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5 cloud security trends experts see for 2011

Bob Violino | Dec. 16, 2010
What do CSOs and other IT security experts expect to be top-of-mind cloud security issues in 2011? Here are five things to watch for in the coming year:

FRAMINGHAM 16 DECEMBER 2010 - What do CSOs and other IT security experts expect to be top-of-mind cloud security issues in 2011? Here are five things to watch for in the coming year:

Smartphone data slinging

More users will be accessing large amounts of data on the devices of their choice, says Randy Barr, CSO at Qualys Inc. and member of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).

"This comes with a lot of unaddressed security issues," Barr says. "We can expect new solutions to address mobile devices, but could see a large data breach to expose the issue of mobile security before we see a solution." Among the possible scenarios, Barr says, are insecure cloud-based backup and highly confidential data on mobile devices.

"There are some interesting inter-dependencies when using multiple cloud services on mobile devices, with possibly different security models and assumptions," he says. A hacked cloud provider could provide mass access to confidential mobile device data when mobile users are using cloud-based mobile device support, he says. In addition, loss or theft of mobile device could provide root-level access to cloud services and data. Mobile apps are often providing direct and automated access to cloud services and data, he says. If an admin-level person's mobile device is stolen, this could be a major threat to highly confidential data or even cloud services administered by such a person from an insecure mobile device.

2. Need for better access control and identity management

"The cloud by nature is highly virtualized and highly federated, and you need an approach to establish control and manage identities across your cloud and other peoples' clouds," says Alan Boehme, senior vice president of IT strategy and architecture at financial services firm ING.

"There are some third parties that have delivered products and services that will address these issues, but they might not be adequate for large enterprises that have a mix of legacy and cloud components."

3. Ongoing compliance concerns

"I think that compliance, especially PCI, is likely to continue to be a security issue," says Andy Ellis, CSO at Akamai.

"Organizations still often need to come to grips with completely different processes that they have for managing data and apps in the cloud. And I think we will hear more rumblings about health-care data in the cloud."

4. Risk of multiple cloud tenants

Given that most cloud services make heavy use of virtualization technology, the risks associated with multiple organizations' data housed on a single physical hypervisor platform exist, and will continue to unless specific segmentation measures are enacted, says Dave Shackleford, director of security assessments and risk & compliance at Sword & Shield Enterprise Security, and a member of the faculty of research firm IANS.


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