Sep 10 2009

Way beyond the edge and de-perimeterization

Category: Cloud computing,Information SecurityDISC @ 2:59 pm

Wie eine Firewall arbeitet / how a firewall works
Image by pittigliani2005 via Flickr

De-perimeterization term has been around almost for a decade and finally industry is taking it seriously because of virtualization and cloud computing popularity. Is it time for businesses to emabrace de-perimeterization?

De-perimeterization is a double edge sword for industry which creates scalable options for operation and huge challenges for safeguarding the assets beyond the edge. One of the major advantages for de-perimeterization is that user can access corporate information over the internet; in this situation user can access corporate data from any where, it’s hard to draw the line where the edge begins and where it ends. All you basically need a functional laptop with internet connection. On the other hand, de- perimeterization poses a great challenge due to possibility of viruses, spywares and worms spreading in your internal protected infrastructure.

In de-perimeterized environment, security attributes shall follow the data, wherever the data may go or reside.

In security architecture where firewall was considered a very effective perimeter defense has been weakens by virtualization and cloud computing. In early days of firewall defense, organization only needed to open few necessary protocols and ports to do business. Internet accessible systems were located on the DMZ and the communication was initiated from the corporate to internet. Now there are whole slew of protocols and ports which needs to be open to communicate with application in the cloud. As corporate application move out of the organization network into the cloud, the effectiveness of firewall diminished.

Defense in depth is required for additional protection of data because as new threats emerge, the firewall cannot be used as an only layer of security. The key to the security of de-perimeterization is to push security at each layer of infrastructure including application and data. Data is protected at every layer to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA). Various techniques can be utilized for safeguarding data including data level authentication. The idea of data level authentication is that data is encrypted with specific privileges, when the data move, those privileges are moved with the data.


Endpoint security is relevant in today’s business environment especially for laptop and mobile devices. Agents on laptops and mobile devices utilized pull/push techniques to enforce relevant security policies. Different policies are applied depending on the location of the laptop. Where security policy will ensure which resources are available and what data need to be encrypted depending on the location of the device.

When corporate application and important data reside in the cloud, SLA should be written to protect the availability of the application and confidentiality of the data. Organizations should do their own business continuity planning so they are not totally dependent on the cloud service provider. For example backup your important data or utilize remote backup services where all data stored is encrypted.

Cloud Security and Privacy: An Enterprise Perspective on Risks and Compliance

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Tags: business continuity, Cloud computing, cloud computing article, cloud computing concerns, cloud computing email, cloud computing hosting, cloud computing information, cloud computing security, cloud computing services, cloud security, cloud services, de-perimeterizations, DMZ, iso assessment

Jul 07 2009

Cloud Computing Pros and Cons

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 6:19 pm

Cloud Application Architectures: Building Applications and Infrastructure in the Cloud

Cloud computing is the future of the computing, which happens to provide common business applications online that run from web browser and is comprised of virtual servers located over the internet. Basic idea behind cloud computing is the accessibility of application and data from any location as long as you are connected to the internet. Cloud computing makes the laptop the most essential tool to get the job done.

For example Hosted Email (SaaS) Security provides safeguards at the Internet level, eliminating spam and malware before they reach your internal network infrastructure. The hosted email provides centralized security with built-in redundancy, failover, and business continuity, while easing network and security administration. In the hosted email software as a service the security controls are at work at the internet level. It’s about time to expand the corporate perimeter beyond firewall and one of the major benefit of cloud computing is to give organizations capability to implement security controls at internet level and eliminate threats before they reach the internal network.

An online backup service is another example of software as a service (SaaS) which provides users with an online system for backing up and storing computer files.

Cloud computing incorporates several different types of computing, including:
 software as a service (SaaS)
 platform as a service (PaaS)
 infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

It is a range of technologies that have come together to deliver scalable, tailored and virtualized IT resources and applications over the Internet.

Cloud Computing have several benefits and potential risks which you may want to know before signing a contract with a cloud vendor.

Cloud Computing benefits

  • Users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and other peripheral services, when they only pay a provider for those utilities they use;

  • Consumption is billed as a utility or subscription with little or no upfront cost;

  • Immediate access to a broad range of applications, that may otherwise be out of reach, due to:

  • The lowering barriers to entry;

  • Shared infrastructure, and therefore lower costs;

  • Lower management overhead.

  • Users will have the option to terminate a contract at any time, avoiding return on investment risk and uncertainty.

  • Greater flexibility and availability of ‘shared’ information, enabling collaboration from anywhere in the world – with an internet connection.

  • Cloud computing associated risks

  • Cloud computing does not allow users to physically possess the storage of their data which leaves responsibility of data storage and control in the hands of their provider;

  • Cloud Computing could limit the freedom of users and make them dependent on the cloud computing provider;

  • Privileged user access – how do you control who has access to what information?

  • Security of sensitive and personal information lay with the vendor. How do you explain this to your customers when their data is compromised without sounding like you’re ‘passing the buck’?

  • From a business continuity stand point, can you rely on each vendor to have adequate resilience arrangements in place?

  • Long-term viability — ask what will happen to data if the company goes out of business; how will data be returned and in what format?

  • Complexities of cloud computing will introduce new risks and complexity is the enemy of security. The organizations and end users should be mindful of this security principle before introducing this new variable into their risk equation. As a consumer you need to watch out and research your potential risks before buying this service and consider getting a comprehensive security assessment from a neutral third party before committing to a cloud vendor.

    Recomended books on cloud computing

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    Tags: Cloud computing, cloud computing article, cloud computing benefits, cloud computing concerns, cloud computing email, cloud computing hosting, cloud computing information, cloud computing network, cloud computing platform, cloud computing risks, cloud computing security, cloud computing services, cloud computing solutions, cloud security, cloud services, Infrastructure as a service, Platform as a service