Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: John Walsh, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi, Kevin Jackson, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Moving to the Cloud By @EFeatherston | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

The cloud is no less secure than your current internal environments (for many, it may actually be more secure)

Moving to the Cloud – Can I Take My Security with Me?

You can't have a conversation about technology today without the topic of security breaches ending up front and center as a key concern. This is understandable with all the high profile breaches that have been occurring on what seems a regularly scheduled event. Anthem, the nation's second largest health insurer is the latest in a long line of high profile breaches that have occurred recently. Given the size and severity of these breaches, security is very visible on everybody's radar. This is especially true when discussing migration to the cloud. Unfortunately every breach can result in slowdowns or impediments to cloud migration plans.

The reality is breaches are not going away (see ‘The cloud, security, & breaches - Are the Barbarians at the gate?' for a discussion on that). That doesn't mean you should abandon any plans on migrating to the cloud. The cloud is no less secure than your current internal environments (for many, it may actually be more secure). As with anything else, the key to success is proper planning and designing of your solutions. Let's talk about some of the considerations that need to be addressed that can help alleviate concerns that may be raised due to the hype and emotion of the high profile breaches.

Who owns security in the cloud?
Whether your cloud migration is a SaaS solution, an in-house application migrating to an IaaS solution, or anything in between, ultimately the security of your system is your responsibility. I know there are some that may take me to task with that statement. Let me clarify by saying what that responsibility translates into. It is dependent on the type of implementation/platform being considered. SaaS solutions have security mechanisms and capabilities baked in. So it would seem that the SaaS provider is responsible for security. While they own the technical implementation, you own defining what your security requirements are for that system. Key to that is defining the SLAs you have with the SaaS provider, ensuring they meet or exceed your requirements. The SaaS provider is responsible for executing on those SLAs once they are defined. As you get further down the platform food chain towards IaaS, your responsibility and ownership grows. As well as defining the requirement, you are then responsible for defining the implementation as well.

This is no different than if these applications were in-house, and not in the cloud. Over the years you have probably had many COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) packages deployed. The security implementation is baked into those, just as in a SaaS solution, but you (hopefully) defined what the security requirements were for the package. With house developed applications, as with an IaaS implementation, you were responsible for defining the requirements as well as the technical implementation. Dealing with security concerns in the cloud is no different than dealing with security concerns internally.

One other piece of ownership that sometimes gets forgotten: security testing. No matter the platform, you should own the testing and validating of the security mechanisms in place for your cloud solution. When you define your security requirements, ensure they are measurable, and that a test plan is developed for validating those measures.

Can I take my security with me?
Absolutely. Any of the industry standard security mechanisms are available from all the major cloud providers and implementations. The cloud is not magical; it is still made of the same hardware and software systems you use on a regular basis, and the same security mechanisms are available. The question really should be: Do I want to take my security with me? As with any rationalization process (and migrating to the cloud is a rationalization process), one of the steps should always be a re-evaluation of current security mechanisms. This is an ideal time to determine if there are any new requirements (perhaps based on learnings from recent breaches for example), identify gaps, and select a solution to address those gaps.

A critical component to consider when migrating to the cloud is: How will the data be secured during the migration process? Securing the application is straightforward, as the normal considerations when developing an application apply. The difference when migrating to the cloud, specifically if migrating to a public cloud, is the security mechanisms needed to ensure the data is protected during the transfer process. This is not a step that is usually considered in standard application security mechanisms, and can result in creating a risk during the transition process. This should not be a show stopper, just ensure it is included in the plan and design.

Don't let your migrations be governed by hysteria, hype, or emotion
As I discussed in the article ‘Moving to the Cloud - Cloud Rationalization,' Rule #1 in migrating to the cloud is take the emotion out of the equation. Also avoid migrating because of the hype. Not everything should or will go to the cloud, but don't let fear and hysteria about breaches and security risks be the reason for not migrating. Do the proper planning and design, define what the security needs and risks are based on the data within the system. Not all data is created equal - some should be more secure than others. Our job as technologists is to ensure the processes are in place, and the business educated to the real vs perceived risks, so that the decisions are made based on reality and business value, not on the latest breach in the headlines.

This post is brought to you by The DNA of The Cloud, Intel and Verizon.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

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
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...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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...
"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.
"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...
"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.
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...
"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.
"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...
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...
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.
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 ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...