Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton, Gordon Haff

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Security Myths: Busted

In many cases, the average enterprise or SME can't keep up with all of the security controls necessary to protect data in-house

In a Feb 2014 survey, 94 percent of organizations surveyed reported running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service.[1] According to research firm Nasumi, there is over one exabyte currently stored in the cloud. An exabyte is over a billion GB.[2] Considering the amount of data in the cloud and the growing rate of adoption for sensitive use cases, it is natural that securing our data in the cloud is a concern. But, cloud security, though rightfully a central concern, should not be a hindrance to aggressively moving workloads and applications to the cloud.

In fact, there are some misconceptions about cloud security that need to be laid to rest.

Myth #1: A cloud provider's customers can attack each other
The multi-tenant environment of cloud computing has given rise to a misconception that the provider's many customers can access each other's data and accounts with little effort. This is tantamount to saying that your neighbors can break into your home easier than a thief from across town.

The truth is that virtual walls segregate you from other customers. Your hypervisor is the primary separator and is extremely difficult to hack. If you add other safeguards like VLAN isolation and proper data encryption and key management, your data is completely safe from other cloud customers.

The Alert Logic State of Cloud Security Report concludes "It's not that the cloud is inherently secure or insecure. It's really about the quality of management applied to any IT environment."

Myth #2: Data in the cloud in more susceptible to risk than data in the datacenter
In survey after survey, we find that the reason that cloud computing isn't growing even faster than its staggering CAGR is companies' security fears. But, like many fears, this one mixes legitimate concerns with ignorance. Depending on the details, data in the cloud may actually be safer than data in the datacenter.

In fact, a 2014 study found that once businesses learn about and experience cloud computing, concerns about security vanish. Close to one-third of executives and professionals who have not yet implemented cloud say security is their top concern, a number that diminishes to 13 percent of seasoned, heavy users of cloud services (and is only the fifth-ranked concern on their list).[3]

Arthur W. Coviello, Jr., Executive Chairman for RSA, puts it simply, "security concerns are really independent of the cloud. They're just an extension of what is being dealt with in the physical infrastructure."[4]

In many cases, the average enterprise or SME can't keep up with all of the security controls necessary to protect data in-house. For a cloud provider, conversely, it is a core business function. They typically invest in the strongest forms of network security and detection and attain compliance certifications that reduce the risk for the data they're tasked to protect.

If your core business isn't preparing tax returns, you hire someone who can do it for you: someone with the right background, experience, and tools. Someone who does a better job than you could do yourself. The same applies when it comes to protecting your data: using a provider who specializes in doing so will create better results than doing it yourself.

Myth #3: Using a trusted cloud provider guarantees protection of data
The internet is filled with comparisons of the trustworthiness of cloud providers. Those researching a cloud solution are often tasked with ensuring the cloud provider conducts audits, provides certifications, complies with industry regulations, properly screens their employees, etc. While all of these elements have their place in assessing the trustworthiness of a cloud provider, they don't completely protect your data because it is not just the cloud provider's responsibility to protect your data.

The truth is this: whether you build your own private cloud, store your data in a public cloud, or keep your sensitive business information under your mattress, the duty to protect your data is yours alone.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounted for 37% of the $9 billion infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market in 2013, according to analysts from equity research firm Evercore. The IaaS market is growing by 45%, but Amazon Web Services has a growth rate of 60%.[5] AWS is currently the biggest public cloud provider. And yet, in the AWS Security Center, they clearly state "AWS has secured the underlying infrastructure and you must secure anything you put on the infrastructure."

Because you control the security of your accounts and data, you can ensure that you still own your data - even though you are housing it in public infrastructure.

The way to ensure your data is safe in the cloud is by encryption. Encryption, and the management of encryption keys, is not just about safety, it is also about ownership. If you encrypt properly, you will own your data even though you are renting infrastructure form a cloud provider.

To simply and effectively achieve encryption key management, the best practice is coupling the innovative techniques of split key encryption and homomorphic key management. They will be the assurance that no one (not even your cloud provider) can access data you store in the cloud and that everything you store in the cloud is completely safe, segregated, and protected in a way that is scalable, automated, and cost-effective.


  1. http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2014-state-cloud-survey
  2. https://www.nasuni.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/nasuni_infographic_the_state_of_cloud_storage_in_2013-4.jpg
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2014/04/03/cloud-security-fears-diminish-with-experience-survey-shows/
  4. http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/VMware-Cloud-Security-Myths-Strategies-Uncovered-White-Paper.pdf
  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-web-services-market-share-2014-6

More Stories By Gilad Parann-Nissany

Gilad Parann-Nissany, Founder and CEO at Porticor is a pioneer of Cloud Computing. He has built SaaS Clouds for medium and small enterprises at SAP (CTO Small Business); contributing to several SAP products and reaching more than 8 million users. Recently he has created a consumer Cloud at G.ho.st - a cloud operating system that delighted hundreds of thousands of users while providing browser-based and mobile access to data, people and a variety of cloud-based applications. He is now CEO of Porticor, a leader in Virtual Privacy and Cloud Security.

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
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...