Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Xenia von Wedel, John Walsh, Elizabeth White, James Carlini, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

How the Cloud Will Displace Human Trust

We are witnessing the large-scale industrialization of the data center

We are witnessing the large-scale industrialization of the data center, owned and operated by the ICT operators who specialize in that task, with security technologies in the hands of the end user to remove any need to trust their human operators.

The traditional "protect the perimeter" model of enterprise data security, one where layers of security are added around enterprise data, access to which is limited to trusted insiders, clearly has challenges in a cloud computing model when outsiders (the folks running the cloud) have access to all your data and can monitor everything that you do in their environment.

The solution is not, as some would tell you in the security profession, better certification of cloud providers and external vetting of the human operators. Certification has a role but the ultimate answer will be the invention of technologies that completely remove the need for trusting the human operators.

There is a historical precedent for this. In a previous era longshoremen who handled cargo at ports (outsourced storage and compute) had a series of certifications on their security that were manually audited by government officials. Eventually, containerization and automation of ports made those certifications irrelevant, solving the problem using technology and dramatically increasing the amount and speed of international trade.

As Jason Hoffman, CTO of Joyent, (a competitor of Amazon Web Services), likes to point out: "data centers are the digital ports of the 21st century, the bit is the new economic good, measured in bytes and contained in packets, words and blocks."

The analogy is striking and it is likely that technology will again solve the problems that currently hinder adoption of the cloud by enterprises.

Each pillar of the CIA triad of data security - confidentiality, integrity and availability - is currently experiencing tremendous innovation, easing and accelerating adoption.

Availability is the easiest to understand: how a public cloud model can deliver better performance over enterprises owning their own data centers. Consider how the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan made the banking community realize that having a main data center in Tokyo with a backup in Yokohama, just 50km away, wasn't such a smart idea. Contrast that with the latest object-store solutions that provide multi-continent, multi data-center storage redundancy and availability. An example is Joyent's Global Compute Network, a global alliance of telecommunication providers offering cloud services allowing end users to migrate their data and applications to multiple locations around the world with nothing more than a mouse click.

Integrity, possibly the least understood of the security triad, is keyless signature infrastructure (KSI), which provides digital signatures for data on a massive scale. Keyless means that the integrity of the data can be verified without reliance on cryptographic keys, removing the need to have a trusted human anywhere in the verification chain. Banks such as SEB, ecommerce providers such as Rakuten, and governments globally such as China and Estonia are integrating KSI deeply into their data centers, ensuring that every system event and object modification is linked together in a causal chain, the proof of integrity of which is independently verifiable by users, regulators or auditors. Regulatory compliance requires enterprises to prove the integrity of their archived data, spending as much as $10,000 per TB for hardware-based solutions. Now this can be done in software in a public cloud at a small fraction of the price.

Confidentiality is possibly the biggest concern for enterprises to adopt a fully public cloud model. Yet here too there is tremendous innovation. Since IBM's Craig Gentry announced his Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) scheme there has been intense research in the academic community to build something practical. FHE implies that you can store encrypted data in the cloud but still run applications on that encrypted data, decrypting the result locally only when an authenticated end user needs to view it, thereby removing any possibility of the cloud operator or outside attacker breaching the confidentiality of the data. Recent results by cryptographers Brakerski and Vercauteren indicate that practical implementations of FHE may be on the horizon.

Subsets of FHE such as functional encryption or searchable encryption can achieve the same result for specified use cases. As a simple example of this technology, imagine if you encrypted a search term say "Britney Spears" and entered the encrypted result into a search engine. The results you get back would be gibberish until you decrypt them, giving you the latest gossip on Britney without anyone having any knowledge of what you searched for.

Encrypted search of course requires a lot more computational power, which is great news for companies like Intel but also for the service providers that can offer a premium service with encryption enabled applications.

I recently had the opportunity to read George Dyson's history of computing, "Turing's Cathedral," where he traces the digital universe to a nucleus of 32-by-32-by-40 bit matrix of high-speed random access memory built in 1953. Since then there has been wave after wave of innovation and while cloud computing represents the next wave, the impact for the enterprise may be the most profound.

We are witnessing the large-scale industrialization of the data center, owned and operated by the ICT operators who specialize in that task, with security technologies in the hands of the end user to remove any need to trust their human operators. Driven by competitive forces this will lead to a level of service and security vastly superior to what they can be achieved in-house, allowing enterprise IT budgets to be slashed yet providing on-demand the latest software applications.

It will take time for regulators to be convinced, but eventually it will be become obvious that the technologies described above will enable regulated businesses to be more reliable, more secure than before and the barriers to cloud adoption will be eased. The inevitable conclusion will be an enterprise IT model with zero assets in-house and a massive expansion of business for ICT operators who are operating the data centers and providing indemnification against any business loss.

That time might be closer than you think.

More Stories By Mike Gault

Mike Gault is CEO of Guardtime, the developer of Keyless Signatures that algorithmically prove the time, origin and integrity of electronic data. He started his career conducting research in Japan on the computer simulation of quantum effect transistors. He then spent 10 years doing quantitative financial modeling and trading financial derivatives at Credit Suisse and Barclays Capital. Mike received a Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering from the University of Wales and an MBA from the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA Program.

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
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix 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. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...