Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Jaynesh Shah, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: CloudExpo® Blog, Cloud Security

CloudExpo® Blog: Article

The TPM, Trust and the Cloud: Making Trust Real

The journey towards higher cloud security begins with the first step of establishing a foundation

As one of the hottest trends going in the information/computing world, how do the requirements for cloud security relate to the security concerns that enterprises have been addressing prior to the uptick in cloud computing? While the cloud is a relatively new area for concern, improved security has been a hot button for organizations of all size for well over a decade.

The cloud continues to evolve with various services and models including externally hosted public cloud services such as Amazon, independently hosted cloud services by an enterprise or third party that are either outside the firewall or inside the firewall (private cloud services), and a hybrid of private/internal and public/external models. On the surface, the different models might appear to have different privacy, access control and data protection issues. However, compliance issues and business data leakage out of any of these clouds pose problems for an organization similar to ones that existed prior to working in the cloud.

No matter which cloud services or model is pursued, security improvements should be among the criteria on the "must have" list. Issues to consider include: hardware versus software-based security, hardware activation, known users, known machines, accessing both data and application services, data protection and compliance, and protecting the service provider's agreement for controlled user access. For data leakage and access control, authorization to access information from the cloud, whether it's an application or an application with data, requires a trusted endpoint to ensure strong authentication and knowledge of who is accessing the cloud service and the data hosted by the cloud service. In fact, a trusted endpoint is part of the solution for addressing all of the issues. One solution involves implementing the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a widely available security chip that already resides in most business PCs. This standard-based hardware component provides stronger security than software-only approaches that can be stolen, hacked, impersonated or worse, causing security breaches and business disruption.

Hardware-Based Trust
Developed by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), the TPM is a standard for providing a hardware-based root of trust for computing and other systems. Unlike other hardware token security tools that are available in USB, key fob, and smart card type products, the standards-based TPM is typically an application-specific integrated (ASIC) available from multiple sources to ensure a highly competitive and readily available component installed in the computer when it was manufactured. TPM capability also can be integrated into chipsets, Ethernet controllers, and the like. To date, it has been is estimated that 200-300 million TPMs have shipped in enterprise PCs based on these standards.

The open standards-based approach provides a low-cost, flexible solution from multiple sources with a higher adoption rate and extensive support from over 100 technology companies in the industry across the globe. International governments have already adopted or plan to adopt the TPM as the standard for authentication. If these governments pursue cloud services, they will not proceed without a similar strong authentication methodology - and they will not implement proprietary technology.

Although inside the computer, the TPM needs to be activated by the user to enable its ability to improve security. Once the TPM is activated, users can more securely store and manage keys and passwords as well as easily encrypt files, folders and email. The TPM allows multi-factor authentication to be based on hardware vs. the simple password in software. For multi-factor authentication requirements, the TPM complements fingerprint readers, PKI, certificates and smart cards.

Dual-Level Identification & Authentication
As a hardware item inside the computer, the TPM allows the identification of the machine as well as the user.

This elevates the sign-on process to two-factor or dual-level authentication: the user through their passwords and the second through the machine itself or the machine's authentication to a service. The approach provides a significant increase in security, especially when compared to single-factor software-only approaches.

With its secure storage for a credential or critical piece of information, the TPM also provides the ability for a multi-use module where multiple users employ the machine's TPM for machine authentication and each user authenticates to the machine. A user could have a single sign-on to different services but would still have to authenticate to the machine. Once the user has authenticated to the machine, the machine can release credentials.

The layers of authentication, where the machine is known by the cloud and the machine has a relationship with the user, significantly enhance cloud security. This process provides a chain of trust for machine-to-machine connectivity so that only known machines and known users obtain access to applications and data. Implementing this dual-level authentication solves one of the most frequently discussed cloud issues - specifically knowing the users and machines that are connected to the cloud service.

