University of California SEC510 | October 2021

Online, Virtual Event Mon, Oct 18 - Fri, Oct 22, 2021

Welcome to SEC510: Public Cloud Security: AWS, Azure, and GCP

Instructor: Eric Johnson | 38 CPEs
Associated Certification: GIAC Public Cloud Security (GPCS)

SEC510: Public Cloud Security: AWS, Azure, and GCP is an in-depth analysis of the security of managed services for the Big 3 cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Students will leave the course confident that they have the knowledge they need when adopting services and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings in each cloud.

Students will launch unhardened services, analyze the security configuration, validate that they are insufficiently secure, deploy patches, and validate the remediation.

This Course Will Prepare You To: 

  • Understand the inner workings of cloud services and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings in order to make more informed decisions in the cloud
  • Understand the design philosophies that undergird each provider and how these have influenced their services in order to properly prescribe security solutions for them
  • Discover the unfortunate truth that many cloud services are adopted before their security controls are fully fleshed out
  • Understand Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in depth.
  • Understand the intricacies of Identity and Access Management, one of the most fundamental concepts in the cloud and yet one of the last understood
  • Understand cloud networking and how locking it down is a critical aspect of defense-in-depth in the cloud
  • Analyze how each provider handles encryption at rest and in transit in order to prevent sensitive data loss
  • Explore the service offering landscape to discover what is driving the adoption of multiple cloud platforms and to assess the security of services at the bleeding edge
  • Understand the complex connections between cloud accounts, providers, and on-premise systems and the cloud
  • Perform secure data migration to and from the cloud
  • Understand Terraform Infrastructure-as-Code well enough to share it with your engineering team as a starting point for implementing the controls discussed in the course

Pricing & Registration

This course is part of the SANS Partnership Program. Students affiliated with an eligible institution* may enroll in this course at a discounted rate of $2810. To receive this rate, enter the appropriate discount code when registering. All registrations using a code will be audited to confirm that they are eligible to receive the discounted rate. GPCS Certification 849 USD | OnDemand 849 USD This class is LIVE ONLINE, please click on the blue "Register Now" button below. If you are affiliated with a Partnership-eligible institution enter discount code 69915-OL to receive your Partnership pricing! *Eligible institutions include US and Canada-based educational Institutions (any accredited educational institution, including colleges, universities, technical training institutes and K-12 schools) and any US state or local government agency.

What you will Learn

Multiple Clouds Require Multiple Solutions

SEC510: Public Cloud Security: AWS, Azure, and GCP teaches you how the major cloud providers work and how to securely configure and use their services and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.

Organizations in every sector are increasingly adopting cloud offerings to build their online presence. However, although cloud providers are responsible for the security of the cloud, their customers are responsible for what they do in the cloud. Unfortunately, the providers have made the customer?s job difficult by offering many services that are insecure by default. Worse yet, with each provider offering hundreds of different services and with many organizations opting to use multiple providers, security teams need a deep understanding of the underlying details of the different services in order to lock them down. As the landscape rapidly evolves and development teams eagerly adopt the next big thing, security is constantly playing catch-up in order to avert disaster.

SEC510 provides cloud security practitioners, analysts, and researchers with an in-depth understanding of the inner workings of the most popular public cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Students will learn industry-renowned standards and methodologies, such as the MITRE ATT&CK Cloud Matrix and CIS Cloud Benchmarks, then apply that knowledge in hands-on exercises to assess a modern web application that leverages the cloud native offerings of each provider. Through this process students will learn the philosophies that undergird each provider and how these have influenced their services.

The Big 3 cloud providers alone provide more services than any one company can consume. As security professionals, it can be tempting to limit what the developers use to the tried-and-true solutions of yesteryear. Unfortunately, this approach will inevitably fail as the product development organization sidelines a security entity that is unwilling to change. Functionality drives adoption, not security, and if a team discovers a service offering that can help get its product to market quicker than the competition, it can and should use it. SEC510 gives you the ability to provide relevant and modern guidance and guardrails to these teams to enable them to move both quickly and safely.

SEC510 also offers students an opportunity to participate in CloudWars Bonus Challenges each day in a gamified environment, while also providing more hands-on experience with the cloud security and relevant tools.


  • As of May 10, 2021, SEC510 will have extended lab hours on Sections 1-4, running 8 hours per section. Section 5 runs for 6 hours.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) accounts are needed in order to do the hands-on exercises during this course. Students must create their cloud accounts prior to the start of class. See Laptop Requirements below for details.


SEC510: Public Cloud Security: AWS, Azure, and GCP consolidates all of the concepts discussed in the lectures through hands-on labs. In the labs, students will assess a modern web application written with Next.js, React, and Sequelize that leverages the cloud native offerings of each provider. Each lab includes step-by-step guide as well as a ?no hints? option for students who want to test their skills without further assistance. This allows students to choose the level of difficulty that is best for them and fall back to the step-by-step guide as needed.


  • Printed and Electronic courseware
  • MP3 audio files of the course
  • Course virtual machine (VM) with all lab exercises that can be redone outside of class
  • Thousands of lines of Infrastructure-as-Code for each cloud platform that you can use at your organization

Although SEC510 uses Terraform Infrastructure-as-Code to deploy and configure services in each cloud for the labs, students will not need in-depth knowledge of Terraform or need to understand any of the syntax used. However, students will be introduced at a high level to what this code accomplishes.

Course Syllabus

SEC510.1: Cloud Credential Management

Mon Oct 18th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


SEC510 starts with a brief overview of the Big 3 cloud providers. We will examine the factors driving adoption of multiple cloud providers and the rise in popularity of Azure and GCP, which historically have lagged far behind AWS. Students will then initialize their lab environment and deploy a modern web application to each of the Big 3 providers.

This leads into an analysis of the intricacies of Identity and Access Management (IAM), one of the most fundamental and misunderstood concepts in cloud security. Playing the role of an attacker in their lab environment, students will compromise real IAM credentials using application vulnerabilities and then use them to access sensitive data.

The remainder of this section will focus on how to leverage well-written IAM policies to minimize the damage caused by such attacks. Although the ultimate solution is to fix the bug in the application, these strategies can prevent a minor incident from becoming front-page news.

  • VM Credential Exposure
  • Hardening AWS IAM Policies
  • Hardening Azure and GCP Policies
  • Advanced IAM Features
  • CloudWars (Section 1): Public Cloud Security DevOps Challenges

The Multicloud Movement

  • Cloud Market Trends
  • Multicloud Considerations
  • Shadow Cloud Accounts

Multicloud Security Assessment

  • MITRE ATT&CK Cloud Matrix
  • Lab Environment Introduction
  • HashiCorp Terraform Overview

Identity and Access Management

  • Identities
  • Policies
  • Organization-Wide Controls
  • Azure Active Directory

Cloud Credential Management

  • Cloud Instance Metadata APIs
  • Credential Management Postmortems (Case Studies)

Application Vulnerability Overviews

  • Overly Permissive Permissions
  • Command Injection
  • Server-Side Request Forgery
  • Supply-Chain Attacks

SEC510.2: Cloud Virtual Networks

Tue Oct 19th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Section 2 covers how to lock down infrastructure within a virtual private network. As the public cloud IP address blocks are well known and default network security is often lax, millions of sensitive assets are unnecessarily accessible to the public Internet. This section will ensure that none of these assets belong to your organization.

The section begins by demonstrating how ingress and egress traffic can be restricted within each provider. Students will analyze the damage that can be done without these controls by accessing a public-facing database and creating a reverse shell session in each environment. We will then eliminate both attack vectors with secure cloud configuration.

In addition to introducing additional network defense-in-depth mechanisms, we will discuss cloud-based intrusion detection capabilities to address the network-based attacks we cannot eliminate. Students will analyze cloud traffic and search for indicators of compromise.

  • Network Lockdown
  • Analyzing Network Traffic
  • Private Endpoint Security
  • Cloud VPN and Managed SSH
  • CloudWars (Section 2): Public Cloud Security DevOps Challenges

Cloud Virtual Networks

  • Network Service Scanning
  • Default Network Configuration
  • Network Security Groups

Network Traffic Analysis

  • Flow Logging
  • Traffic Mirroring

Private Endpoints

  • AWS PrivateLink
  • Azure Private Link
  • GCP VPC Service Controls

Advanced Remote Access

  • Managed SSH
  • Hybrid VPN Gateway
  • Session Manager
  • Hybrid VPN Gateway

Command and Control Servers

  • Reverse Shells

SEC510.3: Cloud Encryption, Storage, and Logging

Wed Oct 20th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


The first half of Section 3 covers all topics related to encryption in the cloud. Students will learn about each provider?s cryptographic key solution and how it can be used to encrypt data at rest. Students will also learn how end-to-end, in-transit encryption is performed in the cloud, such as the encryption between clients, load balancers, applications, and database servers.

Proper encryption is not only critical for security; it is also an important legal and compliance consideration. This section will ensure that your organization has all of the information at its disposal to send the auditors packing.

The second half of Section 3 covers storing data in the cloud, defense-in-depth mechanisms, access logging, filesystem persistence, and more.

  • Audit Decryption Events
  • Encrypt All The Things!
  • Storage Service Lockdown
  • Unauthorized File Sharing
  • CloudWars (Section 3): Public Cloud Security DevOps Challenges

Cloud Key Management

  • Azure Key Vault
  • Google Cloud KMS

Encryption with Cloud Services

  • Disk-Level Encryption
  • Record-Level Encryption
  • In-Transit Encryption
  • End-to-End Encryption Considerations

Cloud Storage Platforms

  • Access Control
  • Audit Logs
  • Data Retention

Data Exfiltration Paths

SEC510.4: Serverless Platforms

Thu Oct 21st, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


This course section tackles the ever-changing trends in technology by providing in-depth coverage of a paradigm taking the industry by storm: Serverless. It balances the discussion of the challenges serverless introduces with the advantages it provides in securing product development and security operations.

The first half of the section covers serverless cloud functions in AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions. After introspecting the serverless runtime environments using Serverless Prey (a popular open-source tool written by the course authors), students will examine and harden practical serverless functions in a real environment.

The second half of the course section covers App Services, which often interplay with cloud functions. The section concludes with a detailed analysis of Firebase, an application platform with serverless offerings that has been loosely integrated with the Google Cloud Platform since its acquisition by Google in 2014.

  • Serverless Prey
  • Hardening Serverless Functions
  • App Service Security
  • Firebase Access Control
  • CloudWars (Section 4): Public Cloud Security DevOps Challenges

Cloud Serverless Functions

  • Security Advantages
  • Function as a Service Defense

Persistence with Serverless

App Services

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Azure App Service
  • Google App Engine


  • Realtime Database
  • Cloud Firestore
  • Authentication

SEC510.5: Cross-Account and Cross-Cloud Assessment

Fri Oct 22nd, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


The course concludes with practical guidance on how to operate an organization across multiple cloud accounts and providers. Many of the topics discussed in the earlier course sections are significantly complicated when moving from a single account to multiple accounts, as well as when the providers are integrated with each other. We begin by discussing how using multiple accounts and clouds changes Identity and Access Management (IAM).

No discussion of secure user identity management would be complete without mentioning Single Sign-On (SSO). With it, members of an organization can use the same credential set to sign onto a variety of applications. When a member leaves the organization, an administrator can terminate their all of their access with a single command. Section 5?s second half covers each cloud?s native SSO solution, how AWS SSO is key for managing multiple AWS accounts, and each cloud?s end-user identification service.

We conclude by introducing tools and services that can be used to automate compliance checks against the benchmarks we have covered throughout the course. This includes open-source solutions as well as cloud-based security services. With these capabilities, an organization can take the lessons learned in SEC510 and apply them at scale.

  • Multicloud Integration
  • Login with Azure AD
  • Automated Benchmarking
  • Lab Teardown
  • CloudWars (Section 5): Public Cloud Security DevOps Challenges

Multicloud Access Management

Cloud Single Sign-On

  • Microsoft Identity Platform and Azure AD
  • Google Cloud Identity

End-User Identity Management

  • Amazon Cognito User Pools
  • Microsoft Identity Platform and Azure AD B2C
  • Google CICP and Firebase Authentication

Automated Benchmarking

  • AWS Security Hub
  • Azure Security Center
  • GCP Security Command Center
  • Open-Source Solutions


Additional Resources


Courses that are prerequisites for SEC510:

SEC488: Cloud Security Essentials

For those looking to prepare ahead of time, check out the Terraform Getting Started Guide: https://learn.hashicorp.com/terraform/getting-started/install

Lab Requirements


Please plan to arrive 30 minutes early before your first session for lab preparation and setup. During this time, students can confirm that each cloud account is properly set up, ensure that laptops have virtualization enabled, copy the lab files, and start the Linux virtual machine. For students taking the course Live Online, the instructor will be available to assist them with laptop prep and setup 30 minutes prior to the start of the course.

Mandatory: Students must bring their own AWS, Azure, and GCP accounts to complete the exercises. Please ensure that you have done the following before class starts:

Amazon Web Services

  1. Register for a personal free-tier account.
  2. Activate your new account.
  3. Log in to the AWS Console with your root account.
  4. Browse to the EC2 Service and verify that you see the dashboard (not an activation screen).
  5. In the top right-hand corner of the page, select ?U.S. East (Northern Virginia).?
  6. From the left navigation bar, select "Limits."
  7. Verify that you have at least 10vCPUs for On-Demand Standard (A, C, D, H, I, M, R, T, Z) instances.
  8. If your limits are less than 10 vCPUs, please start by creating a new t2.micro instance. Creating a new instance often causes the limits to increase automatically. If your limits do not automatically increase (wait 30 minutes to check again), open a ticket with the AWS support team to request an increase. More details can be found in the AWS EC2 Service Limits documentation.

Microsoft Azure

  1. Browse to the Azure Portal
  2. Register for a personal 12-month free account

Google Cloud Platform

  1. Create a Google account
  2. Sign up for a GCP free trial


A properly configured system is required for each student participating in this course. Before starting the course, carefully read and follow these instructions exactly:

  • Download and install VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion on your system prior to the start of the class.
  • If you own a licensed copy of VMware, make sure it is at least VMware Workstation Pro 15+, VMware Fusion 11+.
  • If you do not own a licensed copy of VMware, download a free 30-day trial copy from VMware. VMware will send you a time-limited serial number if you register for the trial on its website.

Mandatory Host Hardware Requirements

  • CPU: 64-bit 2.5+ GHz multi-core processor or higher
  • BIOS/UEFI: VT-x, AMD-V, or the equivalent must be enabled in the BIOS/UEFI
  • Hard Disk: Solid-State Drive (SSD) is MANDATORY with 50GB of free disk space minimum
  • Memory: 16GB of RAM or higher is mandatory for this class (IMPORTANT! 16GB of RAM is MANDATORY)
  • Working USB 2.0 or higher port
  • Wireless Ethernet 802.11 B/G/N/AC
  • Local Administrator Access within your host operating system

Mandatory Host Operating System Requirements

You must use a 64-bit laptop with one of the following operating systems that have been verified to be compatible with course VMware image:

  • Windows (8 or 10)
  • Mac OS X (Catalina, Mojave)

Mandatory Software Requirements

Prior to class, ensure that the following software is installed on the host operating system:

  • VMware Workstation Pro 15+, VMware Fusion 11+
  • Zip File Utility (7Zip or the built-in operating system zip utility)

Mandatory Cloud Account Requirements

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) accounts are needed in order to do the hands-on exercises during this course. Students must create their cloud accounts prior to the start of class. Your ability to execute the hands-on exercises will be delayed if you wait to set up the accounts during a live class.
  • These cloud accounts will incur additional fees from platform usage. The estimated cost for running the lab environment is roughly $25 for the 5-day course.
  • If you are taking OnDemand, accommodations for the lab environment have been made to avoid costs incurred for several months. The courseware will go into this in detail.

In summary, before beginning the course you should:

  • Have a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD), 8 GB of RAM, and a 64-bit operating system.
  • Install VMware (Workstation or Fusion).
  • Windows Only: Verify that the BIOS settings have the Intel VT virtualization extensions enabled.
  • Download the SEC510 Lab Setup Instructions and Course Media from your sans.org account.
  • Register a NEW AWS account prior to the start of the class at https://aws.amazon.com/.
  • Register a NEW Azure account prior to the start of class at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/.
  • Register a NEW GCP free-tier account prior to the start of class at https://console.cloud.google.com/freetrial.

If you have additional questions about the laptop specifications, please contact laptop_prep@sans.org.