Home' Defense Systems : November 2012 Contents DIGITAL CONFLICT
Kevin Coleman ( kgcole-
firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a
senior fellow at the Technolyt-
ics Institute, former chief
strategist at Netscape and an
adviser on cyber warfare
and security. Coleman's
weekly blog on cyber war
can be found at
move to the
efforts and the
overall cost of
Cloud computing is one of the latest
revolutions in the delivery of IT capa-
bilities. e cloud computing market
in the United States is forecast to double by the
end of 2016, a nearly $42 billion market.
e expansion of cloud computing is
being driven by the bene ts that this technol-
ogy o ers. Topping the list of bene ts is the
responsiveness it provides an organization's IT
environment since cloud computing has the
capacity to adapt quickly to an organization's
changing business needs. Other signi cant
bene ts are cost reduction and e ciency gains.
Altogether, the value proposition for cloud is
sound for most, but not all, organizations.
A recent Ernst & Young survey found
that 61 percent of respondents would use or
evaluate cloud services within the next year.
at shows just how robust the cloud market
really is. e market is divided into three
basic segments --- private, public and shared.
e three segments support the top uses of
cloud computing --- business applications, IT
infrastructure and data storage.
e public and shared cloud markets are
forecast to grow at more than a 15 compound-
ed annual growth rate through 2016. However,
these two segments pose perhaps the greatest
challenge when it comes to cybersecurity.
Government and corporations have all
articulated their concerns with the addition
of social networks, mobile platforms and
cloud computing models to their operational
environment. Echoing these concerns, cyber-
security professionals have stated that these
additions to the enterprise environment bring
new security challenges. A cloud platform has
already been used as a cyber weapon that was
speci cally applied to attack business targets.
In fact, there are some foreign entities that use
a cloud platform coupled with cyberattack ser-
vices as an o ering to those wishing to launch
disruptive or destructive activities.
ere is little doubt that the rapid adoption
of cloud computing and services models bring
with it new security challenges. A recent poll
of more than 1,500 professionals found that 26
percent of respondents felt cyber-threat defense
was a signi cant concern for those who use
cloud computing. ey are not alone. In Au-
gust, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak stated, "I
think it's going to be horrendous. I think there
are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the
next ve years."
But for all the concern about the security of
the cloud, cloud computing is not less secure
than traditional contracted systems operations
and management. It is just a bit di erent and
should be treated as such. Knowing who else
resides on your cloud is critical, as they may
have a higher threat pro le and be more of a
target, thus increasing your risks of collateral
damage if they draw cyber re and an outage or
Businesses and government organizations
that are moving toward cloud computing
platforms and services need to be aware of and
monitor existing and emerging cybersecurity
threats. With the average cyberattack now cost-
ing just short of $9 million per incident (up 65
percent in the last year), planning a move to
the cloud must include a security strategy that
clearly articulates the risks, mitigation e orts
and the overall cost of protection.
Indeed, cloud computing is all about the
numbers. Some organizations nd a fair
amount of monetary reward in moving to the
cloud, while others just can't make the numbers
work due to speci c and unique requirements.
But security and cost are not the only chal-
lenges when it comes to cloud computing.
Privacy, data ownership, cloud occupancy and
operational integrity combine to complicate the
decision to move to the cloud.
at said, we still have time to address cloud
security issues before they become a major
problem. Perhaps it would be best for all of us if
we worked together and prove Steve Wozniak
wrong. Proactively addressing cloud security
challenges, rather than using the traditional
reactionary approach, could mitigate most of
the risks. ■
Not every cloud has
a silver lining
42 NOVEMBER 2012 | DefenseSystems.com
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