Two weeks of training and 14 courses available in San Francisco - Mar. 16-27. Save $300 thru 1/22!

SANS 2013

Orlando, FL | Fri, Mar 8 - Fri, Mar 15, 2013
This event is over,
but there are more training opportunities.

SEC524: Cloud Security Fundamentals

Fri, March 8 - Sat, March 9, 2013

I believe this is the best cloud security out there that is extremey well balanced with relevant labs and provides a solid understanding of cloud security risks as more organizations are moving towards cloud.

Srinath Kannan, Accenture

Great outline for cloud security checks & risk assesment.

Cornel Ruston, Cr Associates, LLC

Many organizations today are feeling pressure to reduce IT costs and optimize IT operations. Cloud computing is rapidly emerging as a viable means to create dynamic, rapidly provisioned resources for operating platforms, applications, development environments, storage and backup capabilities, and many more IT functions. A staggering number of security considerations exist that information security professionals need to consider when evaluating the risks of cloud computing.

The first fundamental issue is the loss of hands-on control of system, application, and data security. Many of the existing best practice security controls that infosec professionals have come to rely on are not available in cloud environments, stripped down in many ways, or not able to be controlled by security teams. Security professionals must become heavily involved in the development of contract language and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) when doing business with Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Compliance and auditing concerns are compounded. Control verification and audit reporting within CSP environments may be less in-depth and frequent as audit and security teams require.

The SANS Cloud Security Fundamentals course starts out with a detailed introduction to the various delivery models of cloud computing ranging from Software as a Service (SaaS) to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and everything in between. Each of these delivery models represents an entirely separate set of security conditions to consider, especially when coupled with various cloud types including: public, private, and hybrid. An overview of security issues within each of these models will be covered with in-depth discussions of risks to consider. Attendees will go in-depth on architecture and infrastructure fundamentals for private, public, and hybrid clouds. A wide range of topics will be covered including: patch and configuration management, virtualization security, application security, and change management. Policy, risk assessment, and governance within cloud environments will be covered with recommendations for both internal policies and contract provisions to consider. This path leads to a discussion of compliance and legal concerns. The first day will wrap-up with several fundamental scenarios for students to evaluate.

Attendees will start off the second day with coverage of audits and assessments for cloud environments. The day will include hands-on exercises for students to learn about new models and approaches for performing assessments, as well as evaluating audit and monitoring controls. Next the class will turn to protecting the data itself! New approaches for data encryption, network encryption, key management, and data lifecycle concerns will be covered in-depth. The challenges of identity and access management in cloud environments will be covered. The course will move into disaster recovery and business continuity planning using cloud models and architecture. Intrusion detection and incident response in cloud environments will be covered along with how best to manage these critical security processes and technologies that support them given that most controls are managed by the CSP.

Course Syllabus

Dave Shackleford
Fri Mar 8th, 2013
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

CPE/CMU Credits: 6


Cloud computing introduction

  • Delivery Models: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS)
  • Cloud types (public, private, hybrid)
  • Explaining the Jericho Cloud Cube Model

Security challenges in the cloud

  • Introduction to the topic - Why is this hard?
  • Virtualization and multi-tenancy
  • Risk assessment for cloud migration

Infrastructure security in the cloud

  • Patch and configuration management
  • Change management
  • Network and virtualization security
  • Application security for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS

Policy, risk, and governance for cloud computing

  • Internal policy needs
  • Contract requirements for security
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Governance models for the cloud
  • Risk management

Compliance and legal considerations

  • Compliance challenges for the cloud
  • Legal and geographic jurisdiction
  • Privacy concerns

Dave Shackleford
Sat Mar 9th, 2013
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

CPE/CMU Credits: 6


Audit and assessment for the cloud

  • Auditing the cloud
  • Remote
  • Onsite
  • CloudAudit A6
  • Assessments for the cloud
  • Pen testing the cloud
  • Internal assessments

Data security in the cloud

  • Encryption types and availability
  • Key management and encryption architectures
  • Data/Information lifecycle
  • Retention
  • Disposal
  • Classification

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

  • IAM Architecture and relevance to cloud
  • Authentication and authorization standards
  • Account management and provisioning
  • Federation

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning (DR/BCP) in the cloud

Intrusion detection and incident response

  • Incident detection for different cloud models
  • Managing Intrusion Detection System/ Intrusion Prevention System (IDS/IPS) and alerting
  • The event management feedback loop


Additional Information

Security 524 requires a Windows computer with the following minimum hardware requirements:

  • 1.5GHz 64-bit processor (higher is recommended) 4GB RAM (More memory is highly recommended)
  • 25 GB free hard disk space
  • DVD ROM drive
  • VMware Workstation or Player
  • Wireless network adapter
  • Microsoft Office or OpenOffice and a PDF reader application

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

  • Security personnel who are currently tasked with assessing the technical risks of cloud computing
  • Network and systems administrators who currently manage private clouds or need to leverage hybrid and/or public cloud services
  • Technical auditors and consultants who need to gain a deeper understanding of cloud computing and security concerns
  • Security and IT managers who need to understand the risks of cloud computing and advise business management of the risks and various approaches to cloud computing

Author Statement

The cloud is everywhere! Well, that's what the marketing folks would have us believe, anyway. For security professionals, migrating systems, applications, and data to the cloud presents a new set of challenges to tackle. What kind of policies do we need, and how can we work with legal teams to incorporate language into contracts? How can we protect sensitive data with encryption, intrusion detection and prevention, and host and network access controls? Can we extend identity and access management tools and processes into the cloud?

Fundamentally, the cloud represents a move into environments where security teams are giving up some measure of control over how data and applications are protected. Due to capital and operational cost savings, cloud-based services are becoming more attractive to business and organization leaders, and security teams will need to understand their options when presenting the risks to management. In Cloud Security Fundamentals, our goal is to arm security teams with the knowledge they need to assess risks in moving to the cloud. Managers, auditors, and systems and network administrators will also benefit, as we'll delve into the technologies available for securing cloud-based assets while covering all the policies, processes, and compliance considerations that go along with this major technology shift, as well.

- Dave Shackleford