Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Security

Cloud Expo: Article

Dynamic Cloud Security: Test Driving the Benefits

Cloud security represents a spectrum of capabilities that you can tailor to your needs

Many IT organizations assume that security risks increase with a shift to cloud computing. The reality, however, is not so clear-cut. In fact, many of these same organizations will be surprised to learn that adopting cloud operating models with appropriate governance and security controls can actually reduce the level of risk relative to their current IT environments. Here's why:

IT professionals frequently develop unwarranted security concerns regarding cloud computing primarily because cloud environments are dynamic and enable new levels of workload portability that are very different from what they're familiar with. In cloud environments, application workloads can be moved to totally different physical infrastructure or service providers from one deployment to the next. The underlying application data can move even more frequently, depending on the type of instance and persistent storage options you've selected.

This means your security boundaries have to be dynamic too. They have to move with the workload and the data, and self-configure themselves in new environments in a consistent and automated manner.

Taking Cloud Security for a Spin
A simple analogy can be made between securing cloud workloads and securing a car. When you park your car in your home garage, typically you just close the garage door and that's it. You assume your car is safe inside your garage along with your other belongings, so you typically don't worry about locking your car doors or taking other precautions.

However, when you park your car somewhere else, you typically lock the doors to secure it. There are several ways you can do this. The door locks could be activated by a remote, a keypad on the door, or the proximity of an RFID tag in the key fob. You may decide to upgrade your security by adding a factory alarm system, steering wheel lock, LOJACK tracking system, or other security system depending on the car's value. Finally, you can also decide where to park your car depending upon your risk tolerance. For example, you may accept your favorite restaurant's offer of valet parking in a monitored lot instead parking down a secluded street.

The point is that you can create a portable security boundary around your car that can be equal to or even more secure than your garage. Cloud security is similar in concept where portable cloud workloads offer a wide range of options to establish a very effective portable security boundary. In fact, cloud workload security has an additional important benefit over the car analogy, which is that security configurations can be completely automated and policy-driven. Using the car analogy, this means you no longer have to worry about forgetting to lock your door or arming your alarm system in the parking lot, because the car will automatically do it for you.

Under the Hood: Cloud Security Options
This new approach to securing a moving workload is a big departure for many IT groups that are used to working in more static and controlled environments (similar to the home garage). These IT groups are used to working with physical data center infrastructure, traditional firewalls, mostly static networks, and familiar resources that they own and control. The idea of moving workloads in and out of new environments they don't control is a big concern, especially knowing they've expended tremendous time and attention manually configuring their own environment.

However, today a broad range of proven technologies can deliver consistent, automated security for portable cloud workloads. They include virtual private networks, encrypted data storage, host intrusion detection systems, hypervisor-based firewalls, and federated identity management systems. These systems can complement each other to provide an end-to-end security solution that encompasses instances, data, network, and role-based access as desired.

Importantly, these systems can be automatically enforced through security policies that essentially eliminate the risk of human configuration errors (e.g., forgetting to lock the car doors). In other words, you can design a customized level of security into each of your cloud workloads from the beginning, so that they consistently and automatically establish the desired security boundary conditions each and every time they are deployed. These security policies are designed to be abstracted above the cloud implementation layer, and can be enforced across multiple heterogeneous cloud deployment environments.

Benefits That Extend Beyond Security
This leads to important business benefits that extend beyond the typical risk mitigation aspects of providing security. By automating end-to-end security configuration, you can make significant gains in reducing workload provisioning and deployment time. Depending on your current security processes, this can make a very significant impact on improving business agility. Typically, the upfront investment to initially create automated security policies gets paid back in dividends many times over by automating enforcement and enabling more rapid deployment. You can also significantly reduce the complexity of managing and changing your security rules over time since policies can be enforced broadly or fine-grain across your organization, and modifications take effect right away.

