|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|February 5, 2014 12:00 PM EST||
I am often asked by skeptics, cynics, doubters, and readers of sensational journalism if they can trust the cloud. Sure, there have been data leaks, hacker intrusions, NSA spies, but can the cloud be trusted with your data?
End of article.
Not really . . . yes, the cloud can definitely be trusted, but that doesn’t allow you to be foolish. Metaphorically, you can trust your Volvo too – but you should still fasten your seat belt. You are still responsible to protect yourself, and in the cloud computing scenario, that means that you are ultimately responsible to protect your data. My advice is this:
Trust the cloud. And take security measures to protect your data.
The level of security (in the form of cloud encryption) needed will depend on what you are planning to use the cloud for.
Individuals who want to securely store files on websites such as Dropbox or Google Docs need a minimal amount of security so that their information isn’t widely available. In recent years, the developers of these services added the necessary encryption to keep the average hacker out1.
For those who want to power applications, databases or tools on a group of computers through the cloud, extra protection is needed since there are more entry points to protect. Companies that want to secure data in the cloud should work with a qualified cloud provider or cloud security vendor who will provide data encryption options to protect against internal and external threats as well as meet industry data privacy rules (PCI, HIPPA, etc.).
If you work with sensitive information that is protected by law or industry regulations, you require the highest level of protection. For example, companies in the healthcare industry must take care to encrypt private patient data in order to comply with HIPAA regulations2. Companies that accept credit card payments must comply with PCI regulations3. For these companies, it is important to understand what the potential risks are and how to secure the data and adhere to the regulations.
So, which security measures should you take?
The CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) has identified a number of challenges to cloud computing security4:
- Data breaches – If a cloud service database isn’t designed properly, a hacker could get into customers’ data.
Solution: Choose a cloud provider that allows maximum control over encryption keys.
- Data loss – A careless provider could lose data due to a hacker or natural disaster. This can be problematic for compliance with regulations as well as customer relations.
Solution: Use encrypted backup where you control the encryption keys.
- Account or service traffic hijacking – If credentials are stolen, a hacker could carry out actions in the name of the company.
Solution: Use two-factor authentication techniques wherever possible.
- Insecure interfaces and APIs – Third parties building on to existing APIs can weaken their security, especially if they require relinquishing of credentials. Solution: Understand the implications and risks of adding layers to APIs.
- Malicious insiders – If credentials are available to multiple employees within an organization, the company is susceptible to malicious insider attack. Solution: Keys should be available only at data-usage time.
- Cloud abuse – A hacker might use the cloud service in order to break a code he couldn’t get into on a standard computer. He might use it to propagate malware or share pirated software.
Solution: Cloud providers must define abuse and determine how to identify it.
- Insufficient due diligence – Companies who don’t sufficiently understand the security issues inherent in cloud computing may unwittingly harm their own security.
Solution: Allocation of resources for education and due diligence before getting started.
- Shared technology vulnerabilities – Cloud providers share platforms in order to save on costs, but this means that when one component is harmed, the others are vulnerable as well.
Solution: a defensive, in-depth strategy, as well as monitoring.
That’s a lot of security measures!
It may seem safer just to stay out of the cloud, but for most businesses, this is likely to be impractical. The cloud can handle a large amount of data at lower cost and increased flexibility. Also, I would be remiss not to note that information stored on desktops is not necessarily secure either; hackers have been known to infiltrate data stored on physical computers and mobile devices as well.
Is there an easy way to protect myself?
Strong cloud encryption makes the cloud a safe environment for storing data (even for the most sensitive, regulated, protected data). Make sure to choose the level of encryption necessary for your data. If your company complies with HIPAA or PCI or handles customers’ private information, pick a cloud provider which uses split-key encryption (aka Homomorphic Key Encryption). This is a system which requires two keys to access data. One key remains under your control as the owner of the data. When this master key is in use in the cloud, it is encrypted, thus ensuring that the cloud provider doesn’t have access to your data and neither does anyone who attempts to hack in. This will ensure safety in the cloud.
This is why I say that you can completely trust the cloud. If you take the proper steps to protect yourself (a split-key seat belt, if you will), the cloud is not a menacing, dangerous place to store data. It is, in fact: scalable, flexible, cost-effective, and a great solution, which can (and should!) be safe and secure.
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment proces...
Dec. 1, 2015 01:15 AM EST Reads: 106
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Dec. 1, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 432
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 282
The revocation of Safe Harbor has radically affected data sovereignty strategy in the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Jeff Miller, Product Management at Cavirin Systems, discussed how to assess these changes across your own cloud strategy, and how you can mitigate risks previously covered under the agreement.
Nov. 30, 2015 06:30 PM EST
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...
Nov. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 103
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 246
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...
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 494
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 371
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 435
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 438
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 541
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 344
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...
Nov. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 293
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Nov. 30, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 224
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 464
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 301
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 570
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 475
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 390
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 30, 2015 05:30 AM EST Reads: 498