Improving mobile device security is one of the top information security priorities for the coming year, according to our new Healthcare Information Security Today survey. And that's not surprising, given the recent surge of interest in tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices.
Heavily regulated industries like banking and healthcare have been reluctant to make the virtualized leap to the cloud, fearing a loss of control could open them to unforeseen risk. Are their concerns unfounded?
"Matching an implementation to the cloud definition can assist in evaluating the security properties of the cloud," says computer scientist Peter Mell, author of The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing.
The Department of Homeland Security is undertaking nine private and three public cloud computing initiatives, establishing private cloud services to manage sensitive but unclassified information while using the public cloud for non-sensitive data.
"It should provide fuel for anyone calling for data breach legislation to include criminal sanctions ...," says Neal O'Farrell of the Identity Theft Council. "This was nothing short of a clumsy cover-up."
Ineffective or noncompliant security practices of service providers, the inability of customers to examine controls, the prospect of data leakage and the loss of data if a cloud service is terminated present challenges.
"With a company-issued device, you can issue a policy that says users have no rights of privacy over information on the device," says Javelin's Tom Wills. But with employee-owned devices? A whole new set of issues.
The Department of Homeland Security becomes the first federal agency to award a task order using a General Services Administration's blanket purchase agreement for an infrastructure-as-a-service, cloud-computing offering, says GSA Assistant Commissioner Mary Davie.
Information security poses a major challenge to the widespread adoption of cloud computing, yet the Cloud Security Alliance, an association of cloud stakeholders, sees the cloud as a provider of information security services.