Although securing cloud workloads is important, it doesn't stop there. You'll also need to revisit the people, processes, and management systems used to govern workload deployments. Insufficient control over who can provision a workload, where it can be deployed, for how long, and at what cost or capacity can be a recipe for disaster, even if the workload itself is secure. Beyond obvious cost and capacity management concerns are additional risks associated with regulatory violations and inadvertently deploying assets to the wrong environment.

Governance Rides Shotgun
For these reasons, cloud security and cloud governance need to work hand-in-hand. Enterprise cloud governance often gets complicated very quickly due to the many-to-many relationships that exist among workloads, user groups, deployment environments, departmental usage policies, industry regulations, geographic restrictions, and other attributes that exist in a large enterprise. As a result, policy-driven governance platforms are critical to managing and controlling all these permutations in a transparent and automated manner.

Effective governance requires several key capabilities, including a policy framework that is extensible, so that organizations can customize their own industry- or company-specific policies when needed. It also requires a governance platform integrated with your cloud provisioning and implementation layer, so that governance is consistent and enforceable across all of your workloads and all of your internal and external cloud environments.

Tackling the Security Challenge
Addressing cloud security is an important milestone you'll face as you embark on your cloud strategy. At times, security challenges may seem too complex or insurmountable, so here are a few tips to help make those initial projects more manageable.

First, realize that cloud security represents a spectrum of capabilities that you can tailor to your needs. You probably don't want to implement all of it right away, so screen initial projects and workloads based on security sensitivity and their target cloud deployment environments to lower the initial security risks and requirements.

Also realize that there's a broad range of cloud tradeoffs you can make to lower your risk/security exposure in exchange for partial sacrifices in economic and agility benefits in the short term. For example, some organizations set up their first external private clouds at their current hosting providers with dedicated hardware in a locked cage using an existing dedicated network link. This approach may cost a bit more, but you can start with this conservative security approach and still prove out aspects of your cloud operating model while building trust and security experience over time at a comfortable pace.

More Stories By Derick Townsend

Derick Townsend, VP of Product Marketing for ServiceMesh, has nearly 20 years of marketing experience across a wide range of high tech products and services. Prior to ServiceMesh, Derick led marketing for enterprise software startups including iTKO (acquired by CA) and Webify (acquired by IBM). While at IBM, he was responsible for Business Process Management marketing and messaging across IBM’s Software Group. He also held key sales, marketing, and technical roles in other companies including United Technologies, Sterling Information Group, Momentum SI, and HotLink Incorporated which he also co-founded. Derick holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and an engineering degree from the University of Arizona.

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.


@CloudExpo Stories
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, will outline key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + Elasti...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals,...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has dem...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named "Gold Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic network...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
Cloudwick, the leading big data DevOps service and solution provider to the Fortune 1000, announced Big Loop, its multi-vendor operations platform. Cloudwick Big Loop creates greater collaboration between Fortune 1000 IT staff, developers and their database management systems as well as big data vendors. This allows customers to comprehensively manage and oversee their entire infrastructure, which leads to more successful production cluster operations, and scale-out. Cloudwick Big Loop supports ...
To manage complex web services with lots of calls to the cloud, many businesses have invested in Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) tools. Together APM and NPM tools are essential aids in improving a business’s infrastructure required to support an effective web experience… but they are missing a critical component – Internet visibility. Internet connectivity has always played a role in customer access to web presence, but in the past few years use...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation...
What are the benefits of using an enterprise-grade orchestration platform? In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Tegethoff, CEO of Appcore, and Kedar Poduri, Senior Director of Product Management at Citrix Systems, will take a closer look at the architectural design factors needed to support diverse workloads and how to run these workloads efficiently as a service provider. They will also discuss how to deploy private cloud environments in 15 minutes or less.
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Bitium was founded by Kriz and Erik Gustavson. The 1,500 cloud-based application using Bitium’s analytics, app management, and single sign-on services include bug trackers, customer service dashboards, Google Apps, and social networks. The firm states website administrators can do multiple tasks online without revealing passwords. Bitium’s advisors include Microsoft’s former CMO and the former senior vice president of strategy, the founder and CEO of Li...