Rake Narang: What’s the future for cloud security? Why will enterprises be willing to outsource their security requirements?
Gilad Parann-Nissany: At the highest level, the message of the cloud is freedom to focus on organizational core strengths and outsource non-core activities like purchasing servers and deployment. In the same way, it makes sense to outsource security.
Nevertheless, achieving data security in the cloud is a difficult challenge. It’s a little like having your cake and eating it; Enterprises want trust and outsourcing at the same time.
We are seeing great investment by cloud providers and security vendors, and the direction is promising. In some ways, because it allows better management and flexible control of resources, cloud computing can be more secure than traditional IT. This was recently recognized by the NSA director and U.S. Cyber Command commander, Gen. Keith Alexander.
In other ways, fundamental breakthroughs in technology are still needed. We see these coming from the fields of key-splitting technology and homomorphic encryption. If these are properly implemented, they allow you to be in the cloud without losing control, because sensitive data or keys are encrypted even when in use in the cloud, which means cloud providers cannot know them, and even security vendors never know them.
This is the kind of breakthrough that enables trust. Your “security cake” remains whole, and you still enjoy your slice of pay-as-you-go.
So the future of the cloud security industry is rosy, because it is precisely on trend: enterprises will want to outsource complexity to experts who can deliver breakthroughs, while maintaining the confidentiality of information.
Rake Narang: So focusing on cloud security, when is it possible to use classic solutions and where is it necessary to implement new solutions?
Gilad Parann-Nissany: Cloud computing is not one technology; it is the confluence of many advances in virtualization, service enablement, operations, commoditization and industrialized environments. Many well-known technologies from previous innovation rounds – continue to work in the cloud.
This is just as true in the security market, where technologies like firewalls, virtual private networks or data leak prevention – remain very relevant. With these, the right strategy for Enterprises may be evolution: this often involves taking an existing approach, deploying it in the cloud, and then – crucially – wrapping it in an API (application program interface) so that it can be automated in the cloud’s industrialized environment.
But some areas do require new solutions.
- The role of encryption changes, since data is no longer between the “four walls” of the enterprise
- Encryption Keys management is critical, since keys cannot be simply stored in the cloud
- New cloud storage technologies, i.e. distributed data storage, require security
- New data protection measures emerge, for example fragmenting data in many pieces in the cloud
- Hypervisors and virtual machines are an area of ongoing research
- Physical security of cloud environments is required
The community has provided useful results for hypervisor security, and the best cloud providers do a great job of physical security. Yet new technologies, such as split-key management and homomorphic encryption, have a critical role to play. This will, for the first time, enable enterprises to outsource the complexity while keeping control and confidentiality.