Feeds

The DoD's very cloudy thinking over Gmail

Let's get physical

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

In the wake of the Google vs. China dustup, we’re starting to see some discussion of the greater implications for computing, both in general and the cloudy Google way.

The fact that some Gmail accounts were accessed by hackers looking for dissidents raises some questions about the security of Gmail specifically and the entire cloud model as well.

I’ve always felt that security is one of the biggest concerns with the entire cloud concept. While cloud providers are increasingly paying attention to allaying customer concerns about data security, they aren’t (and really can’t) provide guarantees.

There isn’t a cloud supplier in the world who will agree to compensate a customer for the losses arising from security breaches or associated downtime. This is completely understandable; it’s hugely difficult to objectively value the cost of a security breach.

But there are situations where the stakes are higher than mere money. Take the US Department of Defense, for example. I was shocked to find out that Gmail is an accepted email alternative for official use. To me, this opens up all sorts of bad scenarios. Of course Google does its best to protect customers, but some things simply shouldn’t be stored outside firewalls. I put a significant percentage of DoD communications into this category.

This guest blog from Paul Strassman, an Information Sciences professor at George Mason University, makes a point that is often overlooked: physical security in the data center.

In his view, an agent with bad intentions, some technical skills, and access to the data center could tap unencrypted communications with physical wiretaps placed between systems. Is this far-fetched… or entirely possible? To me, a non-expert in security, it sounds spookily plausible.

If you read the article, be sure to read the comments section to see a spirited discussion ... one of my favorites is the first one, where a reader asks, “DoD using Gmail?!?... Is that not like placing a Kwikset bathroom lock on the access doors to a missle silo?!?”

Certainly something to think about and discuss.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.