Click here to close now.

Welcome!

MICROSERVICES Authors: David Sprott, Michael Kanasoot, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Security

Cloud Expo: 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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on ho...
Microservices, for the uninitiated, are essentially the decomposition of applications into multiple services. This decomposition is often based on functional lines, with related functions being grouped together into a service. While this may sound a like SOA, it really isn't, especially given that SOA was an object-centered methodology that focused on creating services around "nouns" like customer and product. Microservices, while certainly capable of being noun-based, are just as likely to be v...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
Chef and Canonical announced a partnership to integrate and distribute Chef with Ubuntu. Canonical is integrating the Chef automation platform with Canonical's Machine-As-A-Service (MAAS), enabling users to automate the provisioning, configuration and deployment of bare metal compute resources in the data center. Canonical is packaging Chef 12 server in upcoming distributions of its Ubuntu open source operating system and will provide commercial support for Chef within its user base.
You hear the terms “subscription economy” and “subscription commerce” all the time. And with good reason. Subscription-based monetization is transforming business as we know it. But what about usage? Where’s the “consumption economy”? Turns out, it’s all around us. When most people think of usage-based billing, the example that probably comes to mind first is metered public utilities — water, gas and electric. Phone services, especially mobile, might come next. Then maybe taxis. And that’s ab...
Learn the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation plus a DevOps team approach can address these top API testing challenges. Ensuring API integrity is difficult in today's complex application cloud, on-premises and hybrid environment scenarios. In this interview with TechTarget, Parasoft solution architect manager Spencer Debrosse shares his experiences about the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation and a DevOps team approach can a...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
An explosive combination of technology trends will be where ‘microservices’ and the IoT Internet of Things intersect, a concept we can describe by comparing it with a previous theme, the ‘X Internet.' The idea of using small self-contained application components has been popular since XML Web services began and a distributed computing future of smart fridges and kettles was imagined long back in the early Internet years.
After what feel like an interminable cycle of media frenzy followed by hype and hysteria cycles, the practical elements of real world cloud implementations are starting to become better documented. But what is really different in the cloud? How do software applications behave, live, interact and interconnect inside the cloud? Where do cloud architectures differ so markedly from their predecessors that we need to learn a new set of mechanics – and, when do we start to refer to software progra...
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...
It's 2:15pm on a Friday, and I'm sitting in the keynote hall at PyCon 2013 fidgeting through a succession of lightning talks that have very little relevance to my life. Topics like "Python code coverage techniques" (ho-hum) and "Controlling Christmas lights with Python” (yawn - I wonder if there's anything new on Hacker News)...when Solomon Hykes takes the stage, unveils Docker, and the world shifts. If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch the video of Solomon's Pycon The Future of Linux C...
This month I want to revisit supporting infrastructure and datacenter environments. I have touched (some would say rant) upon this topic since my post in April 2014 called "Take a Holistic View of Support". My thoughts and views on this topic have not changed at all: it's critical for any organization to have a holistic, comprehensive strategy and view of how they support their IT infrastructure and datacenter environments. In fact, I believe it's even more critical today then it was a year ago ...
The 16th Cloud Expo has added coverage containers and microservices to its program for New York, to be held June 9-11 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Cloud Expo has long been the single, independent show where delegates and technology vendors can meet to experience and discuss the entire world of the cloud. This year will be no different. Containers are an old concept that saw renewed life with the emergence of Docker in 2013. Then late in 2014, CoreOS shook up the cloud-computing w...
OmniTI has expanded its services to help customers automate their processes to deliver high quality applications to market faster. Consistent with its focus on IT agility and quality, OmniTI operates under DevOps principles, exploring the flow of value through the IT delivery process, identifying opportunities to eliminate waste, realign misaligned incentives, and open bottlenecks. OmniTI takes a unique, value-centric approach by plotting each opportunity in an effort-payoff quadrant, then work...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia 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, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps 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., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...