Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Ambuj Kumar, Shelly Palmer, XebiaLabs Blog, Liz McMillan

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
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.
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale 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 is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
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...
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.
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.
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
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...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
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.
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
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 ...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, 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 delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
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.
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 ...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...