FIPS 140-2 stamp a boon for customers, a “challenge” to cloud-security industry

It may have taken nearly two years to complete, but certification of CipherCloud's cryptographic tools to US government FIPS 140-2 requirements is finally set to help the cloud industry overcome many of the obstacles that have hindered its adoption in the past, the company's senior security director believes.

CipherCloud recently announced that its tools had completed FIPS 140-2 certification, a gruelling process that put every aspect of the company's technology through the wringer as it sought to kick-start cloud adoption in financial services, government bodies and other organisations where inherent conservatism had throttled the use of cloud services.

Compliance had provided a competitive differentiator for CipherCloud – “right now we're the only ones that have achieved this in our space,” global director of cloud security Willy Leichter told CSO Australia – but even more importantly had given many customers assurance that it was safe to proceed with large-scale cloud adoption projects.

“The projects we do tend to be large and can take 6 to 9 months to come to fruition,” Leichter said. “In a lot of cases, our customers have not deployed the cloud until they find the right compliance solutions – so we are starting from square 1. We have already seen a number of deals where they have accelerated their timing” in light of the impending FIPS 140-2 certification.

Many vendors were still playing the waiting game around formal government certification, which is expensive and requires extensive financial and staff resources. These restrictions make compliance particularly challenging for many smaller organisations, who are still ramping up their businesses and often don't have the spare resources to manage the process.

Managed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, FIPS 140-2 certification evaluates products against 11 different areas related to the design and implementation of a tool's cryptographic design. Tools are scored in each area to reflect relative strengths and weaknesses of each certified tool.

While the intensity of the process had made the decision to embark on certification a “game of chicken” for many vendors, Leichter said the company's decision to proceed was a “challenge” – even in Australia, where other certifications are required to get the official government imprimatur.

“We wanted to demonstrate leadership and gain confidence, and to put pressure on other vendors to go out and seek these standards as well,” he said, noting that better certifications were going to become the deciding factor for many organisations that had stayed out of the initial rush to adopt cloud services.

“We are dealing with a lot of very conservative, cautious organisations and have sold to the more forward-thinking ones already,” Leichter explained. “Now we're hitting the curve of slower moving, not-early adopter customers and I think the FIPS validation has a lot to do with that.”

Read more: Smart Cities deliver Innovation & Security

“There aren't a lot of well established standards yet in the cloud, but we think it's a good thing to reassure people with this new security paradigm. It's all about giving people the confidence to put data in the cloud using our encryption.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags it vendorsdirectors for CSO AustraliaFIPScloud-security industryCSOgovernmentWilly LeichterCSO AustraliaCipherCloud's cryptographicFIPS 140-2 certificationEnex TestLabcloud services

More about CipherCloudCSOEnex TestLabSTMTechnology

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 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

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place