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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Cloud Can be a Secure Place

Cloud Computing, Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
4:47 am

When I was in 7th grade, I played the trombone in the Gooding, Idaho, Jr. High band – or at least tried to play it.  Once, we participated in a music festival where I played a solo rendition of the soaring anthem, “Jerusalem,” in front of a judge.  When I finished the piece, she remarked, “the trombone can be a beautiful instrument.”  I was devastated of course, and was somewhat relieved to hang up my trombone, so to speak, when we moved to a tiny town without a band the next year.

I was reminded of that incident this morning when I read a Mashable article, “Top 5 Misconceptions about the Cloud,” sponsored by Western Digital.  The fifth “misconception” was “You Can’t Beef Up Security on the Cloud.”  In my mind’s eye, I could almost see my trombone judge saying, “The cloud can be a secure place.”

So what’s the problem?  Much like a 7th grader’s ill-conceived belief that he could impress a judge with little practice and poor technique, the article’s overly simplistic recommendation for bolstering cloud security was “You can use behavior-based key management servers and encryption key management to give your files an extra layer of protection.”

Cloud security entails much, much more than that.

I can accept that cloud based solutions can be well-secured, but we must not be complacent or expect great results with little effort.

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Innovation at Amazon Web Services

Cloud Computing, Identity
Author: Mark Dixon
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
5:34 pm

In the past few days, I became aware of innovations at Amazon Web Services that show how AWS continues to lead the industry in cloud computing.

The first product offering is the addition of Identity Federation to AWS Identity and Access Management Services, which gives customers:

the ability for you to use your existing corporate identities to grant secure and direct access to AWS resources without creating a new AWS identity for those users. This capability enables you to programmatically request security credentials, with configurable expiration and permissions, that grant your corporate identities access to AWS APIs and resources controlled by your business.

The second offering, “AWS GovCloud,” offers:

a new AWS Region designed to allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements.

I find it intriguing that the same company that pioneered the industries of online book retailing and ebooks, is so innovative in cloud services and Identity Management.  Plus, I was able to order an new cordless drill from the comfort of my hotel room in San Mateo last night!  Thanks to Amazon and UPS, I think the drill will arrive Arizona before I do this week.

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Cloudbook.net – Repository and Community

Cloud Computing
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
4:51 pm

Cloudbook.net is not just an attractive website and rich repository of information.  It is a community dedicated to cloud computing:

Cloudbook was founded to help accelerate the adoption of cloud computing by providing a comprehensive and educational resource community. Cloudbook brings together top thought leaders, experts and specialists to share their insights and experiences with the broader public. Their contributions are indexed into a comprehensive resource directory that is easy to navigate and allows users to familiarize and connect with the authors.

Cloudbook has also compiled a number of additional resources including events, products & services, research projects, news articles and more to deliver a complete resource for the community.

This evening I registered on the site and applied to be a contributor.  We’ll see what they say!


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Word of the Day: “Frenemies”

Cloud Computing
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, May 14, 2011
9:45 pm

The new word I added to my vocabulary today is “Frenemies,” proposed in an interesting TechCrunch article, “Competing In The Cloud—Let’s Be Frenemies,” authored by Prasad Thammineni, CEO and Co-Founder of OfficeDrop, a scanner software and digital filing system. Prasad sets the stage by saying:

Competition between software companies used to mean safeguarding your code and suing anyone that came close to it. Today, many larger technology companies are adopting a different strategy of actually bringing new users to companies they would have tried to squash a decade ago. The cloud is changing the old-school software mentality that a customer’s data needs to be locked down—giving rise to a new ecosystem where everything interoperates. So companies that in the past would have been bitter enemies are now working together as pseudo-friends—“frenemies, ” if you will.

Proprietary, closed systems are being replaced with interconnected services that let the user’s data flow. Earlier this year, the Washington Post pointed to a new era of collaboration amongst software giants like Google and Microsoft, and cited the revolving door of talent in the Valley as a key driver in this cooperation.

So, how do we compete in this new world? Prasad recommends three things:

  1. do something better than anyone else
  2. make it easy for others to add on services to your own and
  3. make it work with the platforms that your ideal customers are already using—even if what they’re using seems quasi-competitive to your own product

Good advice, I think, for all of us who are connected in cyberspace. I think I’d rather be friends with you than enemies, but I do like this new word, “Frenemies.”   It seems much more on-line and in the clouds than the old-school “coopetition” that has bounced around the business vernacular for years.

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