|By Mark O'Neill||
|December 13, 2009 09:45 PM EST||
Risk Management at Cloud Expo
The ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) released the Cloud Computing Risk Assessment document.
The document does well by including a focus on SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) because, as the report says, "Given the reduced cost and flexibility it brings, a migration to cloud computing is compelling for many SMEs".
Three initial standout items for me are:
1. The document's stated Risk Number One is Lock-In. "This makes it extremely difficult for a customer to migrate from one provider to another, or to migrate data and services to or from an in-house IT environment. Furthermore, cloud providers may have an incentive to prevent (directly or indirectly) the portability of their customers services and data."
Remember that the document identified SMEs as a major market for cloud computing. What can they do about the lock-in? Let's see what the document says:
The document identifies SaaS lock-in:
Customer data is typically stored in a custom database schema designed by the SaaS provider. Most SaaS providers offer API calls to read (and thereby ‘export’) data records. However, if the provider does not offer a readymade data ‘export’ routine, the customer will need to develop a program to extract their data and write it to file ready for import to another provider. It should be noted that there are few formal agreements on the structure of business records (e.g., a customer record at one SaaS provider may have different fields than at another provider), although there are common underlying file formats for the export and import of data, e.g., XML. The new provider can normally help with this work at a negotiated cost. However, if the data is to be brought back in-house, the customer will need to write import routines that take care of any required data mapping unless the CP offers such a routine. As customers will evaluate this aspect before making important migration decisions, it is in the long-term business interest of CPs to make data portability as easy, complete and cost-effective as possible.
And what about PaaS Lock-In?:
PaaS lock-in occurs at both the API layer (ie, platform specific API calls) and at the component level. For example, the PaaS provider may offer a highly efficient back-end data store. Not only must the customer develop code using the custom APIs offered by the provider, but they must also code data access routines in a way that is compatible with the back-end data store. This code will not necessarily be portable across PaaS providers, even if a seemingly compatible API is offered, as the data access model may be different (e.g., relational v hashing).
In each case, the ENISA document says that the customer must develop code to get around the lock-in, in order to bridge APIs and to bridge data formats. However, SME's generally do not have developers on staff to write this code. "Writing code" is not usually an option for an SME. I know - I worked for an EDI service provider who serviced SMEs in Europe - we would provide the code development services for the SMEs when they needed data transformation done at the client side.
But there is another answer. This bridging is the job of a Cloud Service Broker. The Cloud Service Broker addresses the cloud lock-in problem head-on by bridging APIs and bridging data formats (which, as the ENISA document mentions, are often XML). It is unreasonable to expect an SME to write custom code to bridge together cloud APIs when an off-the-shelf Cloud Service Broker can do the job for them with no coding involved, while providing value-added services such as monitoring the cloud provider's availability, encrypting data before it goes up to the cloud provider, and scanning data for privacy leaks. Read the Cloud Service Broker White Paper here.
2. "Customers should not be tempted to use custom implementations of authentication, authorisation and accounting (AAA) as these can become weak if not properly implemented."
Yes! Totally agree. There is already a tendency to look at Amazon's HMAC-signature-over-QueryString authentication scheme and implement a similar scheme which is similar but not exactly like it. For example, an organization may decide "Let's do like Amazon do and make sure all incoming REST requests to our PaaS service are signed by a trusted client using HMAC authentication", but omit to include any timestamp in the signed data. I can certainly imagine this, because this would happen all the time in the SOA / Web Services world (an organization would decide "Let's make sure requests are signed using XML Signature by trusted clients", but leave the system open to a simple capture-replay attack). Cloud PaaS providers should not make these same mistakes.
3. STRIDE and DREAD
Lastly, the document's approach of examining the system in terms of data-at-rest and data-in-motion, identifying risks at each point (such as information disclosure, eavesdropping, or Denial-of-Service), then applying a probability and impact to the risks, is very reminiscent of the "STRIDE and DREAD" model. However I do not see the STRIDE and DREAD model mentioned anywhere in the document. I know it's a bit long in the tooth now, and finessed a bit since the initial book, but it's still a good approach. It would have been worth mentioning here, since it's clearly an inspiration.
"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.
Dec. 6, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 795
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.
Dec. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 1,188
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Dec. 6, 2016 12:30 AM EST Reads: 4,566
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...
Dec. 6, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 848
"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.
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 PM EST Reads: 1,050
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 08:45 PM EST Reads: 491
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...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,224
@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.
Dec. 5, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 2,087
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 5,052
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 389
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...
Dec. 5, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,610
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.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 2,062
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 867
"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.
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 4,257
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 384
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...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 1,607
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 693
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...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 3,292
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.
Dec. 5, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,216
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...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 1,713