Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Cloud Security

Cloud Security: Blog Post

How to Get to Cloud Use Securely

HP panel examines proper security hurdles on road to successful enterprise cloud computing adoption

The latest BriefingsDirect podcast focuses on exercising caution, overcoming fear, and the need for risk reduction on the road to successful cloud computing.

In order to ramp up cloud-computing use and practices, a number of potential security pitfalls need to be identified and mastered. Security, in general, takes on a different emphasis, as services are mixed and matched and come from a variety of internal and external sources.

So, will applying conventional security approaches and best practices be enough for low risk, high-reward cloud computing adoption? Is there such a significant cost and productivity benefit to cloud computing that being late or being unable to manage the risk means being overtaken by competitors that can do cloud successfully? More importantly, how do companies know whether they are prepared to begin adopting cloud practices without undo risks?

To help better understand the perils and promises of adopting cloud approaches securely, I recently moderated a panel of three security experts from Hewlett-Packard (HP), Archie Reed, HP Distinguished Technologist and Chief Technologist for Cloud Security; Tim Van Ash, director of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products at HP Software and Solutions, and David Spinks, security support expert at HP IT Outsourcing.

Here are some excerpts:

 

Van Ash: Anything associated with the Internet today tends to be described as cloud in an interchangeable way. There's huge confusion in the marketplace, in general, as to what cloud computing is, what benefits it represents, and how to unlock those benefits.

... The [cloud] provider is committing to providing a compute fabric, but they're not committing, for the most part, to provide security, although there are infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offerings emerging today that do wrap aspects of security in there.

You see more responsibility put on the provider in the [platform as a service (PaaS)] environment, but all the classic application security vulnerabilities, very much lie in the hands of the consumer or the customer who is building applications on the cloud platform.

With software-as-a-service (SaaS), more of the responsibility lies with the provider, because SaaS is really delivering capabilities or business processes from the cloud. But, there are a number of areas that the user is still responsible for, i.e., user management in ensuring that there are perfect security models in place, and that you're managing entry and exit of users, as they may enter a business or leave a business.

You're responsible for all the integration points that could introduce security vulnerabilities, and you're also responsible for the actual testing of those business processes to ensure that the configurations that you're using don't introduce potential vulnerabilities as well.

...Typically, what we see is that organizations often have concerns. They go through the fear, uncertainty, and doubt. They'll often put data out there in the cloud in a small department or team. The comfort level grows, and they start to put more information out there.

Reed: If you take the traditional IT department perspective of whether it's appropriate and valuable to use the cloud, and then you take the cloud security's perspective -- which is, "Are we trusting our provider as much as we need to? Are they able to provide within the scope of whatever service they're providing enough security?" -- then we start to see the comparisons between what a traditional IT department puts in play and what the provider offers.

For a small company, you generally find that the service providers who offer cloud services can generally offer -- not always, but generally -- a much more secure platform for small companies, because they staff up on IT security and they staff up on being able to respond to the customer requirements. They also stay ahead, because they see the trends on a much broader scale than a single company. So there are huge benefits for a small company.

But, if you're a large company, where you've got a very large IT department and a very large security practice inside, then you start to think about whether you can enforce firewalls and get down into very specific security implementations that perhaps the provider, the cloud provider, isn't able to do or won't be able to do, because of the model that they've chosen.

That's part of the decision process as to whether it's appropriate to put things into the cloud. Can the provider meet enough or the level of security that you're expecting from them?

Spinks: We've just been reviewing a large energy client's policies and procedures. ... As you move out into an outsourcing model, where we're managing their technology for them, there are some changes required in the policies and procedures. When you get to a cloud services model, some of those policies, procedures, and controls need to change quite radically.

Areas such as audit compliance, security assurance, forensic investigations, the whole concept of service-level agreements (SLAs) in terms of specifying how long things take have to change. Companies have to understand that they're buying a very standard service with standard terms and conditions.

Pressure to adopt

Van Ash: Obviously, the current economic environment is putting a lot of pressure on budgets, and people are looking at ways in which they can continue to move their projects forward on investments that are substantially reduced from what they were previously doing.

But, the other reason that people are looking at cloud computing is just agility, and both these aspects – cost and agility -- are being driven by the business. These two factors coming from the business are forcing IT to rethink how they look at security and how they approach security when it comes to cloud, because you're now in a position where many of your intellectual property and your physical data and information assets are no longer within your direct control.

So what are the capabilities that you need to mature in terms of governance, visibility, and audit controls that we were talking about, how do you ramp those up? How do you assess partners in those situations to be able to sit down and say that you can actually put trust into the cloud, so that you've got confidence that the assets you're putting in the cloud are safeguarded, and that you're not potentially threatening the overall organization to achieve quick wins?

The challenge is that the quick wins that the business is driving for could put the business at much longer-term risk, until we work out how to evolve our security practices across the board.

Spinks: ... The business units are pushing internally to get to use some cloud service that they've seen out there. A lot of companies are finding that their IT organizations are not responding fast enough such that business units are just going out there directly to a cloud services provider.

They're in a situation where the advice is, either ride the wave or get dumped. The business wants to utilize these environments -- the fast development testing and launch of new services, new software-related solutions, whatever they may be -- and cloud offers them an opportunity to do that quickly, at low cost, unlike the traditional IT processes.

Reed: ... What we need to do is take some of that traditional security-analysis approach, which ultimately we describe as just a basic risk analysis. We need to identify the value of this data -- what are the implications if it gets out and what's the value of the service -- and come back with a very simple risk equation that says, "Okay, this makes sense to go outside."

... There are certain things where you may say, "This data, in and of itself, is not important, should a breach occur. Therefore, I'm quite happy for it to go out into the cloud." ... Generally, when we talk to people, we come back to the risk equation, which includes, how much is that data worth ... and what is the value of the services being provided. That helps you understand what the security risk will be.

Next big areas

Spinks: The big areas that I believe will be developed over the next few years, in terms of ensuring we take advantage of these cloud services, are twofold. First, more sophisticated means in data classification. That's not just the conventional, restricted, confidential-type markings, but really understanding, as Archie said, the value of assets.

But, we need to be more dynamic about that, because, if we take a simple piece of data associated with the company's annual accounts and annual performance, prior to release of those figures, that data is some of the most sensitive data in an organization. However, once that report is published, that data is moved into the public domain and then should be unclassified.

We need not just management processes and data-classification processes, but these need to be much more responsive and proactive, rather than simply reacting to the latest security breach. As we move this forward, there will be an increased tension to more sophisticated risk management tools and risk-management methodologies and processes, in order to make sure that we take maximum advantage of cloud services.

Efforts under way

Reed: There are efforts under way. There are things, such as the Jericho Forum, which is now part of The Open Group. A group of CIOs and the like got together and said, "We need to deal with this and we need to have a way of understanding, communicating, and describing this to our constituents."

They created their definition of what cloud is and what some of the best practices are, but they didn't provide full guidelines on how, why, and when to use the cloud, that I would really call a standard.

There are other efforts that are put out by or are being worked on today by The National Institute of Standards and Technology, primarily focused on the U.S. public sector, but are generally available once they publish. But, again, that's something that's in progress.

The closest thing we've got, if we want to think about the security aspects of the cloud, are coming from the Cloud Security Alliance, a group that was formed by interested parties. HP supported founding this, and actually contributed to their initial guidelines.

... If we're looking for standards, they're still in the early days, they're still being worked on, and there are no, what I would call, formal standards that specifically address the cloud. So, my suggestion for companies is to take a look at the things that are under way and start to draw out what works for them, but also get involved in these sorts of things.

... We [at HP] also have a number of tools and processes based on standards initiatives, such as Information Security Service Management (ISSM) modeling tools, which incorporate inputs from standards such as the ISO 27001 and SAS 70 audit requirements -- things like the payment card industry (PCI), Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), European Data Privacy, or any national or international data privacy requirements.

We put that into a model, which also takes inputs from the infrastructure that's being used, as well as input based on interviews with stakeholders to produce a current state and a desired or required state model. That will help our customers decide, from a security perspective at least, what do I need to move in what order, or what do I need to have in place?

That is all based on models, standards, and things that are out there, regardless of the fact that cloud security itself and the standards around it are still evolving as we speak.

Van Ash: We do provide a comprehensive set of consulting services to help organizations assess and model where they are, and build out roadmaps and plans to get them to where they want to be.

One of the offerings that we've launched recently is Cloud Assure. Cloud Assure is really designed to deal with the top three concerns the enterprise has in moving into the cloud.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. View a full transcript or download the transcript. Learn more.

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...