Click here to close now.


Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jordan Sanders, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Keith Mayer, Jayaram Krishnaswamy

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, OpenStack Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Governance Must Drive All Security Initiatives... Even Cloud

Risk is not unique to the cloud and transcends technology

“The ‘how’ may change, but the ‘what’ is fundamental to risk management.”

I heard these sage words at a recent ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) meeting from a CIO speaking about security from the cloud.

He continued, “Risk is not unique to the cloud. It experiences the same issues that affect any outsourcing or third party deliverable. It is bounded by the same concerns regarding governance—does it meet the requirements of my industry? Is my data free from co-mingling? Are the proper notification protocols in place?”

Do a Google search on “cloud security” and the first entry is “How secure is the cloud?” True professionals know the argument is not about technology or how security is delivered, but rather one of governance. You need to know exactly who HAS access to what resources and if these levels of access are appropriate. You need to know who IS accessing resources, and if they don’t have the proper credentials, you need to be notified immediately to take further preventive action. You need know that protocols for compliance are in place and routinely and successfully generate the reporting for periodic audits. You need to know your rights, liabilities (SLA) for any application or service acquired and that they conform to your risk management practices.

The key asset in all this is data. Data is stored in many forms, via many servers and applications across the enterprise and it is processed and accessed in just as many ways. Effective governance is the ability to have a centralized map of all these information roads and create certain controlled access points, road blocks (encryption), privileged private lanes/public highways…in short, governance is about accountability.

This then becomes an internal process; making sure you have the identity management rules and capabilities in place, making sure the access management provisioning is set. Ensuring you employ the means to view it under a single pane of glass (unified security) in order to make the necessary decisions to better secure the data. You must have context and historical perspective.  The chief component to governance is visibility. And any first course of action would be to enhance existing visibility.

Governance is a critical challenge. Not every “whizz bang” development (be it cloud application or nifty BYOD device) will be able to meet a particular organization’s governance standards. It is up to the CIO or CSO’s due diligence to understand all the implications on how the deployment will affect the holistic enterprise. What liabilities are exposed? What vulnerability gaps does it close? How could it impact user productivity versus potential risks? The answer will not be the same for every company. However, dismissing cloud out of hand is not only faulty and outdated logic, but can restrict the organization from responsible growth.

“When cloud computing is treated as a governance initiative, with broad stakeholder engagement and well-planned risk management activities, it can bring tremendous value to an enterprise," said Emil D'Angelo, CISA, CISM, international president of ISACA and founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance.

This extends to the functions and capabilities of managing security from the cloud (cloud-based security) as well. When due diligence is done, a CIO will have a clear idea of an initiative’s risk versus return and whether a cloud security deployment meets the individual requirements of the company. And, with all things being equal in terms of control, compliance and reach, then the significant benefits of the cloud and its affordability, scalability and agility make it a wise investment. But cost savings should not be the first line of acceptance (although he TCO and ROI are considerable). Any security solution must first prove it is up to the task of preserving IP, upholding all aspects of regulatory compliance and keeping sensitive data sacrosanct.

To gain this level of governance visibility, it potentially incorporates several solution sets that need to work in harmony and do so in real time. It needs to connect (and put into proper context) certification, policies, roles and requests. For example, seeing who has accessed a certain application gives you historical perspective, but, what if it is a retired account or tries using a decommissioned password? If you know within moments of its occurrence, you can trace the attempt and prevent further breaches. Or if a partner accesses certain parts of your database to which they are entitled, but quadruples their order in the dead of night to be shipped to Phnom Penh? Or through an open back door, a “customer” can see and download other clients Tax ID numbers. There are literally thousands of scenarios by which leveraging the cooperative functionality of IDM, AM, SIEM and Log Management creates not only the holistic visibility to drive governance policies, but offers significant barriers to keep the IT enterprise safer.

Security is just as much about weighing the risk/return scenarios as it is bolting the castle door against the enemy.  Cloud security (and to a greater extent, a unified security initiative from the cloud) can be the effective, flexible and strong enterprise balance for prevention and audit. The challenge facing most security teams, therefore, is to provide line-of-business users with the access they need while ensuring that the access is appropriate and does not expose the enterprise to unnecessary business risk. But first you must ensure visibility--and when you know where all your data is and all the multiple ways that it is available, then you can best manage the policies, roles, and security functions that best connects your requirements.


Kevin Nikkhoo
Governor of the Cloud!

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
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.