Cloud of the future poses security challenges now

Evolve.Cloud Canberra

The accelerated nature of cloud computing is presenting new security challenges, attendees at the Evolve.Cloud conference heard in Canberra recently.

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JD Sherry, VP of Data Centre Technologies and Solutions for Trend Micro, said the challenges are often exacerbated as the industry moves from a physical world to a virtual environment.

“With cybercriminals mobilising and learning how to attack these infrastructures, an adaptive security model is required to provide better flexibility, agility and compliance. Everybody’s currently talking about zero-day threats, but we’re now seeing zero-hour activities,” said Sherry.

“However, we can’t let that stop us. The cloud is the way of the future and we need to plan accordingly,” he said.

For cloud security adviser and author Rob Livingstone, the emergence of the hybrid cloud as the dominant form of cloud computing in the enterprise sector posed other challenges. Coming to grips with the systemic risks associated with this ecosystem may well be the next dilemma.

“Information assets are protected within the new cloud environments as long as the underlying security architecture has been designed for the cloud. However, the convergence of hybrid clouds, mobile devices and BYOD presents unique systemic risks for CIOs,” said Livingstone.

The conference, hosted by Trend Micro, had a strong government focus.

John Sheridan, First Assistant Secretary, Agency Services, Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), announced the Data-Centre-as-a-Service (DCaaS) Multi Use List of 35 leading suppliers which have been selected to provide cloud and cloud-Like services to the Australian Government.

“We need to recognise the challenges that we see here around the notion of reaping the savings that apply to public cloud and expecting them to be reflected in private cloud. I think all of us understand that in government, balancing those pressures is something that we’re used to, so perhaps doesn’t present us with too much of a difficulty,” said Sheridan.

Andrew Milroy, Vice President, ICT Research, APAC Frost and Sullivan, observed that governments are using cloud to reduce spending, enable greater agility, access updated technology, and eliminate procurement and maintenance activities, as well as provide universal access to resources.

“Across the board we’re starting to see governments set up infrastructures that behave like private clouds but are run by governments themselves,” said Milroy.

Sanjay Mehta, Managing Director, Trend Micro ANZ, said the benefits of cloud computing have been proven for business and government, ranging from lower costs to increased innovation.

“As with any fast-growing technology, there are risks and challenges, but security should not be seen as a barrier to adoption,” said Mehta.

Spectrum allocation was another emerging topic, and seen as a little-discussed constraint on the growth of cloud computing.

“The model we have now, where spectrum is allocated to telco vendors, is perhaps not the optimal way forward and that will become more apparent.  We think that regulators will need to look at broader models that can optimise how spectrum is being used,” said Frost and Sullivan’s Milroy.

See the Evolve.Cloud slideshow

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