Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Janakiram MSV, Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog, Pat Romanski, Stefan Bernbo

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Amazon Compliance Confession About Customers, Not Itself

Amazon EC2 and S3 are no more or less safe than they were last week despite hype around PCI compliance admission

The recent admission / announcement that “Amazon EC2 is not PCI compliant” (this is not exactly true, but we’ll get to that later) has set off a rush of blogs, articles, and tweets that say, in effect, EC2 is no longer “safe”. But a lack of compliance does not make Amazon any more less safe than achieving PCI compliance makes a site more safe.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Internet, I submit as proof the admission of Heartland CEO Robert Carr that even though their “site” and “systems” were designated as PCI compliant, still they were attacked, breached, and the subject of ridicule and scorn for months in the press and security-focused blogosphere.

imagePCI compliance doesn't mean secure. We and others were declared PCI compliant shortly before the intrusions.” – Heartland CEO Robert Carr in an interview with Bill Brenner, Senior Editor, CSO Online

PCI compliance doesn’t automatically make a site safe. Lack of PCI compliance doesn’t make EC2 unsafe, either. It means it isn’t compliant with the policies designated by the PCI council for handling credit card transactions and sensitive data.  And, if we look past the hand-waving, we’ll find that Amazon admits you can’t build a PCI Level 1 compliant application using EC2 and S3, but you can build a PCI Level 2 compliant application.

“It is possible for you to build a PCI level 2 compliant app in our AWS cloud using EC2 and S3, but you cannot achieve level 1 compliance.”

So how does this statement translate into “OMG! Amazon is unsafe!”? This is clearly about what the customer can and cannot do, not an admission of the security status of Amazon’s underlying infrastructure.

Amazon clearly states you cannot be level 1 compliant because it requires on-site auditing that they simply can’t (or won’t) allow. The inability to meet a requirement because of logistics (level 1 requires an on-site audit which Amazon states is not possible) is hardly the same as failing to meet the requirement for a firewall, or default password use. The inability to meet that one requirement is hardly reason for condemnation of Amazon’s overall security posture. Its inability for you to meet PCI compliance does not automatically mean its systems and environment are “unsafe”. Amazon points to the “on-site audit” requirement as a reason why you cannot achieve PCI Level 1 compliance. For all we know Amazon meets or exceeds every other requirement for PCI level 1 compliance that is required of a service-provider. Inferring anything about the security posture of Amazon’s internal systems from one message in a forum is simply not possible.

Furthermore, Amazon says YOU cannot build a PCI Level 1 compliant application. In other words, its announcement wasn’t an observation about the security of its systems, it was an observation regarding what you, the customer, can and cannot achieve using its systems.

In fact, in that same forum message that set off this Chicken Little episode, the Amazon representative clearly states Amazon does, in fact, meet PCI compliance standards elsewhere:

Our payment system is PCI compliant and it is an “alternative payment processing service” meaning your users re-direct to our platform to conduct the payment event using their credit cards or bank accounts. [emphasis added]

Nothing in Amazon’s “confession” implies anything about its security posture; if anything its note that its payment systems are PCI compliant means its underlying systems are as secure as any other meeting PCI compliance. Therefore there is no reason to believe that Amazon is any less safe than it was last week. In fact, the statement that you can achieve level 2 compliance means Amazon has, in fact, checked over its systems and that they will meet the requirements required for much of the PCI standard – probably the pieces that are important to assuring the security of systems.

PCI compliance is not a rubber stamp of safety. Achieving PCI compliance does not automatically confer some special safety status upon an organization. Neither does the reverse hold true; organizations that do not fall under PCI and therefore need not worry themselves about compliance with its standards are not necessarily “unsafe”.

This entire situation is a raw deal for Amazon. EC2 and S3 are no more – or less – secure than they were before this unsurprising announcement regarding PCI compliance and applications built atop its systems. The misinterpretation of its admission and its viral-like spread is little more than FUD that does more harm than good – both to Amazon and cloud computing in general.

 

Follow me on Twitter View Lori's profile on SlideShare friendfeedicon_facebook AddThis Feed Button Bookmark and Share

 

Related blogs & articles:

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...