Q
Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

How can enterprises secure encrypted traffic from cloud applications?

As enterprises use more cloud applications, they generate more encrypted traffic. Expert Matthew Pascucci discusses the challenges that presents for network security teams.

A recent report found that cloud-based application use is driving up the use of SSL/TLS. What is the correlation...

between the two? Are there any drawbacks that network security teams should be aware of when it comes to increased SSL/TLS traffic?

With many applications being utilized in a SaaS model, it's important to encrypt the traffic between end users and applications. When personal and sensitive data is transferred, processed or stored off local premises, the connections between these points need to be secured.

Many large websites default to SSL/TLS, increasing the encrypted traffic on the internet. This is a plus for data security, but malicious actors can and do take advantage of this encryption with their malware, spoofing and C2 servers. With organizations like Let's Encrypt and Amazon Web Services, attackers use these flexible, well-designed and inexpensive technologies for malicious purposes. It's for this reason that enterprises need to make monitoring of encrypted traffic and decryption appliances mandatory in networks.

The recent increase in SSL/TLS traffic within networks is cause for both delight and concern. The security community has seen the need for encryption, but so have malicious actors. From a network security standpoint, it's important to be cautious when dealing with encrypted traffic. Its use is only going to grow from here, and the majority of internet traffic will move toward end-to-end encryption.

With this increased traffic, network security administrators should look for decryption methods for monitoring and visibility purposes. It's one thing to understand where the traffic is destined to go -- many companies are using this to alert them of known malicious IP addresses -- but it's a completely different thing to have the capability to review the complete packet data for risks outside the source and destination IP addresses.

Including SSL inspection hardware on encrypted traffic at choke points within a network for additional visibility should become a priority. However, doing so will increase overhead, so validate the current resources on the hardware and determine what increase in resources might occur.

Organizations rely on SaaS apps more than ever now, so there needs to be visibility into what's being sent to these third-party providers. Another step organizations can take to increase their data governance around encrypted traffic is to use tools that enable visibility into encrypted traffic, and that also include data loss prevention functions to search for sensitive or malicious data being sent to SaaS apps. Cloud access security brokers are also in a growing field that can help organizations gain insight into their traffic.

When adding SSL inspection to your arsenal of security monitoring, be aware of how your appliance is encrypting outbound data. There were issues in the past with particular proxies re-encrypting the data with lower security standards than organizations were using -- or thought they were using. Also, keep in mind that key management on the certifications being used for inspection should be handled carefully, as to not disrupt traffic during expirations.

Ask the expert:
Want to ask Matt Pascucci a question about security? Submit your question now via email. (All questions are anonymous.)

Next Steps

Find out why HTTPS interception tools weaken TLS security

Learn why the lack of SSL traffic inspection poses a threat to enterprises

Check out the SSL VPN based on open source software

This was last published in September 2017

Dig Deeper on Real-time network monitoring and forensics

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

How does your organization handle the increase in SSL/TLS traffic?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchCloudSecurity

SearchNetworking

SearchCIO

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchCloudComputing

ComputerWeekly.com

Close