Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, SmartBear Blog

Related Topics: Industrial IoT, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Industrial IoT: Blog Feed Post

Are Users to Blame For Cloud Insecurity?

So who is to blame if a customer deploys an insecure application to the Cloud?

In an insightful post, Paul Miller asserts that "Cloud providers’ own systems will tend to be more secure than those that the majority of potential customers have in-house today". You may ask - So why is cloud security seen as a problem then? The problem, as he points out, is the customers who place insecure applications into those pristine, secure Cloud hosting environments:


The customers who open up all the ports you so carefully closed by default. The customers who use ‘password’ as their password. The customers who deploy sloppy code that’s riddled with holes. The customers who, frankly, are just human… and who don’t live and breathe security in the same way that at least someone inside the data centre probably does.
http://cloudofdata.com/2009/08/security-and-the-cloud-will-focus-shift-to-the-customer/

So who is to blame if a customer deploys an insecure application to the Cloud? Can you just blame the customer? It is not as easy as that...

Twelve years ago, I was working for an ISP and one of my jobs was to vet Perl and ASP scripts for security holes. If the ISP let a customer host an insecure script, who was to blame? Or does it even matter who to blame, after the damage is done? If the script could tie up resources on the system and degrade the performance of other customers' applications, then the ISP could not turn around and say "don't blame us, blame that other customer over there with their insecure script". In reality, we would block insecure applications before they were hosted.

The same went for SQL Server applications. Everyone seemed to use "sa" and a blank password. Does this mean SQL Server was inherently insecure? Arguably, yes (well, it was certainly not "secure by default" in those days). But in reality, it was up to the hosting provider to mitigate against the insecurity of applications and the insecurity of code. We could not just say "blame Microsoft".

Multi-tenancy
Although Paul Miller's blog post does not use the word "multi-tenancy", it is one of the keys here. Back in my ISP hosting days, we liked to think that we'd perfected "multi-tenancy", whereby the scripts of one customer could not interfere with the scripts of other customers. However, we still vetted the scripts for security holes.

The Cloud providers seem to take different tacks on this question.

I've noticed that Amazon will examine traffic to and from EC2 instances, and if they see evidence that a machine has been taken over by a bot or trojan, they then block traffic to it. This is like a "quarantine" approach - allow the customer to create an insecure EC2 image, but then detect its behavior and stop it from interfering with other EC2 images.

SalesForce take a different tack. They force developers to proactively add testing code to their applications written in the Apex language on the Force.com platform. Here is the section on Multi-Tenancy in the Force.com "Introduction to Apex":

Multi-tenancy

The Force.com platform is a multi-tenant platform, which means that the resources used by your application (such as the database) are shared with many other applications. This multi-tenancy has a lot of benefits, and it comes with a small promise on your part. In particular, if you write Apex code, the platform needs to do its best to ensure that it is well behaved.

For example, Apex code that simply loops will not benefit you (or the cloud). This is the reason why Apex, when deployed to a production server, needs 75% code coverage in tests.

The Apex runtime engine also enforces a number of limits to ensure that runaway Apex does not monopolize shared resources. These limits, or governors, track and enforce various metrics. An example of these limits include (at the time of writing): the total stack depth for an Apex invocation in a trigger is 16, the total number of characters in a single String may not exceed 100000, and the total number of records processed as a result of DML statements in a block may not exceed 10000.

There are various precautions that can be taken to ensure that the limits are not exceeded. For example, the batched for loop described earlier lifts certain limits, and different limits apply depending on what originated the execution of the Apex. For example, Apex originating from a trigger is typically more limited than Apex that started running as part of a web services call.

http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/An_Introduction_to_Apex

So SalesForce are effectively saying "We have a secure environment, and if you want to upload code to run on it, you have to make sure your code has built-in checks to ensure it does not inadvertently monopolize resources". Amazon seem to be taking the alternative approach of discovering if an app is misbehaving, and then quarantining it (of course, as IaaS, EC2 is quite different from Force.com which is PaaS, so their approach is different). It remains to be seen what approach is best. Customers can hedge their bets by using a Cloud Gateway to secure their data in the cloud, keeping it encrypted and signed, so that it is safe even if other apps in the multi-tenant environment misbehave.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
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...
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, will discuss how from store operations...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera 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. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
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.
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.
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.
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...
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 ...
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 ...
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...
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems 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. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
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...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese 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. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software 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. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...