Trust in the Cloud

Tech Score

Trust in the Cloud

By Jeff Hudgins, VP of Engineering, NEI, Inc.  |  April 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Recent surveys show that more than half of company employees accessed social networks via mobile devices at least once per day at work and for more than an hour per week. And with the recent WikiLeaks drama, it’s no wonder that in a recent study by IDC (News - Alert), over 70 percent of respondents are concerned about security in the cloud. One option might be to put policies in place that control or limit access, but the problem is much of today’s business is conducted through mobile devices and social networks in the cloud. With fewer resources and a growing number of security threats, creating trust in the cloud is a serious challenge.

But technology providers are quickly developing software and hardware-based solutions to improve access and control in 2011. For example, software developers are updating cloud-based identity and access management applications to secure mobile devices. Mobile user attributes and identity are vetted to allow access to authorized data. In addition, mobile tokens are gaining acceptance as a method to store credentials and prevent unauthorized access. And just like in the old “Mission Impossible” days, when unauthorized access is detected, new applications can launch a poison pill to the device and render it completely useless.

When data is stored and moved into the cloud, cloud providers are enhancing their encryption policies to protect all information without impacting performance. They are integrating the latest acceleration technology along with microprocessors that have greater encryption performance.

Low-level software is also viewed as highly unprotected and new technology from hardware manufacturers helps protect against low-level attacks where malware is attempting to take control.

Intel (News - Alert) Trusted Execution Technology is a hardware solution that validates the behavior of key components within a server. The system checks the consistency in behaviors and configurations against a “known good” sequence. Using this verified benchmark, the system can assess whether any attempts to alter or tamper with the launch time environment have been made. This hardware-based approach provides a foundation on which a trusted cloud-based solution can be built to better protect against attacks.

So what’s the final score? Trust in the cloud will improve ten-fold over the next year as the most sensitive workloads are prioritized to the most secure software and hardware devices.

Jeff Hudgins is vice president of product management at NEI (News - Alert) Inc. (

Jeff Hudgins, Vice President of Engineering at NEI, writes the Tech Score column for TMCnet. To read more of Jeff’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi