12 cloud predictions of Christmas: First cloud security breach in 2012

Guy Churchwood Advice
29 Dec, 2011

LogLogic's Guy Churchward tell us what he thinks will happen in cloud computing during 2012.

Public cloud services were developed and launched at lightning speed, with more and more new entrants, who hold more customer data than ever before - with  more data is being collected every second.

From my experience, many of the 'household named' cloud services are used to protecting 'non-critical' data however, the acceptance of cloud and relative trust by consumers has increased to the point that the data criticality has increased faster than their security measures.

It is here that I think some Virtual Cloudsviders could be open to attack as they've not been (from my experience) as stringent with their security, audit trails in particular, as they could be. Such trails are essential for tracking hacker activity  if they do get it - finding out the how, where and what information they obtained.

As an example, I recently had dealings with well-established cloud vendor that was relying on a management dashboard, not enterprise ready, and designed for single function single use. What the company collected was less than five percent of what it needed to collect and it could troubleshoot its storage array only.

If you’d asked this provider, it would have claimed to have a security information event management (SIEM) tool but it had been cobbled together by an IT administrator purely to make storage admin easier. The company had paid no attention to scale nor had it implemented classic enterprise features that you would expect from something that's being used as a collection hub for millions of data records and thousands of customers.

This is an example of how some providers have been pretty complacent about their security - a position they perhaps need to revisit  it can and it will happen.

 It is this complacency and lack of control that I expect will lead to the  first major external security attack early next year in the cloud.

It probably won't be a malicious attack, more likely a statement to prove and publicly acknowledge that it can be done. This will set in motion the needed refresh of security measures (kicking policy, compliance and security cloud practices into overdrive) across the industry as consumers demand that their data is better protected. We may even see consumers insist on their providers meeting the ISO 27002 standard in response to such an attack, which guarantees a certain level of cover and service.

In reference to the private cloud, the enterprise market has been much more cautious as to how they use these types of service and what data they share. Their traditional soft and slow approach will serve them well as they try to ensure that the appropriate security solutions and protocols are in place to better safeguard their business.

Don't get me wrong however, a breach will eventually happen in the private cloud too - it's not about 'if', it's about 'when', but since the enterprise community moving at full bore in cloud is small, the targets are likely to be the softer underbelly of the consumer public cloud service sites first."

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