If you want to take the turmoil out of cloud-based cybersecurity forensics, consider these 13 hard-won lessons:
- Remember the first rule of coding: Self-document the code and create documentation on its proper usage.
- A publicly facing SFTP server will accommodate customer uploads with a sufficiently tweaked SFTP engine, but your chosen VM can dramatically influence the maximum throughput and IO. Consider automated hashing, logging and analyst notification, and upload into engagement-specific object storage for a read-only, evidentiary copy. Then take the pipeline further and automatically process artifacts into a format readily suitable for analyst consumption.
- Note that by default, rerunning a template deployment will not alter existing resources including VMs.
- Write your scripts assuming they’ll run multiple times. If you are concatenating text to a file, you may end up with those entries added many times.
- Write error-check routines to avoid errors from unexpected inputs or unsuccessful API calls.
- Generate system logging from your function calls, but omit sensitive information.
- Over time, try to use the console only as a means of learning how to generate the same result using your code. Strive for 99 percent automated deployment.
- For multiple cloud vendors, write functions to address each vendor; your main code can stay generic. For example, object storage permission request, VM build, and public-IP generation.
- Regularly check-in your code to provide a revision history. GitHub is the most popular, and end users of the IaC can simply "git pull" for all updates.
- Keep in mind that Azure AD can accommodate your IAM needs on all operating systems, but utilize multi-factor authentication on all accounts.
- Like Chef and Puppet for system management, Salt can perform post-provisioning setup and ongoing maintenance for Windows® and Linux™.
- Native cloud services can perform regular patch updates paired with graphical dashboards.
- See tip 1. Your deployment admins need one level of detail; analysts need a second.
With a management-supported, cloud-developer-nurtured solution, your IR team can grow to have an extensible solution to fit the modern age.
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Want cloud-based forensics with less turmoil? Here are the top tech tips.
The first of this three-part blog series about how to implement and get the most from cloud-based cybersecurity forensics