Why one company declined cloud-based 'crisis communications system'

Cloud-based services are still often seen as too risky for sensitive information. Take the case at Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Company, which said "no" to the cloud when designing its new crisis communications system.

Cloud-based services are still often seen as too risky for sensitive information. Take the case at Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Company, which said "no" to the cloud when designing its new crisis communications system.

Eastman Chemical, which operates chemical manufacturing facilities, decided to put in a new messaging system for interactive early warning notifications to thousands of employees in the event of any kind of emergency. They wanted one that would be IP-based with integration with Microsoft Lync VoIP, Eastman's Active Directory as well as its legacy corporate pagers and radio systems. They could have chosen a cloud-based option from the vendor they selected, AtHoc. But it was decided the data Eastman Chemical might be sharing from its dispatch center was simply too sensitive to consider using a cloud-based service.

"Eastman retains all messages on the Eastman network," says Keith Bennett, area supervisor, plant protection services, emphasizing that no emergency notification message is allowed to leave the Eastman corporate network, even though a cloud-based notification service for this was possible through AtHoc.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD Cloud Security Alliance offers ultra-high cloud security plan +

Through the customized crisis communications system, a central dispatch system is functioning around the clock in order to direct a range of notifications to individual computers, VoIP phones, texting, RSS feeds, as well as e-mail, phones, pagers and two-way radios.

The kind of information that could be sent to thousands of Eastman employees via the IP-based live response system might pertain to anything from tornados, fire, medical and chemical safety to possible terrorism. It's tailored to send messages to appropriate individuals via VoIP phones, mobile devices and computer pop-ups, allowing them to respond about safety status. "We needed to take advantage of new technologies but we use legacy radios and pagers," Bennett points out.

Because it's considered "operations critical" messaging, Eastman decided that this was all too sensitive to permit the information to travel outside its private network and into the cloud and it was a requirement that AtHoc had to build the system for Eastman to keep it closed in that way.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags unified communicationsConfiguration / maintenancetelecommunicationNetworkinghardware systemsData Centerinternetcloud computingMicrosoftvoipsecurityCloudcloud security alliance

More about IDGMicrosoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Ellen Messmer

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place