Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Miguel Valdes Faura, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, John Savageau

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

The Mounting Case for Cloud Access Brokers

Addressing the need for flexible control of access to off-premise applications

Unifying identity and access management has been a stretch goal for IT for nearly a decade. At first it was merely the need to have a single, authoritative source of corporate identity such that risks like orphaned or unauthorized accounts could be addressed within the enterprise.

But with a growing number of applications - business applications - being deployed "in the cloud", it's practically a foregone conclusion that organizations are going to need similar capabilities for those applications, as well.

It's not easy, there are myriad reasons why unifying identity and access control is a stretch goal and not something easily addressed by simply deploying a solution. Federation of identity and access control requires integration. It may require modification of applications. It may require architectural changes.

All of these are disruptive and, ultimately, costly. But the costs of not addressing the issue are likely higher.

Security a Rising Concern for Cloud-Based Application Usage

With access to these applications taking place from a variety of locations including smartphones (80 percent),tablets (71 percent) and non-company computers (80 percent) and with a large percentage of organizations (73 percent) needing to grant temporary access to cloud apps, respondents cited concerns around identity management, governance and complexity.

...

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the respondents said they have the need to provide external users, such as consultants, with temporary access to the company’s cloud applications, while just under half (48 percent) of respondents said they are still not able to sign in to cloud applications with a single set of credentials. [emphasis mine]

There is a significant loss of control - in terms of governance - that's occurring, where the organization no longer has the means by which they can control who has access to applications, from what device or location, and when. That's the downside of cloud, of distributed systems that are not architected with security in mind.

Make no mistake, it's not just IT making a power grab for power's sake. This is a real, significant issue for the business side of the house, because it is their applications - and ultimately data - that is at risk by failing to properly address issues of access.

THE CASE FOR CLOUD ACCESS BROKERS

The least disruptive - and most efficient - means of addressing this disconnect is to insert into the data center architecture an access broker tier, a layer of dynamic access and identity management services designed to provide federation and unification of credentials across cloud and data center resources based on the organization's authoritative source of identity.

The advantages of such a tier are that they are less disruptive, it respects the authoritative source of identity and it is highly flexible. The same cloud access broker that provides authentication and authorization to internal resources can do so for cloud-based resources. The downside is integration with a growing variety of SaaS and custom cloud-deployed applications used by the enterprise. A standards-based way of integrating off-premise applications with a cloud access broker is needed, and we find such a standard in SAML 2.0, an increasingly popular means of integrating identity and access management services across the cloudosphere.

In addition to providing access control through such integration, a cloud access broker also provides the means for IT to address the issue of password security noted in "Security a Rising Concern for Cloud-Based Application Usage":

The survey indicated unsafe password management continues to be a challenge, with 43 percent of respondents admitting that employees manage passwords in spreadsheets or on sticky notes and 34 percent share passwords with their co-workers for applications like FedEx, Twitter, Staples and LinkedIn. Twenty percent of respondents said they experienced an employee still being able to log in after leaving the company.

By enabling federation and single-sign on capabilities, organizations can mitigate this problem by ensuring users have fewer passwords to recall and that they do not share them with off-premise applications like FedEx. Because IT controls the authoritative source of identity, it also governs policies for those credentials, such as password length, history, interval of change, and composition.

FEDERATION MEANS HEIGHTENED (AND ENFORCEABLE) SECURITY

Federation of identity and access management through a cloud access broker can alleviate the loss of control - and thus expanding security threats.

By maintaining the authoritative source of identity on-premise, organizations can enforce security policies regarding password strength and length while improving the overall experience for end-users by reducing the number of credentials they must manage to conduct daily business operations. Issues such as orphaned or rogue accounts having access to critical business applications and data can be more easily - and quickly - addressed, and by using a flexible cloud access broker capable of transitioning security protocols, device incompatibility becomes a non-issue.

As more and more organizations recognize the ramifications of unfettered use of cloud services it is inevitable that cloud access brokers will become a critical component in the data center.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
OneCloud Software has launched the OneCloud Partner Program. Responding to demand from prospective partners, the Program offers managed service providers (MSPs) and resellers the resources they need to grow their business with the OneCloud Recovery solution. OneCloud Recovery is an automated solution for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC), which leverages Amazon Web Services as the disaster recovery site. “This is a tremendous opportunity with an innovative hybrid cloud-based DR pro...
BMC Software plans to acquire assets of CDB Software, Inc., a mainframe data management company that has developed utilities for managing IBM DB2 databases with virtually no outage. Focusing on the availability of mission-critical applications is strategic for BMC as it continues to help its customers transform IT into a competitive advantage for their business. CDB's technology complements BMC's existing mainframe data management portfolio, which includes software utilities for DB2 administrat...
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Axios Systems on Tuesday announced it has selected CenturyLink Cloud as the hosting platform for Axios Systems’ IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions in Canada. CenturyLink, a global provider of communications and IT services, joins other leading technology providers across North America, Europe and APAC to help Axios’ international customers drive efficiencies and innovation across their service management provision. The arrangement with CenturyLink enables Axios to further strengthen its pres...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
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 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
IBM and Docker, Inc. have announced a strategic partnership that enables enterprises to more efficiently, quickly and cost effectively build and run the next generation of applications on the IBM Cloud and on prem via the Docker open platform for distributed applications. Enterprises can use the combination of IBM and Docker to create and manage a new generation of portable distributed applications that are rapidly composed of discrete interoperable Docker containers, have a dynamic lifecycle, a...
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by minin...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...