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Google Cloud Platform Security: The Basics

The Google Cloud Platform offers security features for your data. This Google Cloud Platform Security blog post will cover the basics of how to secure your GCP account and what types of security are available. 

We will also explore some advanced features that can be enabled on certain GCP resources, such as using authentication tokens to restrict access or encrypting private keys at rest.

What is Google Cloud Security?

Google Cloud Security is a suite of tools that help you to secure your GCP resources. 

This includes protecting data at rest and in transit, as well as identity management for users accessing those resources.

First, let’s take a look at the specifics of securing Google Compute Engine (GCE) instances. 

Securing Your Instances

Many customers choose their VMs to have public IP addresses so they can be reached from the Internet.

But this comes with some trade-offs: it allows anyone on the internet access to these servers without any additional authentication needed!

For this reason, we recommend using Google Cloud Load Balancers instead if external endpoints need to reach into an instance or a VM needs out connectivity towards other services outside of Google Cloud.

Securing Your Instances With Firewall Rules

Firewalls are rules you can define for incoming and outgoing network connections on a given VM instance. 

You define which ports are open to receive these connections using TCP, UDP, SCTP, SSL, or any combination thereof, along with their protocols. 

Once defined, these rules allow only specific external users access into your VMs while still maintaining connectivity between themselves through private IP addresses not visible from outside Google Cloud Platform’s virtualization layer!

How is Google’s Cloud Infrastructure Secured?

Google Cloud Platform takes security very seriously. 

Here are a few of the ways they have implemented security measures in order to keep our customers’ data secure:

a). Authenticated access

All user access is authenticated and authorized by Google’s identity services, leveraging existing Active Directory directories or single sign-on solutions like OpenID Connect (OIDC). 

b). Full encryption

Data stored on disks is fully encrypted at rest using AES 256 encryption with Local Redundancy Encryption (LRE) protection for zones within a multi-regional location. 

For example;

If your disk was replicated between the us-central region and Europe-west, it would be automatically protected from both sides! 

c). Use of LTFS 

Disk snapshots use LTFS technology that encrypts all data before writing to disk and decrypts it at reading time. 

Storage options such as Google Cloud Storage (GCS) and BigQuery use LTFS technology that encrypts all data before writing to disk and decrypts it at reading time.

Google uses these advanced security measures to protect its infrastructure, which in turn protects your private information: 

  • Authentication keys
  • Customer-sensitive application code and any other sensitive information you store on Google’s infrastructure are encrypted both in transit over the internet via TLS / SSL.

As well as when stored at rest using 256-bit AES encryption with Local Redundancy Encryption protection for zones within a multi-regional location. 

Google Cloud Platform Security Tools

1). Google Cloud Security Scanner 

If you are using GCP, the Google Cloud Platform Security Scanner can be very helpful to identify potential security vulnerabilities in your environment.

It allows for scanning both internal and external interfaces of a Virtual Machine instance or an entire project against over 200 different vulnerability signatures that exist within Google’s infrastructure itself. 

The results will show if any open ports have been identified via manual TCP/UDP port scans performed by our engineers across all major regions where we host data centers

Any services found running on these ports may indicate an improperly configured firewall rule! 

Running this scanner is free, but it does require some configuration before use, including creating a service account with specific roles expressed in JSON format which are required by the tool when making API calls into GCP.

If you would like to use this tool for your own environment, a great resource is an official documentation provided on GitHub: Google Cloud Security Scanner Documentation.

2). Google Cloud KMS –  Cloud Key Management Service

Cloud KMS is a managed key management service that allows you to create and control encryption keys for your cloud services within the Google Cloud Platform. 

It can be used in conjunction with several GCP features, including BigQuery, DataStore, SQL databases, as well as custom applications built on the platform. 

You simply load any data you would like to encrypt into BigTable or Datastore using either a JSON representation of an object via REST API calls or by providing a set of parameters through the Python SDK library – which automatically generates the correct JSON format based on their names!

3). Google Access Transparency  

This is another one of the most useful Google Cloud Platform security tools.

Google Access Transparency provides a detailed audit log for all access to Google Cloud Platform products and services. 

This includes identity authentication, timestamping of each action taken in the system, IP address information related to these actions, and so on. 

The entire history is stored within BigQuery, which allows you to both run ad-hoc reports as well as set up automated queries that can be triggered when new data is added into this dataset e.g., by using webhooks!

4). The Cloud Security Command Center (Cloud SCC)

The Google Cloud Platform Security Command center is a security operations and incident management system that allows you to manage all aspects of your cloud infrastructure. 

This includes the ability to set thresholds for monitoring, alerts when those thresholds are exceeded or certain events occur within GCP, as well as enabling real-time logging and analysis capabilities based on these conditions. 

For example;

If an API call fails with a 500 error code – which indicates an internal service error such as out of memory condition somewhere in our servers – then sending an email notification would be one way we could receive this information!


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