Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, ManageEngine IT Matters, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Security vs. Compliance in the Cloud

To codify data security and privacy protection, the industry turns to auditable standards

Security at Cloud Expo

Security is always top of mind for CIOs and CSOs when considering a cloud deployment. An earlier post described the main security challenges companies face in moving applications to the cloud and how CloudSwitch technology simplifies the process. In this post, I’d like to dig a little deeper into cloud security and the standards used to determine compliance.

To codify data security and privacy protection, the industry turns to auditable standards, most notably SAS 70 as well as PCI, HIPAA and ISO 27002. Each one comes with controls in a variety of categories that govern operation of a cloud provider’s data center as well as the applications you want to put there. But what does compliance really mean? For example, is SAS 70 type II good enough for your requirements, or do you need PCI? How can your company evaluate the different security claims and make a sound decision?

SAS 70 (Types I and II)
SAS 70
is a well-known auditing standard that features prominently in many compliance discussions. It encompasses a variety of controls in different categories (physical security, application security, security policies and processes, etc.). SAS 70 is not a specific set of standards; instead service organizations such as cloud providers are responsible for choosing their own controls and the goals those controls intend to achieve. With SAS 70 Type I, an independent auditor evaluates the controls and issues an opinion, while the more coveted Type II is based on at least six months of active data. Accordingly, many providers will state that they are in compliance with Type I, and Type II evaluation is underway.

SAS 70 has some wiggle room, and you have to dig a little deeper to determine what the certification really involves. The savvy cloud customer will want to know not just whether a cloud is SAS 70 Type II compliant, but what controls they selected in order to get there. This is a question that people normally don’t ask, and under SAS 70 guidelines, service providers have no obligation to tell you. Thus, the level of transparency varies. Some providers may be quite willing to share their audit report describing their controls, objectives and methods. Others will explain that the information is confidential and delivering it would expose company secrets. Or some types of control information may be freely available and others off-limits.

PCI (and Its HIPAA Component)
A second major security standard in cloud computing is PCI. As the security standard for Mastercard and Visa, PCI has a known set of required controls, making it inherently more stringent than SAS 70 where controls are determined by the service provider. The inference is that PCI has stronger security than SAS 70 (and can command higher pricing). However this is not cast in stone—it depends on the SAS 70 controls that the service provider has chosen. Due to the more rigid compliance requirements PCI branding is usually harder to achieve than SAS 70. HIPAA is a subset of PCI, which means that if a cloud is PCI compliant, HIPAA compliance comes with it.

Compliance Building Blocks
Regardless of which standard is used, achieving compliance to run an application in a cloud involves building blocks, with the cloud provider’s physical infrastructure providing the foundation. Infrastructure controls include obvious things like protecting the facility from natural disasters, assuring reliable electrical power (such as backup distribution systems) in the event of outages, and backing up data in the event of a hardware failure. They also include controls governing the cloud provider’s processes and policies such as employee authorization to access the data center and how internal security reviews are performed and reported.

Sitting on top of the infrastructure controls is a separate set of application controls. Multiple levels of security are required, for example, the transport media must be secure and data must be encrypted once it leaves the data center with encryption keys under enterprise control. An application might meet SAS 70 or other standards within a company’s data center but not when it’s moved to a cloud because of exposures that may exist there or along the way. Likewise, a SAS 70 TII application in the cloud may not meet the controls if moved back to the enterprise datacenter, and could require a re-audit.

Deploying to the Cloud
There is a difference between compliance standards and what a company needs to feel secure. For data and applications that have regulatory requirements, compliance standards and audits are mandatory. For these types of applications, we’re still in the very early days for cloud computing—let’s face it, no company is going to put critical regulated applications into the cloud without the ability to conduct complete end-to-end audits. However, even for applications that do not require compliance, enterprises want to know that their data and applications are protected. Achieving security in these environments is where CloudSwitch is focused.

Cloud computing creates a division of responsibility between the cloud provider and the cloud customer. While the cloud provider needs to address infrastructure operation and protection, the customer is responsible for ensuring compliance for their application, and ultimately the overall solution. The central idea here is keep the controls separated between the cloud provider infrastructure and the customer application. If the controls mix, where for example the cloud provider has access to stored data, then things get very complicated. When this occurs, you have to worry about who in the cloud provider’s organization has access to your data, how and when they can access it, and how this access is audited and controlled. If the provider is opaque, then you can’t know. Even if the cloud provider is more transparent in their access polices, you have to evaluate those controls against your standards and potentially have to adjust your own controls in response. Further, you have to adjust to all changes in the cloud provider’s processes over time.

By keeping your systems isolated from the cloud provider’s infrastructure, you can minimize this mixing of controls. Placing protection mechanisms into your resources in the cloud can assure that data moving across the cloud provider’s networks and all data stored in their systems is encrypted. Combined with external key storage and management, your applications can be separated from the cloud provider’s infrastructure. This still requires that the cloud provider run its data center with proper physical security, power management, etc, but can greatly enhance the application level security that the enterprise needs. Finally, this separation can simplify the process of achieving compliance at the application level when running in the cloud. This isolation layer can address a number of the data protection controls by providing a uniform and repeatable process for encrypting data.

The days of cloud computing are just beginning, but with the right combination of cloud providers and additional technologies, it’s not too early to start doing real work in the cloud and to reap the benefits of this new computing paradigm. Our early customers are doing it, and so can you.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ellen Rubin

Ellen Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of ClearSky Data, an enterprise storage company that recently raised $27 million in a Series B investment round. She is an experienced entrepreneur with a record in leading strategy, market positioning and go-to- market efforts for fast-growing companies. Most recently, she was co-founder of CloudSwitch, a cloud enablement software company, acquired by Verizon in 2011. Prior to founding CloudSwitch, Ellen was the vice president of marketing at Netezza, where as a member of the early management team, she helped grow the company to more than $130 million in revenues and a successful IPO in 2007. Ellen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning 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 busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri, Inc, a leading provider of enterprise cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Tintri offers an enterprise cloud platform built with public cloud-like web services and RESTful APIs. Organizations use Tintri all-flash storage with scale-out and automation as a foundation for their own clouds – to build agile development environments...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Carbonite will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Carbonite protects your entire IT footprint with the right level of protection for each workload, ensuring lower costs and dependable solutions with DoubleTake and Evault.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...