Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Jonathan Fries, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Craig Lowell, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security Panel

Got cloud Security?

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download or view the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Welcome to a special sponsored podcast discussion coming from The Open Group’s 23rd Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference in Toronto. This podcast, part of a series from the July 2009 event, centers on cloud computing security.

Much of the cloud security debate revolves around perceptions. ... For some cloud security is seeing the risk glass as half-full or half empty. Yet security in general takes on a different emphasis as services are mixed and matched from a variety of internal and external sources.

So will applying conventional security approaches and best practices be enough for low-risk, high-reward, cloud computing adoption? Most importantly, how do companies know when they are prepared to begin adopting cloud practices without undo security risks?

Here to help better understand the perils and promises of adopting cloud approaches securely, we welcome our panel: Glenn Brunette, distinguished engineer and chief security architect at Sun Microsystems and founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA); Doug Howard, chief strategy officer of Perimeter eSecurity and president of USA.NET; Chris Hoff, technical adviser at CSA and director of Cloud and Virtualization Solutions at Cisco Systems; Dr. Richard Reiner, CEO of Enomaly; and Tim Grance, program manager for cyber and network security at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The discussion is moderated by me, BriefingsDirect's Dana Gardner.

Here are some excerpts:

Reiner: There are security concerns to cloud computing. Relative to the security concerns in the ideal enterprise mode of operation, there is some good systematic risk analysis to model the threats that might impinge upon this particular application and the data it processes, and then to assess the suitability of different environments for potential deployment of that stuff.

There are a lot more question marks around today's generation of public-cloud services, generally speaking, than there are around the internal computing platforms that enterprises can use. So it's easier to answer those questions. It's not to say the answers are necessarily better or different, but the questions are easier to answer with respect to the internal systems, just because there are more decades of operating experience, there is more established audit practice, and there is a pretty good sense of what's going to be acceptable in one regulatory framework or another.

Howard: The first thing that you need to know is, "Am I going to be able to deliver a service the same way I deliver it today at minimum? Is the user experience going to be, at minimum, the same that I am delivering today?"

Because if I can't deliver, and it's a degradation of where my starting point is, then that will be a negative experience for the customers. Then, the next question is, obviously, is it secured as a business continuity? Are all those things and where that actual application resides completely transparent to the end user?

Brunette: Is cloud computing more or less secure than client-server? I don't think so. I don't think it is either more or less secured. Ultimately, it comes down to the applications you want to run and the severity or criticality of these applications, whether you want to expose them in a shared virtualized infrastructure.

... When you start looking at the cloud usage patterns and the different models, you're going to see that governance does not end at your organization's border. You're going to need to understand the policies, the processes, and the governance model of the cloud providers.

It's going to be important that we have a degree of transparency and compliance out in the cloud in a way that can be easily consumed and integrated back into an organization.

Hoff: One of the interesting notions of how cloud computing alters the business case and use models really comes down to a lot of pressure combined with the economics today. Somebody, a CIO or a CEO, goes home and is able to fire up their Web browser, connect to a service we all know and love, get their email, enjoy a robust Internet experience that is pretty much seamless, and just works.

Then, they show up on Monday morning and they get the traditional, "That particular component is down. That doesn't work. This is intrusive. I've got 47,000 security controls that I don't understand. You keep asking for more money."

Grance: Cloud has a vast potential to cause a disintermediation, just like in power and other kinds of industries. I think it may run eventually through some of these consulting companies, because you won't be able to get as rich off of consulting for that.

In the meantime, I think you're going to have ... people simply just roll their own [security]. Here's my magic set of controls. It may not be all of them. It may just be a few of them. I think people will shop around for those answers, but I think the marketplace will punish them.

Howard: ... If you look at a lot of the cloud providers, we tend, in many cases, to fight some standards, because, in reality, we want to have competitive differentiators in the marketplace. Sometimes, standards and interoperability are key ones, sometimes standards create a lack of our ability to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.

However, on the security side, I that's one of the key areas that you definitely can get the cloud providers behind, because, if we have 10,000 clients, the last thing we want is to have enough people sitting around taking the individual request of all the audits that are coming in from those customers.

... So, to put standards behind those types of efforts is an absolute requirement in the industry to make it scalable, not just beyond the infrastructure, performance, availability, and all those things, but actually from a cost perspective of people supporting and delivering these services in the marketplace.

Brunette: ... One of the other things I'd point out is that, it's not just about the cloud providers and the cloud consumers, but there are also other opportunities for other vendors to get into the fray here.

