Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, AppNeta Blog, William Schmarzo, Sematext Blog

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

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Is Using the Cloud Information Security Suicide for Enterprises?

Connectivity is here to stay and I hope the Sarah Palin hack helps us think about the human elements

The CTO Blog

On the face of it, the apparent hacking of Sarah Palin’s Yahoo mail account may have hurt the cloud’s onward march into enterprise credibility. By using services in the cloud to hold corporate data, as opposed to within our corporate walls, the concern is we are automatically exposing the corporate to additional risk. And it is a concern we must take seriously. But this is far from the full story. Computer hacking is as old as computers, and social engineering as old as, well, people.

With thanks to the head of enterprise architecture of one of the organizations I’m collaborating with for sharing the link, here’s a well written perspective on the hack itself. I’ve also had a couple of colleagues mention, quite rightly, that this high profile event serves as a timely reminder for us to think very carefully about the cloud’s enterprise viability.

The argument often goes that by definition a service in the cloud has ubiquitous potential access for both the authorised and the hackers alike, whereas the corporate network has restricted access (to employees) and so hacking is intrinsically harder.

The reality is somewhat different.

In fact, when you assume any real level of connectivity (and which business can afford not to be connected), the security model of the Web is intrinsically more secure than the security model pre-Web most corporates have in place today – ask your trusted security expert about application centric and moat security compared with document centric and de-perimeterisation security.

Many years ago, the best and brightest security experts figured out that, while there are many levels of security (as they went on to describe in the Orange Book), if you want the best level of security over your data, you have to put your computer in a bunker with cameras recording who uses it and whatever you do you never ever, under any circumstances, connect it to a network.

Back in the mainstream world, the technical aspects aren’t perhaps the most important factors here. The real issue is not with the cloud, it is of course with us, the ‘wetware’.

Let’s flip this around and imagine for a moment you’ve responsibility for information security for your organisation. (Go on, really try it…!)

Imagine it’s your first day in the job and you’re sat in front of a big, horizontal slider control.

It’s the security control for the corporation and it can be set to ‘default deny’ – which means no-one can do anything unless they have explicit permission signed in triplicate and approved by a corporate bureaucracy prized for its ‘beware of the leopard’ signs, or default allow which means anyone can access and share absolutely anything, and everyone is given 24 hour access to a good corporate lawyer.

The slider is set bang in the middle. On the left the label says ‘default deny’, and on the right label says ‘default allow’.

Which way do you move the slider and how far?

This is perhaps one of the toughest decisions faced by corporate and government information security policy makers - just where does security policy start on this security continuum?

What we do know is that too much technical security is as risky as too little – perhaps even more so. When corporate IT takes too much of a default deny stance, people getting on with their jobs tend to find workarounds which unwittingly weaken security.

If you’ve been following events in the UK recently, memory sticks come very much front of mind.

In the end, people tend to behave more responsibly when given more responsibility. And not connecting to the world for a business or government is a non-option. So for me, if I had my hands on the lever, we'd embrace the cloud while sliding the slider to the right. This might sound like information security suicide, but I think it’s the way go.

But wherever you’re at personally in the debate, connectivity is here to stay and I hope the Sarah Palin hack helps us think about the human elements before we get too lost in the technical mist of the cloud.

More Stories By Carl Bate

Carl Bate is Vice President & UK Chief Technology Officer, Capgemini. He contributes to The CTO blog. He is a leading contributor to Capgemini’s thought leadership in business technology and also helps facilitate Capgemini’s IT leadership community - a community of ex-CIOs, CTOs and IT Leaders who’ve personally faced the challenges of IT in business - whose goal is to provide support to executives and their leadership teams. Prior to the CTO role at Capgemini Carl ran its Technology Consulting business (TCG). Bate is co-author of the book ‘Lost in Translation’ - a 5-star rated handbook designed to offer new, practical insights to business and technology leaders seeking to make a step-change difference in addressing the ‘business/IT divide’ – www.LiThandbook.com.

Carl is a fellow of the British Computer Society and chair of its Futures Group.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
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...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...