Integrating Solutions
The TPM's hardware-based security can easily integrate with software security identification (ID) standards for federated ID management such as OpenID, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), WS (Web Services) - Federation and others. For example, OpenID is an industry standard protocol for communication or authentication at the service level. Over 20,000 service providers support OpenID as a software token. Figure 1 shows the process for cloud access based on the two-level authentication and an identity service that uses OpenID.

Figure 1: Improved cloud security requires a hardware-based TPM token to ensure machine integrity.
Source: id.wave.com.

A cloud service can use the TPM binding an OpenID certificate to the TPM for strong machine authentication to their service. This provides not only the identity of the client but could provide a health measure as well. The service could measure the health of the client, verify a relationship, and then provide the appropriate access. This also allows multiple users per client because the machine has a relationship with the service and multiple users have relationships with the machine. The process extends the security approach across different use models.

SAML, WS-Federation and other software identification standards can be implemented in a similar manner for establishing a known identity for cloud access. The essential element for sharing an identity is a trustworthy endpoint. In all of these cases, the TPM provides the base level, the foundation of trust.

Summary
The hardware-based security model that has been described supports cloud-based private/internal, public/external and hybrid combinations of both as well as traditional IT managed networks. This allows a reuse of the security technology for minimizing costs, including the reuse of corporate client policies. The alternative is continuing on the same path of software-only authentication. However, software in the computer can be hacked, impersonated, stolen, or victimized by the malicious software it is attempting to stop. This is the same model that is broken inside the enterprise today.

Once hardware-based access is implemented for machine authentication, it enables the use of other industry standards-based tools for self-encrypting drives (SEDs) and trusted network connect (TNC). These added tools can address the data leakage problem that may result from storing the data accessed from the cloud on a user's client. The journey towards higher cloud security begins with the first step of establishing a foundation by implementing the hardware-based security of the TPM.

More Stories By Brian Berger

Brian Berger is an executive vice president for Wave Systems Corp. He manages the business, strategy and marketing functions including product management, marketing and sales direction for the company. He has been involved in security products for a number of years including work with embedded hardware, client/server applications, PKI and biometrics. He has worked in the computer industry for 20 years and has held several senior level positions in multinational companies. Berger holds two patents and has two pending patents for security products and commerce transactions capabilities using security technology. He has a bachelors of arts degree from California State University, Northridge and attended Harvard Business School, Executive Education.

Berger is Promoter member Wave’s representative to the TCG board of directors and chairs the Trusted Computing Group’s marketing work group, where he leads strategy and implementation of the organization’s marketing and communications programs. He has spoken at a number of RSA conferences, the IT Roadmap events, CTIA and a number of other industry events.

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
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC 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. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust IT industrialization – allowing customers to provide amazing user experiences with optimized IT per...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
The world is at a tipping point where the technology, the device and global adoption are converging to such a point that we will see an explosion of a world where smartphone devices not only allow us to talk to each other, but allow for communication between everything – serving as a central hub from which we control our world – MediaTek is at the heart of both driving this and allowing the markets to drive this reality forward themselves. The next wave of consumer gadgets is here – smart, connected, and small. If your ambitions are big, so are ours. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jack Hu, D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DragonGlass, an enterprise search platform, 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. After eleven years of designing and building custom applications, OpenCrowd has launched DragonGlass, a cloud-based platform that enables the development of search-based applications. These are a new breed of applications that utilize a search index as their backbone for data retrieval. They can easily adapt to new data sets and provide access to both structured and unstruc...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
We’re entering a new era of computing technology that many are calling the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine to machine, machine to infrastructure, machine to environment, the Internet of Everything, the Internet of Intelligent Things, intelligent systems – call it what you want, but it’s happening, and its potential is huge. IoT is comprised of smart machines interacting and communicating with other machines, objects, environments and infrastructures. As a result, huge volumes of data are being generated, and that data is being processed into useful actions that can “command and control” thi...
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 ...
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
"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.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
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...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
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...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...