One of the things that I've been a strong proponent of is, for example, OS vendors producing better, more secured, hardened versions of their operating systems that can be deployed and that are measurable against some standard, whether a benchmark from the Center for Internet Security, or FDCC in the commercial or in the federal space.

You may also have the opportunity of third parties to develop security-hardened stacks. So, you'd be able to have a LAMP stack, a Drupal stack, an Oracle stack, or whatever you might want to deploy, which has been really vetted by the vendor for supportability, security, performance, and all of these things. Then, everyone benefits, because you don't all have to go out there and develop your own.

Howard: ... At the end of the day, if you develop and you deliver a service ... and the user experience is positive, they're going to stay with the service.

On the flip side, if somebody tries to go the cheap way and ultimately delivers a service that has not got that high availability, has got problems, is not secure, and they have breaches, and they have outages, eventually that company is going to go out of business. Therefore, it's your task right now to figure out who are the real players, and does it matter if it's an Oracle database, SQL database, or MySQL database underneath, as long as it's meeting the performance requirements that you have.

Unfortunately, right now, because everything is relatively new, you will have to ask all the questions and be comfortable that those answers are going to deliver the quality of service that you want. Over time, on the flip side, it will play out and the real players will be the real players at the end of the day.

Hoff: ... It [also] depends on what you pay for it, and I think that's a very interesting demarcation point. There is a service provider today who doesn’t charge me anything for getting things like mail and uploading my documents, and they have a favorite tag line, “Hey, it’s always in beta.” So the changes that you might get could be that the service is no longer available. Even with enterprise versions of them, what you expect could also change.

... In the construct of SaaS, can that provider do a better job than you can, Mr. Enterprise, in running that particular application?

This comes down to an issue of scale. More specifically, what I mean by that is, if you take a typical large enterprise with thousands of applications, which they have to defend, safeguard, and govern, and you compare them to a provider that manages what, in essence, equates to one application, comparing apples to elephants is a pretty unreasonable thing, but it’s done daily.

What’s funny about that is that, if you take a one-to-one comparison with that enterprise that is just running that one application with the supporting infrastructure, my argument would be that you may be able to get just as good as, perhaps even better, performance than the SaaS provider. It’s when you get to the point of where you define scale, it's on the consumer side or number of apps you provide where that question gets interesting.

... What happens then when I end up having 50 or 60 cloud providers, each running a specific instance of these applications. Now, I've squeezed the balloon. Instead of managing my infrastructure, I'm managing a bunch of other guys who I hope are doing a good job managing theirs. We are transferring responsibility, but not accountability, and they are two very different things.

Brunette: ... In almost every case, the cloud providers can hide all of that complexity, but it gives them a lot more flexibility in terms of which technology is right for their underlying application. But, I do believe that over time they will have a very strong value proposition. It will be more on the services that they expose and provide than the underlying technology.

Hoff: ... The reality is, portability and interoperability are going to be really nailed to firstly define workload, express the security requirements attached to that workload, and then be able to have providers attest in the long-term in a marketplace.

I think we called it "the Intercloud," a way where you go through service brokers or do direct interchange with this type of standards and protocols to say, “Look I need this stuff. Can you supply these resources that meet these requirements? “No? Well, then I go somewhere else.”

Some of that is autonomic, some of it’s automated, and some of it will be manual. But, that's all predicated, in my opinion, upon building standards that lets us exchange that information between parties.

Reiner: I don't think anyone would disagree that learning how to apply audit standards to the cloud environment is something that takes time and will happen over time. We probably are not in a situation where we need yet another audit standard. What we need is a community of audit practices to evolve and to mature to the point where there is a good consensus of opinion about what constitutes an appropriate control in a cloud environment.

Brunette: As Chris said, it comes down to open standards. It's important that you are able to get your data out of a cloud provider. It's just as important that you need to have a standard representation of that data, something that can be read by your own applications, if you want to bring it back in house, and something that you can use with another provider, if you decide go that route.

Grance: I'm going to out on a limb and say that NIST is in favor of open, voluntary consensus, but data representation and APIs are early places where people can start. I do want to say important things about open standards. I want to be cautious about how much we specify too early, because there is a real ability to over specify early and do things really badly.

So it's finding that magic spot, but I think it begins with data representation and APIs. Some of these areas will start with best practices and then evolve into these things, but again the marketplace will ultimately speak to this. We convey our requirements in clear and pristine fashion, but put the procurement forces behind that, and you will begin to get the standards that you need.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download or view the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...