|By Gilad Parann-Nissany||
|February 5, 2014 12:00 PM EST||
I am often asked by skeptics, cynics, doubters, and readers of sensational journalism if they can trust the cloud. Sure, there have been data leaks, hacker intrusions, NSA spies, but can the cloud be trusted with your data?
End of article.
Not really . . . yes, the cloud can definitely be trusted, but that doesn’t allow you to be foolish. Metaphorically, you can trust your Volvo too – but you should still fasten your seat belt. You are still responsible to protect yourself, and in the cloud computing scenario, that means that you are ultimately responsible to protect your data. My advice is this:
Trust the cloud. And take security measures to protect your data.
The level of security (in the form of cloud encryption) needed will depend on what you are planning to use the cloud for.
Individuals who want to securely store files on websites such as Dropbox or Google Docs need a minimal amount of security so that their information isn’t widely available. In recent years, the developers of these services added the necessary encryption to keep the average hacker out1.
For those who want to power applications, databases or tools on a group of computers through the cloud, extra protection is needed since there are more entry points to protect. Companies that want to secure data in the cloud should work with a qualified cloud provider or cloud security vendor who will provide data encryption options to protect against internal and external threats as well as meet industry data privacy rules (PCI, HIPPA, etc.).
If you work with sensitive information that is protected by law or industry regulations, you require the highest level of protection. For example, companies in the healthcare industry must take care to encrypt private patient data in order to comply with HIPAA regulations2. Companies that accept credit card payments must comply with PCI regulations3. For these companies, it is important to understand what the potential risks are and how to secure the data and adhere to the regulations.
So, which security measures should you take?
The CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) has identified a number of challenges to cloud computing security4:
- Data breaches – If a cloud service database isn’t designed properly, a hacker could get into customers’ data.
Solution: Choose a cloud provider that allows maximum control over encryption keys.
- Data loss – A careless provider could lose data due to a hacker or natural disaster. This can be problematic for compliance with regulations as well as customer relations.
Solution: Use encrypted backup where you control the encryption keys.
- Account or service traffic hijacking – If credentials are stolen, a hacker could carry out actions in the name of the company.
Solution: Use two-factor authentication techniques wherever possible.
- Insecure interfaces and APIs – Third parties building on to existing APIs can weaken their security, especially if they require relinquishing of credentials. Solution: Understand the implications and risks of adding layers to APIs.
- Malicious insiders – If credentials are available to multiple employees within an organization, the company is susceptible to malicious insider attack. Solution: Keys should be available only at data-usage time.
- Cloud abuse – A hacker might use the cloud service in order to break a code he couldn’t get into on a standard computer. He might use it to propagate malware or share pirated software.
Solution: Cloud providers must define abuse and determine how to identify it.
- Insufficient due diligence – Companies who don’t sufficiently understand the security issues inherent in cloud computing may unwittingly harm their own security.
Solution: Allocation of resources for education and due diligence before getting started.
- Shared technology vulnerabilities – Cloud providers share platforms in order to save on costs, but this means that when one component is harmed, the others are vulnerable as well.
Solution: a defensive, in-depth strategy, as well as monitoring.
That’s a lot of security measures!
It may seem safer just to stay out of the cloud, but for most businesses, this is likely to be impractical. The cloud can handle a large amount of data at lower cost and increased flexibility. Also, I would be remiss not to note that information stored on desktops is not necessarily secure either; hackers have been known to infiltrate data stored on physical computers and mobile devices as well.
Is there an easy way to protect myself?
Strong cloud encryption makes the cloud a safe environment for storing data (even for the most sensitive, regulated, protected data). Make sure to choose the level of encryption necessary for your data. If your company complies with HIPAA or PCI or handles customers’ private information, pick a cloud provider which uses split-key encryption (aka Homomorphic Key Encryption). This is a system which requires two keys to access data. One key remains under your control as the owner of the data. When this master key is in use in the cloud, it is encrypted, thus ensuring that the cloud provider doesn’t have access to your data and neither does anyone who attempts to hack in. This will ensure safety in the cloud.
This is why I say that you can completely trust the cloud. If you take the proper steps to protect yourself (a split-key seat belt, if you will), the cloud is not a menacing, dangerous place to store data. It is, in fact: scalable, flexible, cost-effective, and a great solution, which can (and should!) be safe and secure.
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 748
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 5, 2016 03:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 5, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 691
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 329
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 5, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 320
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 516
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 PM EST
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:15 AM EST
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 5, 2016 10:00 AM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 302
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 5, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 307
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 392
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 822
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 906
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 700
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,124
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,184
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 778
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 741
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,246