Welcome!

XML Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Rick Delgado, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, XML, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Security, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

How Cloud Security Balances Risk Versus Reward

Moving beyond the concept of security as a cost center

I spend a great deal of my day thinking about security. How it affects the enterprise; how to best position and protect assets. How it shapes risk management and how it delivers potential benefits through smoother operations, enhanced trust and loss prevention.

At its core, security is about risk versus reward. It’s no great secret that many executives look at security as a cost center. Compounded by the requirements of compliance, the expansion of technology, and the nature of the modern enterprise, no one doubts the need to secure the enterprise…but to what degree? Securing your IT environment is not free, but there are best practices and technology options designed to mitigate costs while still providing a strong, manageable and proactive defense. While many companies still would rather spend capital on commodity assets, many CIOs recognize that information security is an important business driver. Many more still are looking to the cloud for security solutions to further reduce resource reliance.

In the end, it is a question each company must answer on its own. I can talk until I am blue in the face about the bogeymen of hacking, slipshod employees opening suspect emails, the exposure of a company’s most precious data, but the needs of the company—how it interacts with customers, the access it provides third parties, employee productivity processes, compliance requirements and all the other moving parts of an active organization--must create and prioritize the roadmap based on understood vulnerabilities and available resources.

However, therein lies the problem…understood vulnerabilities. This decision is based on assumptions, resource limitations and previous experience. But security issues are a moving target...it's more about knowing what you don't know. Obviously a bank or medical management facility is at more risk than a local dog grooming company, but that doesn’t mean it is any less vulnerable. In fact, the modest company might be at greater risk because even a small breach of customer data can devastate a company. A large company may be able to absorb (although painful) the fines, lawsuits and the loss of proprietary assets, but the impact on a small or mid-sized company is magnified. The damage to the trust factor alone could put them out of business.

This is not meant to be some sort of scare tactic, but the reality of doing business in the 21st century means every company must take some level of action to protect itself beyond filtering emails. However understanding investments in CapEx, resource and personnel expenditures, hardware and software management, this might be untenable for every company. This is where the CIO earns his keep. How much time and capital is necessary to invest versus the real threats to the network/assets (is a barking dog enough to chase away robbers, or do you need bolt locks, motion sensors, round-the-clock-sentries, gun turrets, etc…)

This is why cloud security (security managed from the cloud) provides the necessary balance in the risk versus reward quotient. Not only does it support a unified platform (PaaS or REACT), but eliminates many of the costs that throw the equation out of balance. A smaller company no longer has to decide to invest in virus sweepers OR access management, identity credentialing OR intrusion detection. A larger organization can reallocate important resources towards key revenue drivers and core competencies. A unified/centralized approach from the cloud provides all the capabilities with no additional capital expenditures. In the fact that it centralizes all the activity under a centralized pane of glass not only makes an organization response ready, but also automates a great deal of what compliance regulators are demanding.

What about the risk? Are organizations exposing or ceding control of their data in order to save a few bucks? Is a Pandora’s Box opening because functionality and reporting is virtualized? Of course not. Yet, with all business initiatives, there are risks. However, by applying such best practices as 24/7/365 monitoring, event correlation across multiple silos, and fostering interactive communication between functions closes the vulnerability gap significantly. But to harness all those capabilities a company would need to invest in SIEM, Access Management, Log Management, IDM and other security solutions. Before the cloud, this combined initiative was only an option available to Fortune 500 enterprises. Even applying some cloud-based tools, each of the referenced solutions typically works in parallel. What is needed is the ability to centralize and have each of the solutions leverage one another.

Now cloud security solutions and applications are two different animals when it comes to the all important data ownership and information liability. Security manages the data wherever it is stored-cloud or some locked server room in the basement of a fortified campus. It is the fence, not the animals held within. If there is a break in the fence, or the rancher hires irresponsible cowboys, then the herd is at risk. But if the foreman is vigilant about riding the perimeter and managing his employees, then there should be as many cows in the barn as there were the day before.

This is not to say data is unassailable every time the sales guy accesses the product demo site to present to a prospect via online third party collaboration software, but if the tools are in place, properly automated and integrated and the policies (access rules, credentialing, web authorization, monitoring etc…) are sound, risk goes down and reward goes up.

On Wall Street there is a “measurement” called the Sharpe Index. Essentially it characterizes how well the return of an asset compensates the investor for the risk taken. Part of the complex equation analyzes the variables to get to a positive return. Applied to finance the axiom typically means the greater the risk, the greater the return. When applied to security, and more pointedly, cloud-based security, the variables line up so that there doesn’t have to be a high trade off of risk and return Considering the lower investment, the faster deployment, the reduction of personnel and computing resources against an expanded enterprise toolset, improved capabilities, continuous and centralized alerts, security-as-a-service support and enhanced visibility across the organization, the path to realize rewards and ROI point to the cloud.

Bottom line, cloud-based security functionality is as trustworthy, as powerful and as comprehensive as any on-premise deployment. Because it is infinitely more affordable, flexible and manageable, it allows you to increase the layers of security around your enterprise for a fraction of the hard and soft costs. It allows you to concentrate on priorities, policies and core competencies to ensure your perimeters are safe and the cattle can always come in from the fields. Each company is unique in terms of its needs and security comfort level and its concept in determining risk versus reward. Yet biggest risk, in terms of security, is standing still.

More Stories By Kevin Nikkhoo

With more than 32 years of experience in information technology, and an extensive and successful entrepreneurial background, Kevin Nikkhoo is the CEO of the dynamic security-as-a-service startup Cloud Access. CloudAccess is at the forefront of the latest evolution of IT asset protection--the cloud.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from McGill University, Master of Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California with emphasis in entrepreneurial studies.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.