Cloud computing has modified the IT industry as services can be deployed instantly with the help of IT infrastructure solutions. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud are some reliable and popular cloud computing solutions these days. One can create or change the entire structure of a computing resource in cloud computing service models with only a click of a button. These service models include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). While conducting cloud forensic investigations, these models provide particular challenges.
What is Digital Forensics?
The method of detecting, conserving, analyzing, noting, and presenting evidence in a digital mode is known as digital forensics. These steps are essential for collecting and presenting the evidence when required. Digital forensic science is a part of forensic science that concentrates on investigating and collecting information detected in digital devices related to hacking and cyberattacks. Many national policies made on digital forensics have boosted the growth of the IT infrastructure consultancy firms that help with digital forensics.
Steps in Digital Forensics
Digital Forensics involves the following steps:
- Identification: The evidence is initially found on a device, and its storage location is recorded.
- Preservation: The evidence is carefully isolated and protected in the same way as it was discovered to prevent any tampering with it.
- Analysis: Evidence is correlated, and the conclusion is drawn from the evidence collected.
- Documentation: A record of all the data is created and compared to replicate the crime in devices.
- Presentation: Ultimately, the observation is recapitulated and concluded.
Digital Forensics for Security of Cloud by IT Infrastructure Consultancy
Cyber hackers are increasingly targeting the cloud computing environment, and new and unique security challenges emerge daily. To address the difficulties related to the security of digital data, digital forensic processes are integrated with the remote servers of the cloud, introducing a new term known as ‘Cloud Forensics.’
Cloud Forensics is the utilization of digital forensic science in cloud computing. Technically, it is a hybrid forensic approach for generating digital evidence. It also involves communication among cloud actors, organizationally, such as the cloud provider, cloud broker, cloud consumer, cloud carrier, and auditor, for expediting both internal and external investigations. It implies multi-tenant conditions legally. IT infrastructure solutions are provided by organizations assisting cloud forensics.
Cloud Computing Service Models
The owner is in charge of all the services, starting from networking tools to the application itself in the case of traditional IT infrastructure consultancy services. Cloud computing offers IT infrastructure solutions, such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
IaaS – In this category of cloud computing, the owner is partly in charge of the operating system, middleware, applications, runtime, and data. The cloud provider deploys the operating system, the hardware, networking equipment, and storage for the customer.
PaaS – The owner is responsible for data and applications but not for the significant cloud infrastructure, including servers, network, storage, and operating systems.
SaaS – It is an all-inclusive hosting environment where the owner supplies the application to the provider and is managed and hosted by the cloud service provider.
Cloud Computing And Digital Forensics
Digital forensic problems associated with cloud computing are multi-tenancy, jurisdiction, and dependency on CSPs. As mentioned above, cloud forensics is a component of digital forensics having a distinct approach to investigating the cloud environments—CSPs host customer data on servers worldwide.
In the case of a cyberattack, legal jurisdiction and regional laws provide distinguished challenges. In the contemporary CSP environments, the customer can select the region where the data can be stored, and it should be carefully chosen.
In cloud computing, data can be present anywhere globally, even outside of the law enforcing jurisdiction. Cloud forensics blends the realities of cloud computing with digital forensics, which concentrates on gathering data from a cloud environment. Investigators have to work with multiple computing assets, storage devices, applications, networks, etc.
A primary concern for an investigator is to ensure that no modifications have been made to the digital evidence by the third parties to make it admissible in court. In the service models of PaaS and SaaS, customers should rely on the cloud service providers for accessing logs as they do not possess control over any hardware. In some instances, CSPs sometimes prevent the customers from viewing the details of the logs intentionally. In other cases, according to CSP policies, they cannot provide services to gather logs.
Maintaining a custody chain is very difficult in a cloud environment compared to a traditional forensic environment. In the case of a traditional forensic environment, the internal security team has power over who conducts operations on forensics on a machine. However, in cloud forensics, the security team possesses no control over who collects the information from the CSP. If the training is not as per forensic standards, the custody chain may not hold in the court.
Atlas Systems is one such IT infrastructure consultancy that helps companies collect, investigate, and analyze digital data and helps with data forensics. For more information, visit our website.