Feeds

The DoD's very cloudy thinking over Gmail

Let's get physical

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
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
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
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
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

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 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.