Whitepaper: The E-WorkBook Cloud
What you need to know about security, business continuity and customer responsibilities of our cloud platform
While some IT personnel worry about information security outside of the enterprise walls, the truth is that vendors of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can provide a much higher level of security than standard enterprise IT infrastructure, alongside the added benefit of data/disaster recovery.
In this whitepaper we outline some useful information demonstrating our commitment to the security, performance and robustness of The E-WorkBook Cloud.
Security, compliance and privacy processes
Because we know how important the security of your data and your IP is, at IDBS, we employ a dedicated security team, and stringent round-the-clock monitoring tools, controls and policies, to ensure we provide the highest levels of security for our customers.
We have taken several steps to prevent the disclosure of your information to unauthorized individuals or systems, including encrypting all traffic between our customers and The E-WorkBook Cloud. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) encrypts all data sent across the internet, and securing the identification of The E-WorkBook Cloud service, via a server certificate, ensures protection from “eavesdroppers” and “man-in-the-middle” attacks. We also use an Oracle system and “object privileges” to prevent unauthorized access of information.
Other steps we have taken include:
- Inbuilt EWB auth, SSO and LDAP.
- Securing all pre-defined Oracle accounts and only giving admin access to a very small number of our own employees.
- Limiting access to our servers to operations and support staff including Oracle Database Administrators (DBAs).
- Investing in automation to reduce the number of individuals required for support and maintenance.
To prevent unauthorized data modification, The E-WorkBook Cloud stores all customer data in an Oracle database. To provide database integrity, user sessions are logged and the identities of all users are recorded.
To prevent service disruptions, our web services partner provides:
- Data Centers and Network Operations Centres (NOC) that are manned 24/7/365.
- A Capacity Management process to ensure the availability of all required resources, such as bandwidth, data center capacity and utilities (power, cooling, etc).
- Firewalls that are managed and protected with a whitelist policy (a list of applications that have been granted permission by the user or an administrator).
Network Traffic Control
Network address spoofing:
Network MAC addresses are dynamically assigned to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances by the AWS network infrastructure. IP addresses are either dynamically assigned by the AWS network infrastructure or statically assigned by an EC2 administrator through authenticated API requests. The AWS network only allows EC2 instances to send traffic from IP and MAC addresses specifically assigned to them, or the traffic will be dropped.
By default, AWS also protects EC2 instances by treating an instance as a standalone network host, not a router or network gateway, and drops any traffic not specifically addressed to the instance.
It is not possible for a virtual instance running in promiscuous mode to receive or sniff traffic that is intended for a different virtual instance. While customers can elect to place their interfaces into promiscuous mode, the hypervisor will not deliver any traffic to an instance that is not addressed to it.
Even two virtual instances that are owned by the same customer located on the same physical host cannot listen to each other’s traffic. Additionally, attacks such as ARP cache poisoning do not work within Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC. While Amazon EC2 does provide ample data protection between customers by default, as a standard practice it is best to always encrypt sensitive traffic.
Remote administrative login on our servers is limited to our own IP address range. To provide additional layers of security:
- We use certificates that secure you as a user for The E-WorkBook Cloud which is connected to The E-WorkBook Cloud service, rather than impersonators.
- We validate all login via The E-WorkBook Cloud authentication, LDAP or SSO.
- All traffic is over SSL/TLS (SHA256 – RSA 2048).
- Password rules can be set to comply with 21 CFR Part 11.
Data Center Security
The center provides several levels of security to ensure only data center Operations Engineers are physically allowed near routers, switches and servers. Public access to each data center is strictly forbidden and controlled.
There is CCTV surveillance of the entire data center building, including entrances and the data center itself. On-site security personnel monitor the data center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Access to the data center is restricted to those who hold a pass card.
Each Availability Zone runs on its own physically distinct, independent infrastructure, and is engineered to be highly reliable. Common points of failures, like generators and cooling equipment. are not shared across Availability Zones. Additionally, they are physically separate, to ensure that uncommon disasters such as fires, tornados or flooding would only affect a single Availability Zone.
Zero Downtime Network
We deploy an N+1 architecture. This means our servers run across two geographically diverse data centers, ensuring there is a power backup in place should any single system component fail. With The IDBS E-WorkBook Cloud, we guarantee your applications will be available 99% of the time. In the event we don’t deliver (which hasn’t happened to date), there are penalties to be paid by us.
Data Center Certifications & Backups
Our data center holds the following certifications: ISO9001, IS027001 (and more ISOs), SOC1, SOC2, SO3. Point in time backups can restore any transaction in last 7 days. This can be extended to 30 days if required.
We deploy an intrusion detection system (IDS) to monitor for known network signatures and utilise machine learning tonmonitor for any unusual network traffic.
We deploy vulnerability scanning software (VSS) to monitor the security patch status of all servers 24/7.
US-EU Safe Harbour
IDBS adheres to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles published by the US Department of Commerce. The principles are designed to ensure the protection of personal data between European Union (EU) countries to the US, preventing accidental information disclosure or loss.
IDBS undertakes regular security audits and maintains records relating to its data protection practices and the security of any of customer’s confidential information.
With a long track record, spanning more than a decade, in operating to internationally recognized standards we ensure our products and services meet or exceed both our and our customers’ needs and expectations.
We understand that having both internal and external surveillance of our working practices and controls is highly valued, both when considering IDBS as a supplier and afterwards, long after you have purchased our products and services. We know that our compliance with these standards de-risks your work with IDBS and helps enable the use of our products and services in managing regulated data, whether you choose to use our cloud-based services or use our products in your own installations.
