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Google Announces New Security Tools for Cloud Customers

Google on Wednesday took the wraps off a broad range of tools to help cloud customers secure access to resources and better protect data and applications.

Google on Wednesday took the wraps off a broad range of tools to help cloud customers secure access to resources and better protect data and applications.

To improve security and deliver flexible access to business applications on user devices, Google has introduced context-aware access, which brings elements from BeyondCorp to Google Cloud.

With context-aware access, Google explains that organizations can “define and enforce granular access to GCP APIs, resources, G Suite, and third-party SaaS apps based on a user’s identity, location, and the context of their request.” This should increase security posture and decrease complexity for users, allowing them to log in from anywhere and any device.

The new capabilities are now available for select VPC Service Controls customers and should soon become available for those using Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM), Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy (IAP), and Cloud Identity.

For increased protection against credential theft, Google announced Titan Security Key, “a FIDO security key that includes firmware developed by Google to verify its integrity.” Meant to protect users from the potentially damaging consequences of credential theft, Titan Security Keys are now available to Google Cloud customers and will soon arrive in Google Store.

Also revealed on Wednesday, Shielded VMs were designed to ensure that virtual machines haven’t been tampered with and allow users to monitor and react to any changes in the VM baseline or its current runtime state. Shielded VMs can be easily deployed on websites.

According to Google, organizations running containerized workloads should also ensure that only trusted containers are deployed on Google Kubernetes Engine. For that, the Internet giant announced Binary Authorization, which allows for the enforcing of signature validation when deploying container images.

oming soon to beta, the tool allows for integration with existing CI/CD pipelines “to ensure images are properly built and tested prior to deployment” and can also be combined with Container Registry Vulnerability Scanning to detect vulnerable packages in Ubuntu, Debian and Alpine images before deployment.

Google also announced the beta availability of geo-based access control for Cloud Armor, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) and application defense service. The new capability allows organizations to control access to their services based on the geographic location of the client.

Cloud Armor, however, can also be used for “whitelisting or blocking traffic based on IP addresses, deploying pre-built rules for SQL injection and cross-site scripting, and controlling traffic based on Layer 3-Layer 7 parameters of your choice.”

Cloud HSM, a managed cloud-hosted hardware security module (HSM) service coming soon in beta, allows customers to host encryption keys and perform cryptographic operations in FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified HSMs and to easily protect sensitive workloads without having to manage a HSM cluster.

Courtesy of tight integration with Cloud Key Management Service (KMS), Cloud HSM makes it “simple to create and use keys that are generated and protected in hardware and use it with customer-managed encryption keys (CMEK) integrated services such as BigQuery, Google Compute Engine, Google Cloud Storage and DataProc,” Google says.

Earlier this year, the search company launched Asylo, an open source framework and software development kit (SDK) meant to “protect the confidentiality and integrity of applications and data in a confidential computing environment.”

With Access Transparency, Google logs the activity of Google Cloud Platform administrators who are accessing content. While GCP’s Cloud Audit Logs no longer provide visibility into the actions of administrators when the cloud provider’s Support or Engineering team is engaged, Access Transparency captures “near real-time logs of manual, targeted accesses by either support or engineering.”

Google also announced the investigation tool for G Suite customers, to help identify and act upon security issues within a domain. With this tool, admins can “conduct organization-wide searches across multiple data sources to see which files are being shared externally” and then perform bulk actions on limiting files access.

Google is also making it easier to move G Suite reporting and audit data from the Admin console to Google BigQuery. Furthermore, there are five new container security partner tools in Cloud Security Command Center to help users gain more insight into risks for containers running on Google Kubernetes Engine.

To meet customer requirements on where their data is stored, Google announced data regions for G Suite, a tool that allows G Suite Business and Enterprise customers “to designate the region in which primary data for select G Suite apps is stored when at rest—globally, in the U.S., or in Europe.”

To these, Google adds the Password Alert policy for Chrome Browser, which allows IT admins to “prevent their employees from reusing their corporate password on sites outside of the company’s control, helping guard against account compromise.”

Related: Google Increases Visibility Into Endpoints Accessing G Suite Data

Related: Google Launches “Asylo” Framework for Confidential Computing

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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