Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Data Control and Data Residency

Consider your options carefully when planning the move to the cloud

The benefits associated with adoption of the cloud are well documented and understood. Organizations cite tremendous cost savings, fast deployment times and streamlined application support and maintenance when compared to traditional on-premise software deployments. So what is holding many companies back from adopting the cloud? A recent report from Gartner entitled "Five Cloud Data Residency Issues That Must Not Be Ignored" highlights one key reason for this hesitancy - enterprises' questions and concerns about jurisdictional and regulatory control arising from a lack of clarity on where cloud data truly resides. The report from Gartner recommends that enterprises adopt measures that will simultaneously boost the security of sensitive data as well as assist them in satisfying regulatory compliance with data residency laws.

While the report provides some excellent guidance associated with the implementation of one technique - encryption - to safeguard sensitive information in the cloud, it did not cover a few key points that deserve to be mentioned:

  • Tokenization should be given strong consideration as the data security technique that enterprises deploy when data residency is a critical concern.
  • If encryption is deployed by enterprises, they should take every measure to ensure that they are deploying the strongest form of encryption possible (e.g., use FIPS 140-2 validated modules) to guard against the inherent threats associated with multi-tenant cloud environments.

Why Tokenization?
Tokenization is a process by which a sensitive data field, such as a "Name" or "National ID Number," is replaced with a surrogate value called a token. De-tokenization is the reverse process of redeeming a token for its associated original value. While various approaches to creating tokens exist, frequently they are simply randomly generated values that have no mathematical relation to the original data field (click here to review third-party evaluation of PerspecSys' tokenization approach). This underlies the inherent security of the approach - it is nearly impossible to determine the original value of a sensitive data field by knowing only the surrogate token value. When deployed as a technique within a Cloud Data Protection Gateway, the token "vault" that matches the clear text value with the surrogate token stays on-site within an organization's data-center. Because of this, the benefit from a data residency compliance perspective is apparent - the data truly never leaves the enterprise's location.

How Encryption Differs
Encryption is an obfuscation approach that uses a cipher algorithm to mathematically transform sensitive data's original value to a surrogate value. The surrogate can be transformed back to the original value via the use of a "key," which can be thought of as the means to undo the mathematical lock. While encryption clearly can be used to obfuscate a value, a mathematical link back to its true form still exists. As described, tokenization is unique in that it completely removes the original data from the systems in which the tokens reside (the cloud) and there is no construct of a "key" that can be used to bring it back into the clear in the cloud.

In our experience with many customers, it is this unique characteristic of tokenization that has made it the preferred approach selected by enterprises when they are explicitly trying to address data residency requirements. In the words of one of our largest customers (who selected tokenization as their data security approach), "encrypted data leaving your premises is still data leaving your premises."

But If Encryption Is Used - Deploy Using Best Practices
If an organization decides to deploy encryption in order to protect sensitive information going to the cloud, then they need to ensure that industry standard best practices on the use of encryption are followed. As highlighted in the Cloud Security Alliance's Guidelines as well as numerous Gartner Reports, the use of published, well-vetted strong encryption algorithms is a must. In fact, the previously mentioned report "Five Cloud Data Residency Issues That Must Not Be Ignored" notes that enterprises need to ensure that the "strength of the security is not compromised." A good guideline is to look for solutions that support FIPS 140-2 validated algorithms from well-known providers such as McAfee, RSA, SafeNet, Symantec and Voltage Security. A unique and highly valued quality of the PerspecSys gateway is that cloud end users can still enjoy the full capabilities of cloud applications (such as SEARCH) even with data that is strongly encrypted with these industry accepted, validated algorithms.

Netting It Out
There is much to gain from using data obfuscation and replacement technologies to satisfy residency requirements in order to pave the way to cloud adoption. But equally, there is much to lose if the implementation is not well thought through. Do your homework - consider tokenization as an approach, question any encryption techniques that are not well vetted and accepted in the industry and finally, compare solutions from multiple vendors (a suggestion - refer to our whitepaper as a guide: "Critical Questions to Ask Cloud Protection Gateway Providers". We know from our experience helping many organizations around the world tackle these challenges via the use of our Cloud Data Protection Gateway, that by charting your path carefully at the beginning of your project, you can arrive at a solution that will fully meet the needs of your Security, Legal, and Business Line teams.

Read the original blog entry...


PerspecSys Inc. is a leading provider of cloud protection and cloud encryption solutions that enable mission-critical cloud applications to be adopted throughout the enterprise. Cloud security companies like PerspecSys remove the technical, legal and financial risks of placing sensitive company data in the cloud. PerspecSys accomplishes this for many large, heavily regulated companies across the world by never allowing sensitive data to leave a customer's network, while maintaining the functionality of cloud applications. For more information please visit http://www.perspecsys.com/ or follow on Twitter @perspecsys.

More Stories By Gerry Grealish

Gerry Grealish is Vice President, Marketing & Products, at PerspecSys. He is responsible for defining and executing PerspecSys’ marketing vision and driving revenue growth through strategic market expansion and new product development. Previously, he ran Product Marketing for the TNS Payments Division, helping create the marketing and product strategy for its cloud-based payment gateway and tokenization/encryption security solutions. He has held senior marketing and leadership roles for venture-backed startups as well as F500 companies, and his industry experience includes enterprise analytical software, payment processing and security services, and marketing and credit risk decisioning platforms.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Are you interested in accelerating innovation, simplifying deployments, reducing complexity, and lowering development costs? The cloud is changing the face of application development and deployment, with enterprise-grade infrastructure and platform services making it possible for you to build and rapidly scale enterprise applications. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Gene Eun, Sr. Director, Oracle Cloud at Oracle, will discuss the latest solutions and strategies for application developers and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build and deploy modern business applications in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud refers to the federation of a public and private cloud environment for the purpose of extending the elastic and flexibility of compute, storage and network capabilities, in an on-demand, pay-as-you go basis. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. Hybrid cloud environments involve complex management challenges. First, organizations struggle to maintain control over the resources that lie outside of their managed IT scope. They also need greater infrastructure visibility to help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that their company data and resources are properly handled and secured.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise), cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. At NuoDB we're involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., will cover experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.