Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, OpenStack Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Governance Must Drive All Security Initiatives... Even Cloud

Risk is not unique to the cloud and transcends technology

“The ‘how’ may change, but the ‘what’ is fundamental to risk management.”

I heard these sage words at a recent ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) meeting from a CIO speaking about security from the cloud.

He continued, “Risk is not unique to the cloud. It experiences the same issues that affect any outsourcing or third party deliverable. It is bounded by the same concerns regarding governance—does it meet the requirements of my industry? Is my data free from co-mingling? Are the proper notification protocols in place?”

Do a Google search on “cloud security” and the first entry is “How secure is the cloud?” True professionals know the argument is not about technology or how security is delivered, but rather one of governance. You need to know exactly who HAS access to what resources and if these levels of access are appropriate. You need to know who IS accessing resources, and if they don’t have the proper credentials, you need to be notified immediately to take further preventive action. You need know that protocols for compliance are in place and routinely and successfully generate the reporting for periodic audits. You need to know your rights, liabilities (SLA) for any application or service acquired and that they conform to your risk management practices.

The key asset in all this is data. Data is stored in many forms, via many servers and applications across the enterprise and it is processed and accessed in just as many ways. Effective governance is the ability to have a centralized map of all these information roads and create certain controlled access points, road blocks (encryption), privileged private lanes/public highways…in short, governance is about accountability.

This then becomes an internal process; making sure you have the identity management rules and capabilities in place, making sure the access management provisioning is set. Ensuring you employ the means to view it under a single pane of glass (unified security) in order to make the necessary decisions to better secure the data. You must have context and historical perspective.  The chief component to governance is visibility. And any first course of action would be to enhance existing visibility.

Governance is a critical challenge. Not every “whizz bang” development (be it cloud application or nifty BYOD device) will be able to meet a particular organization’s governance standards. It is up to the CIO or CSO’s due diligence to understand all the implications on how the deployment will affect the holistic enterprise. What liabilities are exposed? What vulnerability gaps does it close? How could it impact user productivity versus potential risks? The answer will not be the same for every company. However, dismissing cloud out of hand is not only faulty and outdated logic, but can restrict the organization from responsible growth.

“When cloud computing is treated as a governance initiative, with broad stakeholder engagement and well-planned risk management activities, it can bring tremendous value to an enterprise," said Emil D'Angelo, CISA, CISM, international president of ISACA and founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance.

This extends to the functions and capabilities of managing security from the cloud (cloud-based security) as well. When due diligence is done, a CIO will have a clear idea of an initiative’s risk versus return and whether a cloud security deployment meets the individual requirements of the company. And, with all things being equal in terms of control, compliance and reach, then the significant benefits of the cloud and its affordability, scalability and agility make it a wise investment. But cost savings should not be the first line of acceptance (although he TCO and ROI are considerable). Any security solution must first prove it is up to the task of preserving IP, upholding all aspects of regulatory compliance and keeping sensitive data sacrosanct.

To gain this level of governance visibility, it potentially incorporates several solution sets that need to work in harmony and do so in real time. It needs to connect (and put into proper context) certification, policies, roles and requests. For example, seeing who has accessed a certain application gives you historical perspective, but, what if it is a retired account or tries using a decommissioned password? If you know within moments of its occurrence, you can trace the attempt and prevent further breaches. Or if a partner accesses certain parts of your database to which they are entitled, but quadruples their order in the dead of night to be shipped to Phnom Penh? Or through an open back door, a “customer” can see and download other clients Tax ID numbers. There are literally thousands of scenarios by which leveraging the cooperative functionality of IDM, AM, SIEM and Log Management creates not only the holistic visibility to drive governance policies, but offers significant barriers to keep the IT enterprise safer.

Security is just as much about weighing the risk/return scenarios as it is bolting the castle door against the enemy.  Cloud security (and to a greater extent, a unified security initiative from the cloud) can be the effective, flexible and strong enterprise balance for prevention and audit. The challenge facing most security teams, therefore, is to provide line-of-business users with the access they need while ensuring that the access is appropriate and does not expose the enterprise to unnecessary business risk. But first you must ensure visibility--and when you know where all your data is and all the multiple ways that it is available, then you can best manage the policies, roles, and security functions that best connects your requirements.


Kevin Nikkhoo
Governor of the Cloud!

More Stories By Kevin Nikkhoo

With more than 32 years of experience in information technology, and an extensive and successful entrepreneurial background, Kevin Nikkhoo is the CEO of the dynamic security-as-a-service startup Cloud Access. CloudAccess is at the forefront of the latest evolution of IT asset protection--the cloud.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from McGill University, Master of Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California with emphasis in entrepreneurial studies.

@CloudExpo Stories
As-a-service models offer huge opportunities, but also complicate security. It may seem that the easiest way to migrate to a new architectural model is to let others, experts in their field, do the work. This has given rise to many as-a-service models throughout the industry and across the entire technology stack, from software to infrastructure. While this has unlocked huge opportunities to accelerate the deployment of new capabilities or increase economic efficiencies within an organization, i...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes –...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete en...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Key Information Systems, Inc. (KeyInfo), a leading cloud and infrastructure provider offering integrated solutions to enterprises, 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. Key Information Systems is a leading regional systems integrator with world-class compute, storage and networking solutions and professional services for the most advanced softwa...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innov...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
Redis is not only the fastest database, but it has become the most popular among the new wave of applications running in containers. Redis speeds up just about every data interaction between your users or operational systems. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Dave Nielsen, Developer Relations at Redis Labs, will share the functions and data structures used to solve everyday use cases that are driving Redis' popularity