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Archive for March, 2010

[Webinar] Cloud Based Security Services: Saving Cloud Computing Users From Evil-Doers

March 30th, 2010 No comments

I wanted to give you a heads-up on a webinar that Andy Ellis (Akamai,) Jeremiah Grossman (Whitehat) and I did at the tail-end of the RSA Security Conference.  The webinar will be held on 3/31/10 at 12:00 pm EST.

You can register here.
Web based threats are becoming increasingly malicious and sophisticated every day

The timing couldn’t be worse, as more companies are adopting cloud-based infrastructure and moving their enterprise applications online. In order to make the move securely, distributed defense strategies based on cloud-based security solutions should be considered.
Join Akamai and a panel of leading specialists for a discussion that delves into IT’s current and future security threats. This online event debuts an in-depth conversation on cloud computing and cloud based security services as well as a live Q&A session with the panel participants.

Topics will include web application security, vulnerabilities, threats and mitigation/defense strategies, and tactics. Get real-life experiences and unique perspectives on the escalating requirements for Internet security from three diverse companies: Cisco, WhiteHat, and Akamai.

We will discuss:
  • Individual perspectives on the magnitude and direction of threats, especially to Web Applications
  • Options for addressing these challenges in the near term, and long term implications for how enterprises will respond
  • Methods to adopt and best practices to fortify application security in the cloud
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Video: Cloud Computing in Government…

March 9th, 2010 No comments

I got the pleasure of moderating a great “Cloud Computing in Government” panel a few weeks ago at a conference in D.C.  The panelists included Mark Krzysko (Department of Defense,) Tim Schmidt (CIO, U.S. Dept. of Transportation,) and Mike Nelson (Professor, Georgetown University.)

The videographer jumped me on the way out to capture the essence of our discussion.

Direct link here.

Embedded below:

/Hoff

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Incomplete Thought: The Other Side Of Cloud – Where The (Wild) Infrastructure Things Are…

March 9th, 2010 3 comments

This is bound to be an unpopular viewpoint.  I’ve struggled with how to write it because I want to inspire discussion not a religious battle.  It has been hard to keep it an incomplete thought. I’m not sure I have succeeded ;)

I’d like you to understand that I come at this from the perspective of someone who talks to providers of service (Cloud and otherwise) and large enterprises every day.  Take that with a grain of whatever you enjoy ingesting.  I have also read some really interesting viewpoints contrary to mine, many of which I find really fascinating, just not subscribed to my current interpretation of reality.

Here’s the deal…

While our attention has turned to the wonders of Cloud Computing — specifically the elastic, abstracted and agile delivery of applications and the content they traffic in — an interesting thing occurs to me related to the relevancy of networking in a cloudy world:

All this talk of how Cloud Computing commoditizes “infrastructure” and challenges the need for big iron solutions, really speaks to compute, perhaps even storage, but doesn’t hold true for networking.

The evolution of these elements run on different curves.

Networking ultimately is responsible for carting bits in and out of compute/storage stacks.  This need continues to reliably intensify (beyond linear) as compute scale and densities increase.  You’re not going to be able to satisfy that need by trying to play packet ping-pong and implement networking in software only on the same devices your apps and content execute on.

As (public) Cloud providers focus on scale/elasticity as their primary disruptive capability in the compute realm, there is an underlying assumption that the networking that powers it is magically and equally as scaleable and that you can just replicate everything you do in big iron networking and security hardware and replace it one-for-one with software in the compute stacks.

The problem is that it isn’t and you can’t.

Cloud providers are already hamstrung by how they can offer rich networking and security options in their platforms given architectural decisions they made at launch – usually the pieces of architecture that provide for I/O and networking (such as the hypervisor in IaaS offerings.)  There is very real pain and strain occurring in these networks.  In Cloud IaaS solutions, the very underpinnings of the network will be the differentiation between competitors.  It already is today.

See Where Are the Network Virtual Appliances? Hobbled By the Virtual Network, That’s Where… or Incomplete Thought: The Cloud Software vs. Hardware Value Battle & Why AWS Is Really A Grid… or Big Iron Is Dead…Long Live Big Iron… and I Love the Smell Of Big Iron In the Morning.

With the enormous I/O requirements of virtualized infrastructure, the massive bandwidth requirements that rich applications, video and mobility are starting to place on connectivity, Cloud providers, ISPs, telcos, last mile operators, and enterprises are pleading for multi-terabit switching fabrics in their datacenters to deal with load *today.*

I was reminded of this today, once again, by the announcement of a 322 Terabit per second switch.  Some people shrugged. Generally these are people who outwardly do not market that they are concerned with moving enormous amounts of data and abstract away much of the connectivity that is masked by what a credit card and web browser provide.  Those that didn’t shrug are those providers who target a different kind of consumer of service.

Abstraction has become a distraction.

Raw networking horsepower, especially for those who need to move huge amounts of data between all those hyper-connected cores running hundreds of thousands of VM’s or processes, still know it as a huge need.

Before you simply think I’m being a shill because I work for networking vendor (and the one that just announced that big switch referenced above,) please check out the relevant writings on this viewpoint which I have held for years which is that we need *both* hardware and software based networking to scale efficiently and the latter simply won’t replace the former.

Virtualization and Cloud exacerbate the network-centric issues we’ve had for years.

I look forward to the pointers to the sustainable, supportable and scaleable 322 Tb/s software-based networking solutions I can download and implement today as a virtual appliance.

/Hoff

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Chattin’ With the Boss: “Securing the Network” (Waiting For the Jet Pack)

March 7th, 2010 8 comments

At the RSA security conference last week I spent some time with Tom Gillis on a live uStream video titled “Securing the Network.”

Tom happens to be (as he points out during a rather funny interlude) my boss’ boss — he’s the VP and GM of Cisco‘s STBU (Security Technology Business Unit.)

It’s an interesting discussion (albeit with some self-serving Cisco tidbits) surrounding how collaboration, cloud, mobility, virtualization, video, the consumerizaton of IT and, um, jet packs are changing the network and how we secure it.

Direct link here.

Embedded below:

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2010 RSA Security Bloggers Award – Thanks A Bunch…

March 7th, 2010 1 comment

I don’t pay much attention to lists or awards, other than to usually make fun of them (especially when I’m put on one.)

However, this time I’ll make an exception. I was nominated this year for the RSA Security Bloggers Awards in the category of “Most Entertaining blog” and was voted “most likely to do something stupid” (in other words, I won.)

I was up against some stiff competition from the likes of Mike Rothman, Jack Daniel, Erin Jacobs and Adam Shostack (et. al) All these folks are fantastic bloggers and I’m lucky enough to call them all my friends.  In between ejecting party crashers and making fun of Rich Mogull during my acceptance speech (the whole one sentence,) it was great to chill with people I only get to see in person at conferences.

Thanks very much to all who voted for me and thanks to the hard work by the judges and those who organized the bloggers meetup. Next year I hope they have a category for “best bouncer for the meetup.” ;)

I’d like to congratulate the winners in the other categories, also:

Best Technical Security Blog - The SANS Internet Storm Center Blog

Best Non-technical Security Blog - Krebs on Security by Brian Krebs

Best Podcast - Pauldotcom

Best Corporate Blog - Jeremiah Grossman, White Hat Security

Thanks again.

/Hoff

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RSA Interview (c/o Tripwire) On the State Of Information Security In Virtualized/Cloud Environments.

March 7th, 2010 1 comment

David Sparks (c/o Tripwire) interviewed me on the state of Information Security in virtualized/cloud environments.  It’s another reminder about Information Centricity.

Direct Link here.

Emedded below:

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Slides from My Cloud Security Alliance Keynote: The Cloud Magic 8 Ball (Future Of Cloud)

March 7th, 2010 No comments

Here are the slides from my Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) keynote from the Cloud Security Summit at the 2010 RSA Security Conference.

The punchline is as follows:

All this iteration and debate on the future of the “back-end” of Cloud Computing — the provider side of the equation — is ultimately less interesting than how the applications and content served up will be consumed.

Cloud Computing provides for the mass re-centralization of applications and data in mega-datacenters while simultaneously incredibly powerful mobile computing platforms provide for the mass re-distribution of (in many cases the same) applications and data.  We’re fixated on the security of the former but ignoring that of the latter — at our peril.

People worry about how Cloud Computing puts their applications and data in other people’s hands. The reality is that mobile computing — and the clouds that are here already and will form because of them — already put, quite literally, those applications and data in other people’s hands.

If we want to “secure” the things that matter most, we must focus BACK on information centricity and building survivable systems if we are to be successful in our approach.  I’ve written about the topics above many times, but this post from 2009 is quite apropos: The Quandary Of the Cloud: Centralized Compute But Distributed Data You can find other posts on Information Centricity here.

Slideshare direct link here (embedded below.)

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