Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Blog Feed Post

Security in the Cloud. Developers, About Face!

image There is a theory in traditional military strategy that goes something along the lines of “take land, consolidate your gains, take more land…” von Moltke the Elder found this theory so profound that he suggested a defender could trade land for time – advice that Russia managed pretty well in The Great Patriotic War (known in the west as World War II), and German General Kesselring practiced against the allies in Italy during the same war. By giving up land, the enemy is forced to occupy it before they can begin forward movement again, buying you time to build your defenses at a new location, and often forcing them to change their tactics and strategic goals.

There are a lot of reasons why comparisons between warfare and security exist, and I’m going to continue the long-standing tradition here. We are ready to move into the cloud… But there’s a problem. We have to change some of our tactics before we can take overall advantage of cloud infrastructure. At least in the short-term.

People like myself, some with more experience in the space than others, have been recommending that developers leave large swaths of security implementations to firewalls and web application firewalls. This was sound advice, I’ve been a developer, I know the way that code is crafted, I know that it doesn’t take much to leave a gaping hole in one little tiny bit of code. Web application firewalls offer a layer of protection in case you missed something, and can be expanded to lighten the amount of code required to do many mundane tasks.

And there’s the problem. We’ve been telling developers to largely remove themselves from the security business, but now we’re moving to the cloud, where the infrastructure of the corporate datacenter is not necessarily available. Which means the weight of all that redundant security coding falls right back  onto developers’ shoulders for  the short term. Companies like F5 are moving an increasing amount of high-caliber infrastructure to VMs that can be deployed to the cloud and restore access to the datacenter infrastructure either with manual separate configuration or by slaving the VM appliances to your corporate appliances, which will then put us back where we are today.

von Moltke the Elder

But until your organization has web application firewalls and other security devices on-par in the cloud with what is in the datacenter, I’m afraid there’s going to be a return to the good old “is field all alphanumeric?” “Is field < 8 characters” type checking all over your source code. But it really is a temporary situation, before you know it, you will be able to  say “my datacenter device has all the information for this application, share it with my cloud VM appliance”, and you’ll be off and running.

So dig out the security books from a few years back, study up on web application security, schedule extra time for writing and testing your application… And then be prepared to put things back under the umbrella of web application firewalls.

You still won’t be completely out of the security business. No one knows your application and its most glaring security weaknesses better than the developer that wrote it, but that’s the status quo for in-datacenter applications today – developers in shops making use of all of the great network-based security products on the market are able to focus their security efforts on the one or two areas that must have extra protection instead of all possible security vulnerability points.

The bigger problem is deploying purchased applications to the cloud, where you can’t lock it down without tools to help, and those tools have to run in VMs. This is an aspect that I’m not certain has gotten all the attention it deserves yet, but is definitely going to be a problem in the near-term.

I’d say “you could delay deploying to the cloud…” I could also say “You could wait for the sun not to come up tomorrow…” because generally speaking, developers do not get to choose deployment methodology, only influence it, and cloud has taken on a life (or a hype) all its own.

So be careful, have a plan for how to address application-specific security in the cloud, check out VM security offerings as they become available, and keep rocking the apps. Consolidate, reconsider tactics, move to a new attack.


Connect with Don: Connect with F5:
linkedin rss facebook twitter   o_facebook[1] o_twitter[1] o_slideshare[1] o_youtube[1]

Related Articles and Blogs:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
HyperConvergence came to market with the objective of being simple, flexible and to help drive down operating expenses. It reduced the footprint by bundling the compute/storage/network into one box. This brought a new set of challenges as the HyperConverged vendors are very focused on their own proprietary building blocks. If you want to scale in a certain way, let's say you identified a need for more storage and want to add a device that is not sold by the HyperConverged vendor, forget about it...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.