Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Xenia von Wedel, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

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
"We have seen the evolution of WebRTC right from the starting point to what it has become today, that people are using in real applications," noted Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President and Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy and Ecosystem at GENBAND, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The 3rd International WebRTC Summit, to be held Nov. 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 15th International Cloud Expo, 6th International Big Data Expo, 3rd International DevOps Summit and 2nd Internet of @ThingsExpo. WebRTC (Web-based Real-Time Communication) is an open source project supported by Google, Mozilla and Opera that aims to enable bro...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, 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. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
"In the IoT space we are helping customers, mostly enterprises and industry verticals where time-to-value is critical, and we help them with the ability to do faster insights and actions using our platform so they can transform their business operations," explained Venkat Eswara, VP of Marketing at Vitria, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
To many people, IoT is a buzzword whose value is not understood. Many people think IoT is all about wearables and home automation. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed some incredible game-changing use cases and how they are transforming industries like agriculture, manufacturing, health care, and smart cities. He will discuss cool technologies like smart dust, robotics, smart labels, and much more. Prepare to be blown away with a glimpse of the future.
Connected things, systems and people can provide information to other things, systems and people and initiate actions for each other that result in new service possibilities. By taking a look at the impact of Internet of Things when it transitions to a highly connected services marketplace we can understand how connecting the right “things” and leveraging the right partners can provide enormous impact to your business’ growth and success. In her general session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, discussed how this exciting emergence of layers of...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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 today!
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, 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 results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is corr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fillin...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Infrastructure & Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS) is a managed services provider of cloud computing solutions for the IBM Power Systems market. The company helps mid-market firms built on IBM hardware platforms to deploy new levels of reliable and cost-effective computing and high availability solutions, leveraging the cloud and the benefits of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS...