion of how to measure security and compliance of container systems like Docker.

    • Querying Windows settings
    • Extracting data from Active Directory
    • Compliance testing with Pester
    • VMware infrastructure testing
    • Querying Linux/Unix
    • Monitoring patch velocity on Windows and Unix systems
    • Gathering configuration and security information from Windows systems with PowerShell
    • Querying Active Directory with PowerShell
    • Querying Linux and Unix systems with PowerShell and native tools
    • Using OSQuery to monitor systems
    • Using Fleet to manage large numbers of heterogenous systems
    • Securing the Docker ecosystem


No other courses are required prior to taking SEC557, but experience with development, operations, security, audit, InfoSec, or IT management will be helpful.

The course makes heavy use of PowerShell, so anything you can do to familiarize yourself with PowerShell ahead of starting the course will put you at an advantage. Clay has a 3-part webcast and blog series using PowerShell mentioned in the Course Overview above under Additional Resources, which is highly recommended to review before the course starts, particularly for those less familiar with PowerShell.

Laptop Requirements

Important! Bring your own system configured according to these instructions!

A properly configured system is required to fully participate in this course. These requirements are the mandatory minimums. If you do not carefully read and follow these instructions, you will likely leave the class unsatisfied because you will not be able to participate in hands-on exercises that are essential to this course. We strongly urge you to start the course with a system meeting all the requirements specified for the course.

It is critical that you back-up your system before class. It is also strongly advised that you do not use a system storing any sensitive data.

System Hardware Requirements

CPU: 64-bit Intel i5/i7 2.0+ GHz processor: Your system's processor must be a 64-bit Intel i5 or i7 2.0 GHz processor or higher. Your CPU and OS must support a 64-bit guest virtual machine.

  • VMware provides a free tool for Windows that will detect whether or not your host supports 64-bit guest virtual machines.
  • Windows users can use this article to learn more about their CPU and OS capabilities.
  • Apple users can use this support page to learn more information about Mac 64-bit capability. Note: Apple systems using the M1 processor cannot perform the necessary virtualization at this time and cannot be used for this course.

BIOS: Enabled Intel-VT: Intel's VT (VT-x) hardware virtualization technology should be enabled in your system's BIOS or UEFI settings. You must be able to access your system's BIOS throughout the class. If your BIOS is password-protected, you must have the password.

USB: USB 3.0 Type-A port: The USB port must not be locked in hardware or software. Some newer laptops may have only the smaller Type-C ports. In this case, you will need to bring a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter.

RAM: 16 GB RAM: 16 GB RAM is required for the best experience. To verify on Windows 10, press the Windows key + "I" to open Settings, then click "System", then "About". Your RAM information will be toward the bottom of the page. To verify on a Mac, click the Apple logo at the top left-hand corner of your display and then click "About this Mac".

Hard Drive Free Space: 100 GB Free space: 100 GB of FREE space on the hard drive is critical to host the VMs and additional files we distribute. SSD drives are also highly recommended, as they allow virtual machines to run much faster than mechanical hard drives.

Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or macOS 10.12+: Your system must be running either Windows 10 Pro or macOS 10.12 or higher. Make sure your operating system is fully updated with the correct drivers and patches prior to arriving in class. Note: Apple systems using the M1 processor cannot perform the necessary virtualization at this time and cannot be used for this course.

Additional Hardware Requirements

The requirements below are in addition to baseline requirements provided above. Prior to the start of class, you must install virtualization software and meet additional hardware and software requirements as described below. If you do not carefully read and follow these instructions, you will leave the class unsatisfied because you will not be able to participate in hands-on exercises that are essential to this course.

Additional Software Requirements

Microsoft Office: Install Microsoft Office 2013+ with Excel on your host: You can download Office Trial Software free for 30 days.


Credential Guard: If your host computer is running Windows, Credential Guard may interfere with the ability to run VMs. It is important that you start up VMWare prior to class and confirm that virtual machines can run. It is required that Credential Guard be turned off prior to coming to class.

System Configuration Settings

Local Admin: Have an account with local admin privileges. Some of the tools used in the course will require local admin access. This is absolutely required. If your company will not permit this access for the duration of the course, then you should make arrangements to bring a different system.

If you have additional questions about the laptop specifications, please contact

Author Statement

"When I started performing IT and security audits in the 1990s, it was reasonable to ask during an annual engagement 'What has changed since the last time I was here?' My clients could point out physical servers in the data center and tell me what functions were performed by each. We could work for weeks on a software audit without slowing down the development.

"Then came virtualization, agile development, microservices, the cloud, and DevOps. The old ways of measuring security and compliance aren't fast enough for the modern enterprise. SEC557 answers the question 'How can the (manager/auditor/security/compliance professional) possibly keep up?' It teaches you to leverage and integrate with the processes used by your developers and engineers so that you can enforce security and compliance requirements without becoming an obstacle."

Clay Risenhoover

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