Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Michelle Drolet, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: 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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.