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May 11, 2011

Appliance Deployment Helps to Build Trust in the Cloud

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

With the ever-increasing way technology is dominating the manner in which business users operate, it shouldn’t be any surprise that applications are moving to the cloud. These business professionals are on the go, and need instant access to the corporate network, database information and even social networks.

In fact, according to this INTERNET TELEPHONY piece, more than half of a company’s employees will access social networks via mobile devices at least once per day during work hours. As information in the cloud is often proprietary, more than 70 percent of respondents participating in an IDC (News - Alert) study indicated they are concerned with security in this platform. 

This concern is helping to drive the focus to appliance deployment, as companies are seeking ways to put policies and controls in place that will limit access, or at least provide the ability to monitor activity. The challenge remains, however, that many of the business transactions taking place are being conducted on mobile devices and through social networks, which can increase the risk. 

The good news is that technology providers are focused on the rapid development of software and hardware-based solutions that can be delivered through appliance deployment to improve access and control. One area of development is in updating cloud-based identity and access management applications to secure mobile devices. By vetting the attributes and identities of mobile users, authorized data can be easily accessed. 

In the appliance deployment space, mobile tokens are also gaining acceptance as a viable method for storing credentials and preventing unauthorized access. To take it to the next level, if unauthorized access is detected, appliance deployment solutions can launch a “poison pill” to the device that will render it useless.

The attention on appliance deployment is growing simply because cloud providers are enhancing their encryption policies to protect information, while also protecting performance. There is a heightened focus on this practice as companies continue to move data to the cloud for use and storage. There is an increased demand for the integration of the latest acceleration technology, as well as microprocessors that deliver greater encryption performance. 

There is also a growing distrust for low-level software as it is viewed as highly unprotected. New technology from hardware manufacturers and appliance deployment companies will help to protect against low-level attacks where malware is doing its best to take control. 

One hardware solution designed to validate the behavior of key components within a server is the Intel (News - Alert) Trusted Execution Technology. This platform will check the consistency in behaviors and configurations against the “known good” sequence. Relying on this verified benchmark enables the system to determine whether or not attempts have been made to try and alter or tamper with the launch time environment. 

By increasing the focus on appliance deployment and putting the right controls in place, business users and organizations alike can put more trust in their use of the cloud.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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