The Tar Pit of CSPM

It’s been a little less than five years since I moved from a media production cloud nerd to a cloud security nerd. As I ponder what I’m going to do next, I want to reflect on some of the things I got right and some that didn’t work out as expected.

SECCDC 2022 - The Rise of Fooli

The Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is an annual competition where eight teams from various colleges have to defend their systems from Red Team attacks while also executing on management-type business challenges. This is my second year helping Kennesaw State University run the SECCDC in AWS. This year we not only ran the Regional competition on-site at KSU, but we also hosted 26 teams for the preliminary round. In previous years the scenario was HALCORP, a fictional company that did nothing but generate compliance paperwork.

SES to Slack

As part of my work setting up free domains in Google, I realized I needed a way to receive email. My normal process for getting emails on secondary domains I own was to add them as a User Alias Domain attached to However, for these Google Cloud Identity domains I couldn’t do that. A domain can’t be both it’s own Cloud Identity domain, and a User Alias Domain. So I started experimenting with AWS SES.

Creating your first GCP Organization

Note: this is the first in what I hope will become a series of GCP Security 101 posts. Most cloud governance or cloud security folks have never created a Google Organization from scratch. Typically you come into an organization that has already implemented some form of Google. Most likely, that implementation was organic. There was no planning, no design, it’s was just there. I’ve also found that cloud engineers typically only have access to https://console.

re:Invent 2021 Recap

Last week was re:Invent. It was great to be back in Vegas, and I loath Vegas. The crowds this year were smaller, which meant I could typically get into whatever session I wanted to. However it still took forever to get from Wynn, to Venetian, to Caesar’s to Mirage (where I was staying). I probably walked as much last week as I did during the entire pandemic. The Expo floor was smaller, but it didn’t seem smaller.

pre:Invent 2021

Welcome to the American Thanksgiving holiday, which for us cloud peeps is the quiet period between pre:Invent and re:Invent. Traditionally the run up to AWS re:Invent is chock full of feature releases (and some product releases) that don’t merit mention in Andy Adam’s or Werner’s keynotes. Last year I was busy with a new job, hiring a new team, and helping to launch a streaming service. This year I have another new job (same company, new role), and did have time.

AWS Organizations - Checklist for 2021

It’s 2021, time to revisit what you should do when setting up a new AWS Organization from scratch. I last visited this topic in January of 2017, but recently I needed to spawn a new org from a single account for the SECCCDC Links will go to blog posts I’ve written or AWS announcements. If I say “(cft)", the link will take you to a CloudFormation template to automate the task.

Revisiting Macie

What is Macie? Amazon’s marketing describes Macie as: Amazon Macie automates the discovery of sensitive data at scale and lowers the cost of protecting your data. Macie automatically provides an inventory of Amazon S3 buckets including a list of unencrypted buckets, publicly accessible buckets, and buckets shared with AWS accounts outside those you have defined in AWS Organizations. Then, Macie applies machine learning and pattern matching techniques to the buckets you select to identify and alert you to sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII).