The digital forensics landscape is undergoing a monumental shift. Gone are the days of dusty, on-premise labs limited by hardware and outdated workflows. Enter the era of cloud-powered investigations. This shift to cloud-based solutions in digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) is part of a wider trend, but required a number of innovations to make it a reality due to the unique challenges of DFIR.
This blog explores how to transition your forensic lab to the cloud, highlighting the benefits and steps involved in the process.
The Cost and Speed of a Forensic Lab in the Cloud is Better Than On-Prem
Cloud solutions like Cado Security are often more cost-effective than traditional on-premise labs. With cloud computing, you pay for what you use, avoiding the capital expenditure of purchasing and maintaining physical infrastructure. This pay-as-you-go model makes it easier to manage budgets and allocate resources more efficiently. You can use features such as S3 Glacier, to store large quantities of data in a redundant manner at low-cost, and use built-in data lifecycle policies to migrate data as needed.
But – doing so though requires automated management of both processing and data, or you risk paying for resources you don’t need.
Security Benefits, If Done Right
Security is a paramount concern for forensic labs, and moving to the cloud shouldn’t compromise it. In fact, cloud-based solutions can enhance security measures in several ways. But it does require a careful assessment of how the cloud forensic lab will be deployed, and what security measures are in place.
The suggestions below are not exhaustive, but they are a good starting point.
- Physical Risk Mitigation: Moving to the cloud reduces risks like lost, damaged or even intentionally wiped disks in transit.
- Authentication and Security: Use Single Sign-On authentication such as Okta, and services such as Active Directory, to centrally manage the access of users.
- Encryption and Compliance: Utilize encryption settings for both storage and volumes, and deploy in specific locations such as Germany for regulatory compliance, or GovCloud and equivalents for government data.
- Advanced IAM: When done right, enhanced access control in the cloud can offer more fine-grained access control than traditional on-prem offerings.
Additionally, there are several security benefits specific to Cado Security:
- Control Over Data: By default, Cado deploys into your cloud environment (AWS, Azure, GCP) rather than SaaS – offering you control over your data.
- High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Cloud environments offer robust availability and recovery options, securing critical data and services against disruptions. Cado security offers a high-availability option, and can be deployed in multiple availability zones for disaster recovery.
- Handling Air-Gapped Systems: Cado Security facilitates analysis of air-gapped systems despite being cloud-hosted, thanks to offline collection with Cado Host.
- Audit Logs and Investigation: Cado Security records comprehensive audit logs and allows investigation into events like S3 access and AWS CloudTrail. Event and access logs are much harder to tamper with than registries in a physical forensic lab, enhancing the integrity of your investigations.
Why Cado is the Cloud-Forensics Leader
Cado Security stands out as the leading choice for cloud-native digital forensics. Here’s why:
- True Cloud-Native Design: Cloud-native doesn’t mean just installing on a Windows VM in the cloud like you would on-prem. It means it’s designed to work with the cloud, taking full advantage of its features.
- Global Accessibility: Cado Security is accessed through your web browser, eliminating the need for local installations. This accessibility allows team members to access resources and collaborate from any location.
- Automatic Scaling: Cado Security automatically scales workers up and down based on demand, eliminating the need for manual resource management. This ensures that your lab always has the necessary computational power to process data efficiently.
- Comprehensive Data Processing: Cado Security can process a wide range of data types, including disk images collected from various sources. It offers unparalleled deep-dive forensics for containers and serverless deployments, making it the go-to choice for modern, cloud-native investigations. This means you can investigate breaches that move from on-prem to cloud, without needing to switch tools.
Moving your forensic lab to the cloud is a strategic decision that can significantly enhance your operational efficiency, scalability, and response times. If you’re considering this transformative step for your forensic lab, Cado Security can guide and support you through this journey.