The management systems cover quality (ISO 9001) and information security (ISO 27001). TickITplus lays out requirements for the IT sector that supplements standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 27001. While ISO 9001 is a generic standard for any business, TickITplus assures, for example, that IDBS process outcomes comply with those expected of a business providing software products and services.
The scope of our certifications include our principal development center in Guildford, UK that encompasses E-WorkBook, ActivityBase, Connect, and others. It also includes all corporate data management and IT systems. Importantly, it includes the provision of our cloud-based (SaaS) solutions and Software Development Lifecycle, including secure software development. All 114 controls of ISO 27001 Annex A are implemented as drawn out in the company’s statement of applicability.
Continuous Security Monitoring
IDBS uses a number of intrusion detection systems (IDS) to identify malicious traffic attempting to access its networks. Through the use of these systems, any unauthorized attempts to access the data center are blocked, and unauthorized connection attempts are logged and subsequently investigated.
The enterprise-grade anti-virus software IDBS uses guards against trojans, worms, viruses and other malware from adversely affecting the software and applications.
Complete Separation of Duties
At IDBS, job responsibilities are separated and mandatory employee background checks are employed at all levels of operations. The principle of least authority (POLA) is followed and employees are only given access to the level of privileges necessary to undertake their duties.
Managed Physical Access
As the cloud provider for the IDBS SaaS platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is responsible for protecting the global infrastructure that runs all of the services offered in the AWS Cloud. This infrastructure includes the hardware, software, networking, and facilities that run AWS services.
We also provide 24/7/365 support and monitoring to secure the availability of The E-WorkBook Cloud.
All layers of the IDBS platform implement multiple levels of redundancy – meaning components of the platform are duplicated, and ensuring backups are always available.
With this design, elements can ‘fail’, without any interruption to the service our customers receive. This is made possible by having multiple, redundant systems online to automatically assume processing on behalf of any failed component.
The IDBS platform has data mirrored in data centers across several locations. Data is replicated and synchronized to the other data centers through a replication mechanism. If, for any reason, the primary data center fails, all operations pass to the secondary data center. This procedure is automated, but can also be activated manually.
IDBS has designed its systems to accommodate surges and spikes in usage, and to scale upward dynamically to address increased volume and transactions.
Service Level Commitment
We guarantee a 99% uptime (outside the scheduled service windows) for the IDBS production platform for all our customers. We have consistently averaged an uptime of 99.99% and provide customers with a publicly available webpage that displays the system status at all times.
World Class Hosting Operations Team
We have a global team of dedicated hosting operations personnel with decades of experience running large Cloud and SaaS business applications demanding high performance and high availability. This team proactively monitors the health of the entire system with industry-leading alert and trend-based tools designed to identify and resolve events before they impact the live site. This team provides 24/7 coverage to respond to any incident with automated recovery procedures.
Redundant Internet Connections
All IDBS systems have multiple network connections, each providing a minimum 450Mbps connection. This ensures reliable connectivity and maximum uptime with no single-point data transmission bottlenecks to, or from, the data center. Additionally, each data center has a number of 500Mbps connections for data replication.
Scalable Application Architecture
The IDBS platform application runs on a three-tiered architecture. All three tiers – web, application, and database – are horizontally scalable.
IDBS invests heavily in performance at every layer. This includes a dedicated performance team of developers and database administrators, who proactively verify application performance benchmarks and tune the application for maximum performance.
High Performance Databases
IDBS runs on high-performance database server hardware with multiple cores and maximum RAM configuration. IDBS production database servers run exclusively on solid state drive (SSD) storage ensuring the fastest possible database performance available in the industry.
Safeguarding of Assets and Information
To help safeguard information assets available in the IDBS platform, the IT governance processes of customers should include end-user training, to ensure awareness of the need for both secure access and secure account credentials.
Like most cloud services, access to the IDBS platform requires a login ID and password. When an organization subscribes to our platform, it is the customer’s responsibility to manage which end users should be given access. It is also the customer’s responsibility to ensures access is removed from end users, when appropriate – for example, if an individual leaves the organization, or a change of roles and responsibilities following a restructure. Only valid account credentials should be used by authorized users to access the IDBS platform.
The IDBS platform should be considered sensitive and confidential by all platform users, and users should follow information best practices to ensure their account credentials are secure – ensuring that the platform’s information and is protected and restricted from unauthorized use.
IDBS platform users are responsible for maintaining the security and confidentiality of their user credentials (e.g., login ID and password), and are responsible for all activities and uses performed under their account credentials, whether authorized by them or not.
Cloud-based services are accessible to the global internet public. As a result, great care must be exercised by IDBS platform users in protecting their subscriptions against unauthorized access and use of their credentials.
To safeguard the platform’s security, user credential information – such as passwords or user identification information – should not be shared to any unauthorized person.
Process for Reporting Operation Issues
Should the platform experience any problems, such service outages for example, users should contact IDBS immediately. Proactive reporting enables us to address any issues quickly, benefitting the whole IDBS platform community.
Incident and Breach
Users of the platform are expected to notify IDBS immediately of any security incident, including any suspected or confirmed breach of security. At the end of each session, users are expected to log out and exit the system, to provide further protection against unauthorized use and intrusion.
Users should also notify IDBS immediately if they observe any activity that may indicate the accounts of other IDBS customers have been compromised.
We encourage users to practice responsible disclosure by notifying IDBS of any identified security vulnerabilities. We are dedicated to providing secure services to clients, and will assess all reported security vulnerabilities and make fixes where required.
With regulatory requirements and industry mandates continuously increasing in scope and depth, platform users are expected to abide by the regulatory requirements, industry mandates, and other compliance requirements imposed on their organizations. They are also expected to understand that the use of cloud-based services does not exclude them from responsibilities for restricting access to application information and functionality.