Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Dave Burlington

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: 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
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and a...
Organizations from small to large are increasingly adopting cloud solutions to deliver essential business services at a much lower cost. According to cyber security experts, the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks are on the rise, causing alarm to businesses and customers across a variety of industries. To defend against exploits like these, a company must adopt a comprehensive security defense strategy that is designed for their business. In 2015, organizations such as United Airlines, Sony...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
To assist customers with legacy Windows Server 2003 that is no longer supported by Microsoft, Racemi has introduced fixed price packages for upgrading and migrating Windows Server 2003 servers to either Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 2012 R2 and the choice of Amazon Web Services (AWS) or SoftLayer cloud. "We're extending a lifeline by upgrading the legacy servers to more modern Windows Server platforms while taking advantage of cloud computing," said James Strayer, vice president of product managem...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and e...
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of tech...
U.S. companies are desperately trying to recruit and hire skilled software engineers and developers, but there is simply not enough quality talent to go around. Tiempo Development is a nearshore software development company. Our headquarters are in AZ, but we are a pioneer and leader in outsourcing to Mexico, based on our three software development centers there. We have a proven process and we are experts at providing our customers with powerful solutions. We transform ideas into reality.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of ...
In 2014, the market witnessed a massive migration to the cloud as enterprises finally overcame their fears of the cloud’s viability, security, etc. Over the past 18 months, AWS, Google and Microsoft have waged an ongoing battle through a wave of price cuts and new features. For IT executives, sorting through all the noise to make the best cloud investment decisions has become daunting. Enterprises can and are moving away from a "one size fits all" cloud approach. The new competitive field has ...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Containers & Microservices Bootcamp, being held November 3-4, 2015, in conjunction with 17th Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, and @DevOpsSummit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This is your chance to get started with the latest technology in the industry. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Containers and Microservices Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, a Microsoft Regional Director, will include presentations as well as hands-on...
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 ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "Second Containers & Microservices Expo" will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Moving an existing on-premise infrastructure into the cloud can be a complex and daunting proposition. It is critical to understand the benefits as well as the challenges associated with either a full or hybrid approach. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Richard Weiss, Principal Consultant at Pythian, will present a roadmap that can be leveraged by any organization to plan, analyze, evaluate and execute on a cloud migration solution. He will review the five major cloud transformation phases a...
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
Amazon and Google have built software-defined data centers (SDDCs) that deliver massively scalable services with great efficiency. Yet, building SDDCs has proven to be a near impossibility for ‘normal’ companies without hyper-scale resources. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, David Cauthron, founder and chief executive officer of Nimboxx, will discuss the evolution of virtualization (hardware, application, memory, storage) and how commodity / open source hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) so...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device acce...
This Enterprise Strategy Group lab validation report of the NEC Express5800/R320 server with Intel® Xeon® processor presents the benefits of 99.999% uptime NEC fault-tolerant servers that lower overall virtualized server total cost of ownership. This report also includes survey data on the significant costs associated with system outages impacting enterprise and web applications. Click Here to Download Report Now!